Shinji Imaoka – Onna no kappa aka Underwater Love (2011)

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Plot / Synopsis

From Germany’s Rapid Eye Movies and Japan’s Kokuei Company comes a whimsical pink film musical about a woman and a sea creature.

Directed by pink-film veteran Shinji IMAOKA (Lunch Box, Frog Song), shot by Christopher Doyle – the famed cinematographer behind Hero and countless films by Wong Kar Wai – and with music by Germany’s Stereo Total, Underwater Love – A Pink Musical promises to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Asuka works in a lakeside fish factory. She is just about to be married to her boss. One day, she encounters a Kappa, a water creature living in the lake and learns that it is the reincarnation of Aoki, her first love.
What ensues is a zany spectacle of love, music and sex. Continue reading

Hitoshi Matsumoto – Saya zamurai aka Scabbard Samurai (2010)

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Recently widowed samurai Kanjūrō (Nomi Takaaki) puts down his sword and abandons his master, with nine-year-old daughter Tae (Kumada Sea) in tow. Now wanted for desertion, Kanjūrō is captured by a rival lord (Kunimura Jun), who makes an unusual offer. Kanjūrō will be released if he can bring a grin to the lord’s son (Shimizu Shūma), who hasn’t smiled since his mother’s death. If Kanjūrō can’t succeed within thirty days, he must commit seppuku. With the help of his jailers — and some harsh reinforcement from his daughter — the humorless Kanjūrō devises comically desperate (or desperately comic) methods to save his skin and crack the son’s stony exterior. Though more sentimental than writer/director Matsumoto Hitoshi’s previous films (Big Man Japan, Symbol), Scabbard Samurai is unmistakably in the same spirit, with deadpan absurdism and bizarre stunts recalling the variety shows that made his name.) Continue reading

Shinya Tsukamoto – Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009)

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– from Variety-

“POWERED BY
A Tetsuo Group presentation of a Kaijyu Theater, Asmik Ace Entertainment production. (International sales: the Coproduction Office, Paris.) Produced by Shinichi Kawahara, Masayuki Tanishima.
Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto. Screenplay, Tsukamoto, Hisakatsu Kuroki.

With: Erik Bossick, Akiko Monou, Shinya Tsukamoto, Stephen Sarrazin, Yuko Nakamura, Tiger Charlie Gerhardt.
(English dialogue)

Twenty years after making his breakout cult hit, “Tetsuo,” and 17 years after its sequel, “Tetsuo II: Body Hammer,” multihyphenate filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto busts out the big guns again with “Tetsuo the Bullet Man.” Contempo-set pic doesn’t bring much new to the half-man-half-machine concept, but with its delirious editing and eardrum-crunching soundtrack, it punches above its weight and musters a certain retro charm with its old-school effects, all done on about one-hundredth of the budget of a “Transformers” movie. Fans of the franchise will have this in their sights and show support, but crossover potential looks iffy. Continue reading

Shinya Tsukamoto – Akumu Tantei 2 aka Nightmare Detective 2 (2008)

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Yukie and two of her girlfriends are being haunted by the ghost of a classmate, they once heavily bullied. When the other two die under mysterious circumstances, Yukie sees only one chance for herself. With the help of the Nightmare Detective (Ryuhei Matsuda) she hopes to escape her hopeless situation.

From IMDB:
NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE 2 surpasses it’s predecessor on almost all levels. For one thing, though the film has a slightly more poetic feel to it (as opposed to the dark and chaotic nature of the original), it’s laden with depression and grief, adding a foreboding atmosphere that grows stronger as the film progresses. While the first film had a more straightforward plot (albeit still following Tsukamoto’s puzzling logic at times), now the story features a well-balanced duality. When Kyoichi starts to learn more about the origin of Yukie’s nightmares, he discovers parallels with his own past which will eventually lead to more discoveries concerning the mystery of his own, cursed persona. Continue reading

Shinya Tsukamoto – Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

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Plot: A Tokyo Businessman with his wife and son are walking the high street when his son is kidnapped by a group of street thugs. While in pursuit of his son the father is shot by one of the thugs with a strange device. After the thugs oddly return his son, the father starts to notice odd changes with his body that occur in moments of anger. Only to be terrorized constantly by this, the father decides to locate the gang and kill them all. Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Something Like An Autobiography (1983)

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Something Like an Autobiography
by Akira Kurosawa

Published by Vintage | 1983 | 205 pages

Description:

Quote:
Among Japanese film makers, no one is perhaps as universally known as Akira Kurosawa.

“Something like an Autobiography” is an account of the legendary director’s early life. It is only a partial account, encompassing his childhood, adolescenct years, the early years of his film career, up to the point of Rashomon. Nonetheless, the book benefits anyone keen for understanding the man behind such remarkable films as Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashomon, and Dersu Uzala among others. Kurosawa’s films were – Stuart Galbraith IV writes in the introduction to his book “The Emperor and the Wolf” – first and foremost, deeply humanist pictures, films which effortlessly transcend cultures and centuries. Something like an Autobiography helps one understand the evolution of the artist Kurosawa, the influences that shaped his vision. Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Onna no mizuumi aka Woman of the Lake (1966)

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Quote:
Eight years into her marriage, Miyako Mizuki (Mariko Okada) looks happy on the outside, but in fact she is not satisfied with her husband, Yuzo (Shinsuke Ashida), who cares about nothing but his career. Miyako has been having an affair with a young interior designer named Kitano (Tamotsu Hayakawa), who in turn has a fiancée named Machie (Keiko Natsu). One night in a hotel, Miyako lets Kitano takes some nude photos of her. On her way back, she is followed by a stranger (Shigeru Tsuyuguchi), and loses her handbag with the film negatives inside while trying to escape. Later at home, Miyako receives a call from the stranger. He uses the negatives to threaten her to follow his instructions and take a train to the north. The stranger is named Ginpei. He was a teacher in a girls’ school, but was expelled because of a scandal with one of his students. As Miyako meets up with Ginpei, she develops a strange attraction towards him.
Continue reading