Japan

Seijun Suzuki – Oretachi no chi ga yurusanai aka Our Blood Will Not Forgive (1964)

Though Suzuki created it in the midst of his stylistic breakthrough, «Our Blood Will Not Forgive» has never received the same amount of attention as other films he made around the same time. Nikkatsu icons Hideki Takahashi and Akira Kobayashi star as brothers — one a gangster, the other an ad man — who unite to avenge their yakuza father’s death eighteen years before. The film features a bold use of colour; an absurdist concluding gunfight; and, in one memorable scene, an impressively illogical use of rear projection as the brothers argue in a car while ocean waves rage around them. Read More »

Shunji Iwai – Suwarôteiru AKA Swallowtail Butterfly [+Extras] (1996)

The struggles of a group of immigrant outcasts living in an alternative-future, xenophobic Japanese metropolis.

After a young girl’s mother dies, she is cared for by Glico, a brassy hooker, who gives the girl the name “Ageha” (Butterfly). Ageha goes to work for a collection of oddballs who run a junkyard and salvage business. Read More »

Satsuo Yamamoto – Niguruma no uta AKA Song of the Cart-Pullers (1959)

Synopsis:
In Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta, 1959) one of his most visually captivating works, Satsuo Yamamoto resurrected, through the struggles of three-generation family in rural Hiroshima Prefacture, an intimate history of Japanese peasant life, from the harsh late Meiji years to the Taisho Rice Riots and the tragedies of the pacific war. Read More »

Tatsumi Kumashiro – Kagi aka The Key (1974)

Synopsis
An elderly college professor wants to bring the joys of sex to his wife. He bribes his son in law to shag ger because it makes him jealous and he can perform better. He keeps a journal of his fantasies in a locked cupboard, hence the title, and hopes that his wife will find the key and read it. Read More »

Hirokazu Koreeda – Hana yori mo naho (2006)

Director Hirokazu Koreeda turns the popularly held conventions of the typical samurai evenge tale on their head with this story of a man whose quest to avenge the death of his father gradually takes a back seat to his emerging role as a key figure in the community. The year is 1702, and young samurai Sozaemon Aoki (Junichi Okada) has arrived in Edo to seek revenge against Jubei Kanazawa (Tadanoby Asano). Kanazawa is the man responsible for the death of Aoki’s father, and now it’s up to the grieving swordsman to settle the score. When Aoki begins teaching the children of Edo to read and write, however, his bloodlust slowly begins to subside as he cones to realize the true value of his useful place in society. Upon falling in love with the beautiful Osae (Rie Miyazawa), Aoki comes to realize that although the sword may be a powerful symbol of strength, allowing oneself to fall victim to its savage allure may not always be the best way to realizing ones true heroism. Read More »

Toshiaki Toyoda – Yomigaeri no chi AKA The Blood of Rebirth (2009)

Quote:
Based on a well-known Japanese legend, the story concerns the sage-masseur Oguri (Tatsuya Nakamura), who is summoned by ailing King Daio (Kiyohiko Shibukawa). Despite receiving superlative treatment, the king is insulted by Oguri’s casual attitude toward death, so he poisons the healer. In the afterlife, Oguri chooses to come back to this world—as an infant. Growing up quickly, he meets Terute (Mayu Kusakari), a concubine who has escaped from the king, and together they seek the Waters of Resurrection. Read More »

Toshiaki Toyoda – Monsutâzu kurabu AKA Monsters Club (2011)

Quote:
Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and sends mail bombs to the CEOs of corporations and TV networks. One day, he encounters a mysterious creature in the forest. That night, his older brother, who had committed suicide, appears before him at his cabin. The apparition takes Ryoichi beyond a door, where Ryoichi learns the truth about his family. Read More »