Tag Archives: Rentarô Mikuni

Kinji Fukasaku – Odoshi AKA The Threat (1966)

IMDb comments:
You can watch this crime drama as a sort of Japanese DESPERATE HOURS. A just married ordinary man has his family held as hostage by three hoodlums who want him to do something for them. Get a big package of money from his boss, and not a Yakuza. This is not a yakuza movie, folks, but a true suspense film, a bit far from what Kinji Fukasaku used to show us. A tale told with a terrific nick of time pace, with splendid editing and simple filming skills. The main lead character, the poor man who is lost in the city because he knows that he must obey to what the gangsters ordered him to do, this man’s play is so convincing. I was not lucky enough to see it with subtitles, and I am sure I unfortunately missed a lot. But I followed the basic scheme anyway. I would have imagined Koji Tsuruta as the husband’s character. A golden gem that deserves to be seen at all costs. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Biruma no tategoto aka The Burmese harp (1956)

Captain Inouye is a music lover and he taught his unit to sing. One of his soldiers, Mizushima, learned to play harp to accompany the chorus of his comrades, discovering a gift unknown to himself before war. The music will save the company when Japan surrenders but now the country and its soldiers has to split his spirit in two: either accept, either refuse… either live, either die… but the film finds even more subtle separations, as if receiving like the burman soil it begins and ends with all the scars and tugs of postwar Japan. Read More »

Tomu Uchida – Mori to Mizuumi no Matsuri aka The Outsiders (1958)

Japanese Title: 森と湖のまつり

quote:One of the major joys of writing about Japanese movies is that whenever you begin to get that tired, jaded feeling that you think you’ve seen it all and that there’s nothing left that’s ever going to set your pulse racing, you stumble across a whole previously hidden seam of movies that completely revolutionises any ideas of what Japanese cinema is. I remember getting this feeling watching the works of Hiroshi Shimizu at the 2003 Tokyo FILMeX, and I got it again at the same festival exactly one year later, during a 13-film retrospective of Tomu Uchida, which travelled to the Rotterdam Film Festival in a slimmed-down version a couple of months later. Read More »

Nagisa Ôshima – Shiiku AKA The Catch (1961)

The Catch 飼育 (1961) : Based on a prize-winning novella by Kenzaburo Oe -– Oshima removes the homoeroticism of the source but adds his typical touch of incestuous desire –- The Catch is set during the final days of World War II. A black GI is captured in a remote Japanese farming village, and becomes a pawn in a power struggle between various factions. As the villagers squabble over their “catch,” Oshima explores subjects that would become his hallmarks – Japanese hypocrisy, racism, xenophobia, insularity, scapegoating – with detached ferocity. Read More »

Ji-shun Duan & Jun’ya Satô – Mikan no taikyoku AKA The Go Masters (1982)

“The Go Masters” begins and ends with the same game of Go, but 32 years separate the opening and closing moves. In between, there is war and heartbreak, death and disease, doomed lovers, families separated by fate and united by chance. The movie is a melodrama on an epic scale, an Asian “Gone With the Wind,” filled with romance and action but built on a foundation of Eastern philosophy. Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Kamigami no fukaki yokubô AKA Profound Desire of the Gods (1968)

The culmination of Shôhei Imamura’s extraordinary examinations of the fringes of Japanese society throughout the 1960s, Profound Desires of the Gods [Kamigami no fukaki yokubô] was an 18-month super-production which failed to make an impression at the time of its release, but has since risen in stature to become one of the most legendary — albeit least seen — Japanese films of recent decades. Read More »

Satsuo Yamamoto – Zatôichi rôyaburi AKA Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)

When a local gambling house kidnaps some peasants because they failed to pay their debts, a rival gambling house pays their debts and sets them free. But it’s really all just a plot to enlist Ichi’s aid in eliminating the competition. Once that’s been attended to, the master of the surviving house of chance grabs more and more power – and more cash from the hapless farmers. Even a blind man can see that justice must be done. Read More »