Japan

Abbas Kiarostami – Like Someone in Love (2012)

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Synopsis
An old man and a young woman meet in Tokyo. She knows nothing about him, he thinks he knows her. He welcomes her into his home, she offers him her body. But the web that is woven between them in the space of twenty-four hours bears no relation to the circumstances of their encounter.
Festival de Cannes.com

Reviews
According to Martin Scorsese, “cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame, and what’s out.” The Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami applies this axiom with particular rigor. In the first scenes of Mr. Kiarostami’s latest feature, “Like Someone in Love,” we are very much aware of what is not in the frame. We are in a Tokyo bar, listening to a series of conversations that involve a woman we cannot see… he structure of the film is, by Mr. Kiarostami’s standards, fairly straightforward, even conventional: it has a teasing start, an expository middle and a startlingly (though not unpredictably) dramatic end. And yet every shot — everything you see, and everything you don’t — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery.
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Kimio Yabuki – Sekai meisaku dôwa: Hakuchô no mizûmi AKA Swan Lake (1981)

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Quote:
The hero, Prince Siegfried, is out riding one day with his friends when he spies amidst swans on a lake a particularly eye-catching one with a crown on its head, the familiar Princess Odette. The princess is charmed by an evil wizard Rothbart who is crazy about marrying Odette. Handsome Prince Siegfried together with two merry squirrels struggle to defeat the evil wizard to complete this classic fairy tales. The movie features original Tschaikovsky music. Written by Lucky-16 Read More »

Sion Sono – Koi no tsumi AKA Guilty of Romance (2011)

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Plot:
A dramatic account of three women and their lives, seen through the looking glass of sex, words, madness, death, and family, Guilty of Romance — the new crime noir from the award-winning director Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish) — tells the tale of three women entangled in a mystery…a mystery that is the gate to a hell-bound love like no other!

Set just before the turn of the 21st century, a grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya — a love hotel district — a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment in the pouring rain. Whilst the police investigate, the story interweaves with that of Izumi, the wife of a famous romantic novelist whose life seems just a daily repetition without romance. One day, to break away from the loveless monotony, she decides to follow her desires and accepts a job as a naked model faking sex in front of the camera. Soon she meets with a mentor and starts selling her body to strangers, whilst at home she hides behind the facade that she is still the wife she is supposed to be. Read More »

Masaki Kobayashi – Ningen no jôken AKA The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer (1961)

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Criterion Collection wrote:
Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition (Ningen no joken), adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet POW. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best. Read More »

Masaki Kobayashi – Ningen no jôken AKA The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959)

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Criterion Collection wrote:
Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition (Ningen no joken), adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet POW. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best. Read More »

Masaki Kobayashi – Ningen no joken I aka The Human Condition I (1959)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Criterion Collection wrote:
Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition (Ningen no joken), adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet POW. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best. Read More »

Fumihiko Sori – Ping Pong (2002)

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The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. “Peco” Hoshino is a brash, arrogant player, determined to turn pro. He taught his quiet, nerdy childhood friend “Smile” Tsukimoto. Smile frustrates his coach and rivals, who recognize his talent for the game since it is just a game to him. To teach him, his high-school coach learns that coaching is more than just training the students to be good ping-pong players. Ironically, as Smile begins to develop his game, Peco undergoes a severe crisis after his defeat by rival players and is unable to play well until he rediscovers the original reasons why he plays ping-pong. Written by nakataohana Read More »