Tomu Uchida

Tomu Uchida – Koiya koi nasuna koi AKA The Mad Fox (1962)

At once reserved and utterly unhinged, Tomu Uchida’s The Mad Fox has garnered praise for its fervent theatricality and haywire visuals. But the very structure of the thing possesses a lopsided attractiveness as well and not only due to a twisty narrative that does justice to its alternative title, Love, Thy Name Be Sorrow (although a review claims it’s roughly translated as Love, Love, Don’t Play With Love). The first 25 or so minutes were taken up with what my friend Bill called cabinet meetings, some sort of medieval court power play that reminded me of the overnarrativization of The Phantom Menace (or, better, its laser-pointed parody in a hilarious episode of The Simpsons). Read More »

Tomu Uchida – Yôtô monogatari: hana no Yoshiwara hyakunin-giri AKA Hero of the Red Light District AKA Killing in Yoshiwara (1960)



Overview:
On the surface, this may seem to be an early example of the Japanese exploitation films that would become very popular about five years later. In fact, this film occasionally feels like Seijun Suzuki’s own interpretation, if only for the technicolor cinematography and the presence of some sleazy elements. However, past the surface, this is still very much a Tomu Uchida film. His compassion towards his character and the issues they face, is handled delicately and his semi-cynical humor is as apparent as ever. Still, I’d be lying if I said this was on the same level as Uchida’s own Bloody Spear on Mount Fuji. Read More »

Tomu Uchida – Chiyari Fuji AKA A Bloody Spear on Mount Fuji (1955)

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A young samurai, Shojuro Sako, travels on the Tokaido to Edo with his two servants, Genta and Gonpachi. Gonpachi has been told by Shojuro’s mother to prevent his Master from drinking.. The road is not safe. On the way, they meet young orphan boy, Jiro, and many other travellers… A team of great directors, including Yasujiro Ozu, Hiroshi Shimizu and Daisuke Ito, assisted Uchida with his remarkable post-war comeback film. It’s an affable samurai road movie with a focus on unglamorous characters, as a dim-witted samurai and his servants traverse the Tokaido highway. Much of the film is played as comedy, making the brilliantly staged violent climax all the more shocking. Read More »

Tomu Uchida – Kiga kaikyo aka The Straight of Hunger (1965)

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IMDb user chaosrampant wrote:
We’re beating a dead horse if we begin to lament another lost treasure, another overlooked Japanese director who’s yet to receive his dues. Uchida will have to queue up in a humongous line. The film canon, as we know it, as it’s being taught to college kids in film classes, is written from a Western perspective and is so incomplete as to be near useless. It’s safe to say we’re living in the Dark Ages of cinema, in the negative time of ignorance, and that 100 years from now Straits of Hunger will feature prominently in lists of the epochal narrative films of the previous century. We may choose to keep honoring the Colombuses and pretend we invented paper or gunpowder, but film history will invariably reveal the pioneers. Read More »

Tomu Uchida – Kiga kaikyo aka The Straight of Hunger (1965)

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Quote:
A very complete article about Tomu Uchida :
Here some words coming from it and about this particular film :
“Straits of Hunger is a definite attempt on his part to essay the modernist style and subject matter then being mined by such as Imamura (whose work in my opinion it surpasses). By this time Uchida worked invariably in colour; for this film only, the grainy look of ’60s black and white ‘Scope was aped and intensified by the decision to shoot on 16mm before blowing up to 35. The film is the story of a criminal, Inukai, who escapes justice after a theft which caused the destruction of a Hokkaido town. A brief encounter with a prostitute leads her to become romantically obsessed with him; years later, seeing his photograph in the newspaper, she goes to look for him, only to be killed by him when she threatens to betray his now hidden past. The narrative construction is masterly. The film is divided into three segments, each of different timbre: the first, an action-packed account of Inukai’s flight; the second, a bleak and realistic study of the life in Tokyo of the lovelorn prostitute; the third, an account of the psychological duel between cop and criminal. The drama moves, with geographical symmetry, from the strait dividing Hokkaido from Japan’s main island of Honshu, through northern Honshu to Tokyo, then northward again to conclude at the strait. The symmetry gives the film a sense of inevitability, as the past exerts a controlling influence on the present. Read More »