To tell Okamoto’s story from the beginning, we have to make a short detour
to talk about Tadahito Mochinaga, the legendary father of Japanese stop-motion
animated filmmaking. Mochinaga had started out working under Mitsuyo Seo,
and had left Japan for Manchuria just before the end of the war, where he found
himself in demand for his animation knowhow. (To learn more about his fruitful
China period, I refer you to an outstanding article on Mochinaga by Kosei Ono on AWN.) Continue reading Tadanari Okamoto – Tadanari Okamoto Film Works Vol 4 (1961 – 1995)
Based on the classic novel by Murasaki Shikibu, written over 1000 years ago. Genji, the son
of the emperor, has gained renown among the nobility of Kyoto for his charm and good
looks, yet he cannot stop himself from pursuing the one object of desire he must never
obtain: his father’s young and beautiful bride. Following the tragic consequences of his
obsession, Genji wanders from one affair to another, always seeking some sort of
resolution to his life. Continue reading Kôzaburô Yoshimura – Genji monogatari (1951)
Synopsis / Plot
Two brothers are separated after their parent’s divorce. Older brother Koichi lives with his mother and grandparents in Kagoshima. Younger brother Ryonosuke lives with his father in Fukuoka. Meanwhile, the Kyushu trainline connecting these two cities is nearing completion. A rumor spreads that when the bullet trains first runs (one coming from the north and one coming from south) and at the exact moment the two trains crosses paths energy is released and wishes will be granted to those that witness the event. Koichi hears of the rumor and implements a plan with his younger brother to reunite his family. Continue reading Hirokazu Koreeda – Kiseki aka I Wish (2011)
Tamayo, a lovable girl, is taken care of by a prominent family. However, she is the love child of business tycoon and his lover but lives with him and his arranged wife’s family and granddaughter, Tsukiyo who hates Tamayo. Her crime lord father has arranged 3
android bodyguards to protect her. The first android is handsome & has great skills.
The second has beast-like strength, and the third is less skillful. One day the father gets hospitalized and his will is found. The will says that he is leaving his fortune solely to Tamayo. When Tsukiyo knows this she plots to regain her inheritance. Continue reading Naoyuki Tomomatsu – Karei naru erogami-ke no ichizoku: Shinsô reijô wa denki shitsuji no yume o miru ka AKA Erotibot (2011)
“Stray Dog is an intense criminal story that examines the psychology of the characters as in compares the similarities between criminals and detectives. These similarities are balanced on a thin line based on choice, which Kurosawa dissects studiously through the camera lens. Kurosawa’s investigation of the character’s psychology creates a spiraling suspense that is enhanced through subtle surprises and brilliant cinematography. The camera use often displays shots through thin cloths, close ups, and new camera angles, which also makes the film aesthetically appealing. When Kurosawa brings together camera work and cast performance, among other cinematic aspects, he leaves the audience with a brilliantly suspenseful criminal drama, which leaves much room for introspection and retrospection.” Continue reading Akira Kurosawa – Nora inu AKA Stray Dog (1949)
Kôji Wakamatsu’s Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy Saw (17-sai no fûkei – shônen wa nani o mita no ka) – a.k.a. “Cycle Chronicles – Landscapes the Boy Saw” and “17 and Life” – is scheduled to have its U.S. première at the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) on April 27th at 8:45 p.m., and to subsequently be screened there on May 2nd at 6:00 p.m.. As was previously reported here and there on Twitch, the movie was screened at Regional Film Festival (Rîjonaru Firumu Fesutibaru) – “RiFF” for short – on October 31, 2004, and at the 26th PIA Film Festival in Sendai (Dai-26-kai Pia Firumu Fesutibaru in Sendai) – “PFF Sendai” for short – on November 23, 2004. It was released theatrically in Japan by Toshiki Shima’s Shima Films on July 30th of last year. Continue reading Koji Wakamatsu – 17-sai no fukei – shonen wa nani o mita no ka AKA Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes the Boy saw (2004)
Masumura has been one of the most intersting directors for many of us Japanese cinema buffs. His “Blind Beasts” is a real classic and a disturbing film, almost an archetype of movies dealing with dark sexual passions, abductions and growing affection to an abuser.
Masumura’s much less known film “The Music” also deals with dark passions, but from a more pathological point of view. Our main character is Reiko, who has problems enjoying sex with her lover and who is also not able to hear music when it’s played on the radio. A psychiatrists tries to cure her and finds out a lot about her past. Reiko’s passions, fears and experiences are presented in drastic, exciting pictures and metaphors (a big, scary pair of scissors appears again and again ready to cut off legs and maybe other important part from the body titles), combined with a very haunting score. The characters act wild and breathless, you can almost smell their feelings.
Even more interesting: The film is based on a novel by the famous writer Mishima Yukio, who wrote a lot of exciting books but who is also well known for his ritual act of public suicide in 1970 – 40 years ago.
Totorochi< Continue reading Yasuzo Masumura – Ongaku aka The Music (1972)