Tag Archives: Itsuji Itao

Eiji Uchida – Gureitofuru deddo AKA Greatful dead (2013)

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Nami (Kumi Takiuchi) is a lonely young girl prone to outbursts of left field violence, due to being ignored by her poverty-relief obsessed mother who leaves one day, leaving her with her depressed father and older sister. Nami’s dad takes on a mistress and still ignored and with her sister now with a boyfriend, Nami seeks constant solace in in an inane shopping channel, captivated by the gadgets and bargains offered by the smiling host. Read More »

Toshiaki Toyoda – Kuuchuu Teien AKA Hanging Garden (2005)

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Meet the Kyobashis, a model suburban Japanese family. Or are they? In director Toshiaki Toyoda’s skillful examination of contemporary domestic malaise, a mother’s plan for the perfect family initially seems to be working, but we soon learn that her perceived perfection is a lie that each family member chooses to believe at the expense of reality. Read More »

Hirokazu Koreeda – Kûki ningyô aka Air Doll (2009)

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Middle-aged Hideo lives alone with an inflatable doll he calls Nozomi. The doll is his closest companion. He dresses it up, talks to it over dinner, and has sexual intercourse with it. However, unbeknown to Hideo, Nozomi was created with a heart. After Hideo leaves for work each day, Nozomi dresses in her maid’s outfit and explores the world outside their apartment with a sense of child-like wonder. She encounters various city residents who metaphorically are as “empty inside” as she is. When Nozomi meets Junichi, who works at a local video store, she falls in love with him and gets a part-time job at the store. She learns about the world through the movies she watches with Junichi, but her happiness with him is interrupted by a dramatic turn of events. Director Koreeda has stated that the film is about the loneliness of urban life and the question of what it means to be human.
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Hitoshi Matsumoto – Saya zamurai aka Scabbard Samurai (2010)

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Recently widowed samurai Kanjūrō (Nomi Takaaki) puts down his sword and abandons his master, with nine-year-old daughter Tae (Kumada Sea) in tow. Now wanted for desertion, Kanjūrō is captured by a rival lord (Kunimura Jun), who makes an unusual offer. Kanjūrō will be released if he can bring a grin to the lord’s son (Shimizu Shūma), who hasn’t smiled since his mother’s death. If Kanjūrō can’t succeed within thirty days, he must commit seppuku. With the help of his jailers — and some harsh reinforcement from his daughter — the humorless Kanjūrō devises comically desperate (or desperately comic) methods to save his skin and crack the son’s stony exterior. Though more sentimental than writer/director Matsumoto Hitoshi’s previous films (Big Man Japan, Symbol), Scabbard Samurai is unmistakably in the same spirit, with deadpan absurdism and bizarre stunts recalling the variety shows that made his name.) Read More »