Ken Ogata

  • Yasuzô Masumura – Tsumiki no hako AKA The House of Wooden Blocks (1968)

    1961-1970DramaJapanYasuzô Masumura

    Masumura’s 40th film, for which he collaborated on the script, shows plot irrationality perhaps due to the newspaper serial original, perhaps to the adolescent behavior he portrays. The extremes of self-sacrifice in some of the characters such as Hisayo and Sugiura contrast too sharply with the animal brutality of Sasabayashi and Namie, and the result is more caricature than realism. The harsh selfishness of Ichiro¯ and the abrupt techniques used to present his interior thoughts (double exposure of a naked Yuri as he undresses her with his eyes) prevent him in the end from winning audience sympathy. Part of a late sixties trend toward adolescent sexuality subject matter.Read More »

  • Shôhei Imamura – Narayama-bushi kô AKA The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

    Drama1981-1990ComedyJapanShohei Imamura

    Still strong at the age of 69, Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto) prepares herself for an inevitable yet frightening ritual. In her village, where food is scarce, life is harsh and people are desperate and cruel. Anyone who lives for 70 years is hauled to the mountaintop by their children and left to die in the dead of winter. Orin is prepared to accept her fate, but she also has one last, all-important task — she must find a suitable wife for her son, Tatsuhei (Ken Ogata).Read More »

  • Toshio Masuda – Shaso AKA Company Executives (1989)

    1981-1990AsianDramaJapanToshio Masuda

    A fierce succession battle ignites at a newspaper company when the president passes away.Read More »

  • Kazuki Ohmori – Keisho sakazuki AKA Succession (1992)

    1991-2000DramaJapanKazuki Ohmori

    Stockbroker turned yakuza Shoichi Yoshinari (Hiroyuki Sanada) has been presented with a thankless task. He is to invite an oyabun (don) of a yakuza gang to emcee a succession ceremony — the passing of the baton from the older to the younger generation.Read More »

  • Hideo Gosha – Kai aka Oar (1985)

    Hideo Gosha1981-1990AsianDramaJapan

    Kiwa is Iwago’s devoted wife. A former wrestling champion, he has become a ‘zegen’ : He buys young girls from poor families to sell them to geisha houses. He is quite successful but Kiwa, though she accepts his money, loathes his work. One day Iwago comes back with a young girl he’s bought from a man who wanted to sell her in China. They adopt her and she raises her, as a respectable girl, with her two sons. But Iwago wants to manage the career of a singer who becomes his mistress and the situation becomes very tense in the couple. This is the third and last adaptation of Tomiko Miyao (mostly autobiographical) novels about the world of prostitution and yakuzas in Kochi by Gosha.Read More »

  • Kinji Fukasaku – Kataku no hito AKA House on Fire (1986)

    Kinji Fukasaku1981-1990AsianDramaJapan

    Adapted from the autobiographical story by Kazuo Dan which was published a few months before his death, House Of Fire tells story of a popular writer sharing his complicated life with his family, his numerous mistresses and his work.Read More »

  • Yasuzo Masumura – Sekkusu chekku: Daini no sei aka The Sex Check (1968)

    1961-1970AsianDramaJapanYasuzô Masumura

    Ogata’s first leading role was in Masumura’s Sex Check — the Second Sex (1968). Here, Ogata plays Shiro Miyagi, a sprinter with Olympic aspirations whose dreams were shattered by WWII. A broken man, he leads the dissolute life of a gigolo until a chance meeting with a fiery young athlete named Hiroko (Michiyo Yasuda, who also plays Naomi in A Fool’s Love). Realizing that she has talent as a sprinter, Miyagi sees a second chance at Olympic glory in becoming her coach. Following Miyagi’s unconventional, military-style training, Hiroko sets a record for the 100-meter dash, but her greatest hurdle proves to be a “sex check” which all professional athletes must pass. The Second Sex shows the love-hate relationship between athlete and coach as a means to explore a hypothesis about gender, androgyny, and human potential. This is, simply put, an unclassifiable film.Read More »

  • Shôhei Imamura – Zegen (1987)

    Arthouse1981-1990ComedyJapanShohei Imamura

    This movie is black satire of Japanese imperial ambitions in the 20th century. In Meiji era Japan (1868-1910), the Japanese state sought to establish itself as an empire as a way to both catch up to and remain free from the West. These activities also lay the foundation for the disasters to come mid-century. This movie satirizes those efforts from a mid-1980s perspective, giving it an obvious subtext of being a commentary on the efforts of late 20th century Japanese businessmen abroad as well. The “hero” is a businessman who, realizing that the Japanese armed forces will likely soon be advancing across Asia, decides that they will require brothels wherever they go as well and so sets up shop in Southeast Asia. A very black comedy from one of Japan’s finest film satirists (cf. “Pigs and Battleships,” “The Pornographers”) best known abroad ca. 1999 for “The Eel” and “Black Rain” (the film based on the novel about Hiroshima, not the Michael Douglas flick).Read More »

  • Paul Schrader – Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) (HD)

    1981-1990DramaPaul SchraderQueer Cinema(s)USA

    A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima’s life with his novels while the fourth depicts the actual events of the 25th Nov. 1970.Read More »

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