Kaneto Shindô

Kaneto Shindô – Hadaka no jûkyû-sai AKA Live Today, Die Tomorrow! (1970)

Quote:
Almost a decade before Imamura’s Vengeance Is Mine, Shindo crafted this fascinating documentary-inspired portrait of a serial killer that drew upon the actual events of a troubled nineteen-year old who went on a murderous rampage, killing four people with a pistol stolen from an US navel base. Shindo’s meticulous research into the background of the anti-social youth, including extensive interviews with his mother and acquaintances, brings a rare authenticity of unexpected detail to a film that also reads as an astute critique of American imperialism and reckless tabloid journalism. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Ichimai no hagaki AKA Postcard (2010)

Synopsis:
Toward the end of World War II, middle-aged soldier Keita is entrusted with a postcard from a comrade who is sure he will die in battle. After the war ends, Keita visits his comrade’s wife Yuko and bears witness to the tragic life she has led. This year’s Oscar entry from Japan finds SHINDO in top form and his 49th and reportedly last film as fresh and poignant as ever. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Onibaba AKA Devil Woman (1964)

Synopsis:
In the Fourteenth Century, during a civil war in Japan, a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law survive in a hut in a field of reed killing warriors and soldiers to trade their possessions for food. When their neighbor Hachi defects from the war and returns home, they learn that their son and husband Kichi died while stealing supplies from farmers. Soon Hachi seduces the young widow and she sneaks out of her hut every night to have sex with him. When the older woman finds the affair of her daughter-in-law, she pleads with Hachi to leave the young woman with her since she would not be able to kill the warriors without her help. However, Hachi ignores her request and continues to meet the young woman. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Fukurô aka The Owl (2003)

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It is often said that comedy is the most untranslatable element from culture to culture. This is perhaps even more the case with surreal mixed genre films like this. In Shindo Kaneto’s film (his 101st!) the old sensei has given us a strange meditation on male lusts and women’s struggle for independence. It is like a play in that the action takes place almost exclusively in a small cabin in a deserted region of Western Japan. A mother and daughter are stranded in a ghost town and are starving to death. They hit on a plan to get them out of their plight which involves exploiting the few men who stray into their cabin. They offer sexual services and then bump off the happy customers. All goes well until a local cop shows up and, then, a relation of theirs from way back. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Gogo no Yuigon-jo AKA A Last Note (1995)

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Veteran Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindo was 82 when he directed this meditation on life, death, and loss. Following the passing of her husband, elderly former actress Yoko Morimoto (Haruko Sugimura) travels to her summer home in the mountains of Central Japan. Upon her arrival, her servant Tokoyo (Nobuko Otowa) has sad news for her — her long-time gardener has recently committed suicide. Adding to Yoko’s sorrow is the arrival of Tomie, an old friend from her days in the theater, who is traveling with her husband Tohachiro Urshikuni (Hideo Kanze), also an actor. 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 »

Kaneto Shindô – Daigo Fukuryu-Maru aka Lucky Dragon No. 5 (1959)

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Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福龍丸?, Lucky Dragon 5) was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954. Kuboyama Aikichi, the boat’s chief radioman, died half a year later, on September 23, 1954, suffering from acute radiation syndrome. He is considered the first victim of the hydrogen bomb of Operation Castle Bravo.

Five years after the accident, the Japanese film director Shindo Kaneto made a film titled Daigo Fukuryu Maru. The actor Uno Jukichi played the role of Kuboyama Aikichi. Director Kaneto Shindo spoke at a screening of his 1959 film ”Daigo Fukuryu Maru” (Lucky Dragon No. 5), emphasizing the need to abolish nuclear weapons and to continue educating youth about the devastation they cause. ”Nuclear arms have been an issue since World War II,” the 91-year-old told an audience of over 90 people, citing this week’s multilateral talks in Beijing on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. ”They can wipe out the human race.” Read More »