Review from the Criterion website :
A spectacle of magnificent proportions, Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad ranks among the greatest documents of sport ever committed to film. Utilizing glorious widescreen cinematography, Ichikawa examines the beauty and rich drama on display at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo, creating a catalogue of extraordinary observations that range from the expansive to the intimate. The glory, despair, passion, and suffering of Olympic competition are rendered with lyricism and technical mastery, culminating in an inspiring testament to the beauty of the human body and the strength of the human spirit. Continue reading
In Japan in 1701, Asano, the daimyo of Ako, assaulted Kira (Rie Miyazawa), an official of the Shogunate, in Edo Castle, for which offense he was ordered to commit suicide. The following year, one of Asano’s former retainers, Kuranosuke Oishi (Ken Takakura), gathers a group of his lord’s other followers and with them plots to take vengeance on Kira, whom he holds responsible for Asano’s death. Continue reading
Master Director Kon Ichikawa’s 1963 classic is considered by many to be one of the finest films ever made in Japan.Kasuo Hasegawa stars as Yukinojo, a talented kabuki actor who specializes in playing female roles (women were not allowed on the stage during the period of the film). But his success on the stage is but a means to an end; his true goal is to visit vengeance upon the three ruthless and powerful men who destroyed his family’s business and drove his parents to commit suicide.Yukinojo’s vengeance will be carefully scripted, and skillfully acted. But the price of admission will be high indeed. Continue reading
Keiko I. McDonald:
Kon Ichikawa’s Hakai (The Broken Commandment) began in 1961 as a televised dramatisation of Toson Shimazaki’s novel of the same title first published in 1906. Toson’s pioneering work of social realism created a sensationon television, so the director collaborated again with his wife and scenarist, Natto Wada on the film the following year. It, too, was a great success. The prestigious film journal Kinema Junpo ranked it as the fifth best film of 1962.
Set in 1903, during the late Meiji period, both novel and film depict a young teacher’s coming to terms with himself and society’s lingering feudal prejudice against his class of burakumin, then Japan’s minority group. But novel and film take strikingly different approaches to a topic still sensitive in the Japan of the 1960s. Continue reading
Kon Ichikawa’s study of gang-related violence among the youth, ‘Punishment Room’, is a brutal and nihilistic work utterly barren of hope! Yes, just the way I like a movie to be. ‘Punishment Room’ is far from the same league as Ichikawa’s masterpiece ‘Nobi’, but it is a film I better would be able to say I enjoyed watching. Though it is not much less powerful and at the release in the 50’s it were met with angry protests from parent-groups, the Japanese government and even Shintarô Ishihara, the writer of the novel ‘Punishment Room’ is based on! Plot is centered on a disgruntled university student whose disrespect and ruthlessness against authorities finally lead to his doom. He humiliate his sick, but hard-working, father at the bank in order to get a loan to fiancé a huge party. The party scene features a cool jazz band and the camera often zoom in on the girls legs. While the party goes on our hero leaves in order to beat up some members of a street gang in a pool hall. Later he drug two girls together with a pal and they bring them to an apartment and rape them! Continue reading
The day before her wedding, a young woman goes out one last time with an old boyfriend.
Director Kon Ichikawa’s (An Actor’s Revenge, The Burmese Harp, Tokyo Olympiad) incredible real-life tale of one man’s epic journey across the Pacific Ocean is based on Kenichi Horie’s best-selling book of the same name. A year previously, at only 23 years old, Horie took his basic sailboat (named ‘The Mermaid’) and set off from Nishinomiya in Japan, arriving in San Francisco, California 94 days later. Man’s battle against nature is amongst the timeless themes of Ichikawa’s beautifully shot, inspiring film. Continue reading