Asian

Hiroshi Shimizu – Kanzashi aka Ornamental Hairpin (1941)


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Synopsis
Based on an Ibuse Masuji short story, this delightful escapist drama is set at a hot spring resort providing sanctuary to people of vastly different backgrounds and personalities bounded by one thing: their common desire to not leave. The resort’s patrons include a Tokyo woman (Tanaka Kinuyo) with a mysterious past who develops a brief relationship with a wounded soldier (Ryu Chishu). A comedic piece filmed and set during wartime Japan, Kanzashi makes a statement with its lightness. Read More »

Zenzo Matsuyama – Na mo naku mazushiku utsukushiku aka Happiness of Us Alone (1961)



The directorial debut of longtime screenwriter and frequent Masaki Kobayashi
collaborator Zenzo Matsuyama, Happiness of Us Alone is a tour de force of humanist
cinema that stands as a landmark of the changing attitudes towards people with
disabilities in Japan. A sympathetic portrayal of the suffering of a deaf couple (played by
Matsuyama’s own wife, Hideko Takamine, and frequent co-star Keiju Kobayashi) at the
hands of a shell shocked postwar society that treats them like wayward children to be
at turns pitied or exploited, the film prefigures the wave of activist documentaries of the
1970s exploring mistreatment of the disabled by such filmmakers as Kazuo Hara, Noriaki
Tsuchimoto and Mariko Miyagi. Amidst a culture that traditionally sought to hide those
with disabilities from public view, Happiness of Us Alone charts the often disastrous
consequences of attempting to live an independent life in a society that isn’t yet prepared
to accommodate those who are different. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Bokuto kidan AKA The Strange Story of Oyuki (1992)


Noted filmmaker Kaneto Shindo directs this erotic drama adapted from the autobiographical book by renowned writer Nagai Kafu. Kafu, a noted rake and whoremonger, became one of Japan’s more celebrated literary figures by documenting fleeting pleasures and subtle human interactions as he frequented Ginza cafes and Yoshiwara brothels. For this film, Shindo captures the essence of Kafu’s work with an episodic structure detailing Kafu’s search for his feminine ideal. One day, Kafu (played by Masahiko Tsugawa), while walking along the rain-slicked streets of Tokyo’s red light district, happens upon Oyuki (Yuki Sumita), a geisha with a heart of gold. Strikingly beautiful, patrons flock to her in the house she shares with her madame (played by film legend Haruko Sugimura). Read More »

Shinya Tsukamoto – Haze (2005)

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A man wakes up to find himself locked in a cramped concrete maze of corridors, in which he can barely move. He doesn’t remember why he is there or how he got there. He has a terrible stomach injury and is slowly bleeding to death. Read More »

Shinya Tsukamoto – Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009) (HD)

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– from Variety-

“POWERED BY
A Tetsuo Group presentation of a Kaijyu Theater, Asmik Ace Entertainment production. (International sales: the Coproduction Office, Paris.) Produced by Shinichi Kawahara, Masayuki Tanishima.
Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto. Screenplay, Tsukamoto, Hisakatsu Kuroki.

With: Erik Bossick, Akiko Monou, Shinya Tsukamoto, Stephen Sarrazin, Yuko Nakamura, Tiger Charlie Gerhardt.
(English dialogue)

Twenty years after making his breakout cult hit, “Tetsuo,” and 17 years after its sequel, “Tetsuo II: Body Hammer,” multihyphenate filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto busts out the big guns again with “Tetsuo the Bullet Man.” Contempo-set pic doesn’t bring much new to the half-man-half-machine concept, but with its delirious editing and eardrum-crunching soundtrack, it punches above its weight and musters a certain retro charm with its old-school effects, all done on about one-hundredth of the budget of a “Transformers” movie. Fans of the franchise will have this in their sights and show support, but crossover potential looks iffy. Read More »

Fruit Chan – Jiao zi AKA Dumplings [+Extra] (2004)

Plot:
In Hong Kong, Aunt Mei is a cook famous for her home-made rejuvenation dumplings, based on a millenarian recipe prepared with a mysterious ingredient that she brings directly from China. The former TV star Mrs. Li visits Mei aiming her dumplings to recover her youth and become attractive again to her wolf husband Mr. Li. Along the sessions, Mei tells Mrs. Li that she was a gynecologist in China with more than 30,000 abortions along ten years. When Mrs. Li requests an acceleration of the process, the opportunity comes when a fifteen years old teenager with a five months incestuous pregnancy comes with her mother and asks Mei to make an abortion. Read More »

Isao Yukisada – Kita no zeronen aka Year one in the north (2005)

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Quote:
In 1868, after the fall of the Shogun-dominated Japan, the new government orders people from Awaji, near Kobe, to re-locate to the northern part of Hokkaido. These people once supported the now displaced Samurais of the older days. After two years, over 500 of them settled in their new land under the leadership of Hideaki, husband of Shino. However, as crops fail he is to go to Sapporo to learn new techniques of farming, leaving his wife and daughter for 5 years. All this time, the new community is constantly watched by the government which choose to again uproot them from their new homes.[imdb] Read More »