Kon Ichikawa

Kon Ichikawa – Yukinojô henge AKA An Actor’s Revenge [+Extras] (1963)

Synopsis:
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. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Inugami-ke no ichizoku AKA The Inugami Family (1976)

Legendary Japanese director Ichikawa Kons 1976 film The Inugami Family, holds a very special place in Japans long tradition of supernatural suspense. Based on Yokomizo Seishis epic work, the slow-burning family murder mystery is a highly influential title in the directors celebrated filmography and just about required viewing for Japanese cinema fans. When tycoon Inugami Sahei passes away, he unexpectedly leaves the family fortune to outsider Tamayo on the condition that she marry one of the Inugami grandsons – Sukekiyo, Suketake, or Suketomo – pitting blood against blood. Soon afterwards, members of the family begin to show up dead, one by one. Detective Kindaichi Kosuke is called in to investigate the murders, and the truth is slowly revealed as he happens upon years of hidden skeletons and a shocking family secret. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Taketori monogatari AKA Princess from the Moon (1987)

The old Japanese folktale of the Bamboo Cutter is here reinterpreted to make Kaguya an alien visitor. Sticking fairly closely to the original 9th century tale of a bamboo cutter finding a mysterious baby girl, this film puts a modern spin onto it by turning the beautiful visitor from the moon into an alien entity lost from a crashed spaceship. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Hi no tori AKA Firebird: Daybreak Chapter (1978)

This extraordinarily complex film is not only a send-up of every samurai film ever made, it is also an extrapolation of the value of life. The Yamatai, represented by Prince Susano-O and elderly advisor Sumuke, hire Yumihiko of Matsuro to hunt the phoenix so that Queen Himiko, sister of Susano-O can have eternal life. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Kagi AKA Odd Obsession (1959)

Winner of Cannes’ Special Jury Prize, Odd Obsession is one of acclaimed director Kon Ichikawa’s (Tokyo Olympiad, The Burmese Harp) greatest works. This captivating blend of comic satire and drama follows an elderly man’s attempts to satisfy his younger wife (Machiko Kyo, Rashomon, Gate of Hell). When “potency” injections fail, Mr. Kenmochi incites his own jealousy by orchestrating an affair between his wife and his doctor, who happens to be his daughter’s fiance. The wife and doctor are eager to oblige Kenmochi, his daughter is furious, and the scheme proves both a success and a deadly disaster. With dazzling imagery, rich irony, and superb acting, Odd Obsession illuminates the ongoing battle between personal desire and societal convention. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Kagi AKA The Key AKA Odd Obsession (1959) (HD)

Winner of Cannes’ Special Jury Prize, Odd Obsession is one of acclaimed director Kon Ichikawa’s (Tokyo Olympiad, The Burmese Harp) greatest works. This captivating blend of comic satire and drama follows an elderly man’s attempts to satisfy his younger wife (Machiko Kyo, Rashomon, Gate of Hell). When “potency” injections fail, Mr. Kenmochi incites his own jealousy by orchestrating an affair between his wife and his doctor, who happens to be his daughter’s fiance. The wife and doctor are eager to oblige Kenmochi, his daughter is furious, and the scheme proves both a success and a deadly disaster. With dazzling imagery, rich irony, and superb acting, Odd Obsession illuminates the ongoing battle between personal desire and societal convention. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Sasame-yuki AKA The Makioka Sisters (1983)

This lyrical adaptation of the beloved novel by Junichiro Tanizaki was a late-career triumph for director Kon Ichikawa. Structured around the changing of the seasons, The Makioka Sisters (Sasame-yuki) follows the lives of four siblings who have taken on their family’s kimono manufacturing business, in the years leading up to the Pacific War. The two oldest have been married for some time, but according to tradition, the rebellious youngest sister cannot wed until the third, conservative and terribly shy, finds a husband. This graceful study of a family at a turning point in history is a poignant evocation of changing times and fading customs, shot in rich, vivid colors. (~Criterion) Read More »