Keisuke Yoshida – Himeanôru (2016)

Okada works part-time at a cleaning company. Recently he has been feeling frustrated about his go-nowhere life. One day co-worker Mr. Ando asks Okada to help him in his quest to win the love of Yuka, a waitress at a nearby restaurant. Reluctantly Okada agrees and, by chance, meets high school classmate Shoichi Morita when at the restaurant. Read More »

    Sabu AKA Hiroyuki Tanaka – Dangan ranna aka Dangan Runner (1996)

    Yassuda is on the run. In truth, he should be in his car, with money that was to have
    been robbed from a bank, with a gun bought from Yakuza. He could have come off
    well had he not forgotten the mask! Now he is on the run with a pursuer hot on his
    trail. Read More »

      Masahiro Kobayashi – Closing Time (1996)

      Kobayashi’s directorial debut tells the story of a writer who leads a life of blissful self-annihilation, drinking away his sorrow. As the protagonist wanders the streets of Tokyo at night grieving his wife and child, he encounters all kinds of lost souls. An attractive homeless woman who shares his lust for cinema, sleeps with him and disappears without a word. A young man who is gay and dying of AIDS. These encounters are sad, painful or tender but they all have one thing in common – they are searching for love, just like him. Read More »

        Gen Sekiguchi – Survive Style 5+ (2004)

        A man continually trying and failing to get his wife to stay dead; a self-absorbed ad agency creative director who comes up with one unworkable inane idea after another; a British hitman who only wants to know everyone’s function in life; and an unfortunate office worker and father whose brain is left scrambled after a stage hypnotist is murdered in mid-performance. Starting off as unrelated plot lines, they intertwine with each other as they continue on their respective ways. Read More »

          Jun’ya Satô – Kuruwa sodachi AKA Red Light District Upbringing (1964)

          Tamiko has been with a geisha house since she was little. Torn between staying in the only world that she knows but also loathes, and a normal life on the outside, Tomiko becomes more and more desperate. Times are also changing, it isn’t easy to keeps the books balanced and there is a new law under debate that may end this way of life for good. Read More »

            Mikio Naruse – Nasanunaka AKA No Blood Relation (1932)

            In No Blood Relation, a gripping early example of Mikio Naruse’s cinematic boldness, featuring a screenplay by Ozu’s famed collaborator Kogo Noda, an actress returns to Tokyo after a successful stint in Hollywood to reclaim—with the help of her gangster brother—the daughter she abandoned years before. Read More »

              Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Pekin no suika AKA Beijing Watermelon (1989)

              Contemporary Japanese Film by Mark Schilling (1999):

              Topicality is tricky. Sylvester Stallone’s one-man war in Afghanistan in Rambo III might have suited the Evil Empire mentality of the early 1980s, but in 1988, with Russian troops rapidly withdrawing from the country, it was ludicrous. Rambo was battling a Cold War ghost.

              Beijing Watermelon, which tells the story of a Chiba vegetable seller’s encounter with Chinese students, was also overtaken by events. Filming scheduled for Beijing had to be canceled because of the tragedy at Tienanmen Square. But instead of plugging away as though nothing had happened, director Nobuhiko Obayashi seized the opportunity to comment on that tragedy and make one of the most original, moving films in recent memory. Read More »