Shirô Toyoda – Jigokuhen AKA Portrait of Hell (1969)

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Synopsis:
A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the egotistical lord’s peasants suffer. Such a public display will challenge the uncaring upper class’ obsession with their own personal beauty. With Chinese and Buddhist influences at a peak in 11th century Japan, the daimyo Horikawa wanted a mural of Buddhist paradise. As Yoshihide’s ghastly artworks appear to come to life, the painter and his patron’s mutual racism also take their toll. Continue reading

Toshio Masuda – Sabita naifu AKA Rusty Knife (1958)

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Synopsis:
Udaka is a new, post-war city where corruption has already taken hold. A persistent district attorney wants to arrest and convict Katsumata, a laughing, self-confident thug. The D.A. gets an anonymous letter about the suicide five years’ before of a city council member. Evidence about the case leads the D.A. to Tachibana, struggling to go straight after involvement with the mob and a prison sentence for killing the man responsible for the rape and suicide of his fiancée. One of Tachibana’s friends is Keiko, the daughter of the dead councilman and the ward of another powerful official. How do these stories connect? Continue reading

Tai Katô – Mabuta no haha AKA The Mother He Never Knew (1962)

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Synopsis:
The protagonist Chujiro, who possesses many attractive qualities, is a victim of unkind circumstances: his mother abandoned him as a child, so he had no choice but to live outside society. Even so, he grows up determined to reunite with her. Worried that she might be living in misery, he saves his money to help, only to find that she has married into wealth and social position and has no intention of seeing her outcast Yakuza son… Continue reading

Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi – Shin Gojira AKA Godzilla Resurgance (2016)

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Synopsis:
It’s a peaceful day in Japan when a strange fountain of water erupts in the bay, causing panic to spread among government officials. At first, they suspect only volcanic activity, but one young executive dares to wonder if it may be something different; something alive. His worst nightmare comes to life when a massive, gilled monster emerges from the deep and begins tearing through the city, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. Continue reading

Jun Ichikawa – Tony Takitani (2004)

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Alone and self-sufficient since childhood, Tony shuns emotions as illogical and immature. After finding his true vocation as a technical illustrator, he becomes fascinated with Eiko, whom he marries. His life changes, he feels vibrantly alive, and for the first time, he understands and fears loneliness. But when Eiko’s all consuming obsession for designer clothes ends in tragedy, Tony finds himself alone again, sitting in his wife’s closet, gazing at her treasured couture pieces, the whispering ghosts of her soul. Finally, Tony places an ad in the paper searching for a woman who fits Eiko’s measurements perfectly. Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Kaigenrei AKA Coup D’Etat (1973)

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Quote:
Ikka Kita is a revolutionary, who suffers when he is brought his younger brother’s clothes, still smeared with his blood. Ikka’s brother followed the revoltionary’s precept and acted, attempting on the life of a finantial group manager and then, unable to escape, killing himself. Now, Ikka is more determined than ever to take his own teachings to the ultimate end, the «coup d’etat».Ikka Kita is a revolutionary, who suffers when he is brought his younger brother’s clothes, still smeared with his blood. Ikka’s brother followed the revoltionary’s precept and acted, attempting on the life of a finantial group manager and then, unable to escape, killing himself. Now, Ikka is more determined than ever to take his own teachings to the ultimate end, the «coup d’etat» Continue reading

Ryuichi Hiroki – Futei no kisetsu AKA I Am an S+M Writer (2000)

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Synopsis:
A writer draws inspiration for his erotic stories from vivid bondage scenes performed right in front of his writing desk. Still, he prefers to novelize his fascination rather than participate actively. As a consequence, the already ambivalent relation with his wife turns into an intriguing reflection of himself. HIROKI’s growth as a director is evident when he subordinates apparent obscenities to mildly humorous romance, employing his background as a pinku director to create a highly dramatic effect. Continue reading