Japan

Yasujirô Ozu – Tokkan kozô AKA A Straightforward Boy (1929)

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Strictly Film School wrote:
A purely fun, entertaining, and lighthearted short film, A Straightforward Boy follows the (mis) adventures of a kidnapper (Tatsuo Saito) who, on an idyllic, sunny day (that, as the film comments, is conducive for such nefarious activities), lures a cherubic, bespectacled boy (Tomio Aoki) with toys and treats back into the hideout. However, when the mischievous and precocious boy becomes too much of a handful, the kidnapper’s attempts to get rid of him proves to be a greater challenge than the abduction itself. Read More »

Shion Sono – Anchiporuno AKA Antiporno (2016)

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Japan’s oldest major movie studio asks a batch of venerable filmmakers to revive its high-brow soft-core Roman Porno series.

Review:
Whenever you hear of the director Sion Sono, you expect a little controversy, a little surrealism and something a little extreme. And with films like Love Exposure, Suicide Club and Strange Circus to name a few, he has earned the reputation of being a maverick director. But in some of his recent work, he has gotten onto themes which are surprisingly in contrast to his earlier work. Much like in the schoolgirl horror/fantasy Tag, he delves into themes which reflect the faults in present Japanese society. And in his latest film, Anti-Porno, Sono does it again with spectacular results. As part of the five-film saga of the Roman Porno Reboot, Sono certainly makes his mark. Read More »

Shion Sono – Ai no mukidashi AKA Love Exposure (2008)

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Quote:
Three emotionally abused people from the fringes of society get locked in a convoluted love triangle. Yuu, a Catholic boy searching for true love ends up taking erotic photographs of women in public until he discovers Yoko, whom he sees as his Virgin Mary. Yoko, an antifamily, misandristic girl finds that her foster mother will be marrying Yuu’s father. Koike, an “original sinner”, coordinates a plan to convert Yuu’s family to her cult. Under her careful direction, their lives come crashing together in one fateful street fight. Read More »

Sion Sono – Koi no tsumi AKA Guilty of Romance [Extended Japanese Cut] (2011)

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Quote:
A grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo – a love hotel district – a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment. Kazuko (Miki Mizuno) is a police officer called to investigate on this case, she will discover the story of two women who, despite appearing respectable on the outside have all manner of darkness hidden away. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Waga seishun ni kuinashi AKA No Regrets For Our Youth (1946)

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Quote:
In Akira Kurosawa’s first film after the end of World War II, future beloved Ozu regular Setsuko Hara gives an astonishing performance as Yukie, the only female protagonist in Kurosawa’s body of work and one of his strongest heroes. Transforming herself from genteel bourgeois daughter to independent social activist, Yukie traverses a tumultuous decade in Japanese history. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Nikudan aka The Human Bullet (1968)

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Quote:
The summer of 1945. As a “human bullet” of the Kamikaze Unit, 21-year-old “he” is inside a drum with a torpedo. While he waits, he looks back on a short adolescence, reminiscing on the harsh training, a friendly bookstore, and a girl he loved. A complement to The Emperor and a General, and based on personal experience, Okamoto comically portrays the stupidity of war as well as the sentiments of youth. Though filmed on a low budget as an independent production, the tone of the 16mm image, the dry and humorous monologues and the surreal beach scene etc. create a unique effect. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu AKA The Elegant Life Of Mr. Everyman (1963)

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Quote:
Eburi is a 36 year-old man. Nothing enthuses him any more. While being drunk, he promises to contribute a story to a magazine. When he sobers down, he decides to write about the life of a salaried employee like himself who is very ordinary, not particularly talented.
The following is his story:
In 1949, Eburi gets married to Natsuko. His monthly salary is 8,000 yen and hers 4,000 yen. Therefore, both have to work to support themselves. Eburi has developed a habituIl tendency to pester around when he gets drunk. One year after their marriage, son Shosuke is born. In 1959, Eburi’s mother dies in despair of her husband who has become listless due to the several ups and downs of gaining big profits and going bankrupt. His father is still alive and Eburi is enable to find a way to pay his father’s debts. He is doubtful if he can make his wife and child happy. Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to survive so far, living in one of the houses at the employee housing quarters. He gives the title “The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman” to his story of half novel and half essay style. When it is published, it receives the Naoki Literary Prize (the award given in memory of popular writer Naoki Sanjugo). At a party to celebrate his award, he gets drunk and pesters around. Read More »