Tag Archives: Ayako Wakao

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 – 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 »

Yûzô Kawashima – Onna wa nido umareru AKA Women Are Born Twice (1961) (HD)

The first of Kawashima’s Daiei Studio collaborations with Wakao centers on the life of a Tokyo geisha named Koen and her relationships with various men. Starting out with no singing or dancing talents, the young, free-spirited Koen is initially eager to please and happy to do what she is told. With time and experience, however, she gradually begins to notice a change in herself and questions what she wants out of life. Played with subtle shifts in emotion, Wakao’s delicate performance earned her the Kinema Junpo Award and Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actress. Read More »

Yuzo Kawashima – Onna wa nido umareru AKA Women Are Born Twice (1961)

Set in Tokyo in the 1960s, this film shows the gradual transformation of Koen, a young geisha who is not good at music and dance, from carefree creature to a self-aware, mature woman through meeting and parting with a variety of men. Kawashima Yuzo, who excels at directing comedies, shows his strengths here by exposing his heroin’s delicate feelings with pathos. Wakao Ayako is radiant in her coquettish role. The director and the actress later went on to make such films as Wild Geese Temple (62) and Elegant Beast (62) together. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Zatôichi to Yôjinbô AKA Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)

Synopsis:
This film brings together two of the greatest characters created in Japanese cinema. Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) is the blind swordsman who goes back to a village that he remembers as peaceful and tranquil. It has been two to three years since his last visit and he longs to get away from the constant attacks that plague him on a daily basis, as he has a price on his head. But all is not as he remembers. When he arrives to his beloved village, he finds it is torn between a father and son that have their own gangs involved in their own family feud. As a result, the village is torn between the two men as the son seeks his father’s gold (which may or may not exist). Read More »

Satsuo Yamamoto – Tengu-to aka Blood End (1969)

Quote:
BLOOD END is one of the great unknown films from Japan’s golden era of the late 1960’s. Starring NAKADAI Tatsuya in one of his best roles, this is the story of the Mito Tengu Group who attempted to overthrow the Shogunate at the beginning of the Bakumatsu Period. Their political aspirations led to countless assassinations, as well as senseless killing of innocent people who got in their way. Sentaro (NAKADAI), a farmer who’s been severely beaten for his outspoken defiance of the government and the high taxes during a time of famine is befriended by one of the group’s leaders, KADA Gentaro (KATO Go) and joins up. Read More »