Tag Archives: Kon Ichikawa

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 »

Kon Ichikawa – Nobi AKA Fires on the Plain (1959) (HD)

Synopsis
In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Okuman choja aka A Billionaire (1954)

A full description of the film can be found in James Quandt’s edited collection of writings on (and by) Ichikawa Kon from the Cinemateque Ontario (in Sato Tadao’s essay “Kon Ichikawa” on pages 109 – 111). A Billionaire was one of a handful of 50s comedies that Ichikawa directed that were extremely successful at the box office. These films were characterized by rapid-fire dialogue and biting social commentary (others like this include Pu-San and Mr Lucky). This is definitely a period of Ichikawa’s career that deserves more focus from the West. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Taiheiyo hitori-botchi aka Alone on the Pacific (1963)

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Synopsis:
Director Kon Ichikawa’s (An Actor’s Revenge, The Burmese Harp, Tokyo Olympiad) incredible real-life tale of one man’s epic journey across the Pacific Ocean is based on Kenichi Horie’s best-selling book of the same name. A year previously, at only 23 years old, Horie took his basic sailboat (named ‘The Mermaid’) and set off from Nishinomiya in Japan, arriving in San Francisco, California 94 days later. Man’s battle against nature is amongst the timeless themes of Ichikawa’s beautifully shot, inspiring film. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Wagahai wa neko de aru AKA I Am A Cat (1975)

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I wasn’t sufficiently acquainted with Kon Ichikawa’s work (and, truthfully, I’m still not), but the entire tone of his relatively obscure I Am a Cat caught me somewhat by surprise. I’d loved Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain, a deeply and darkly humorous look at the ridiculousness of war played against that looming seriousness that’s always prevalent in those kind of films. I was then ready for some kind of Japanese incarnation of Harry and Tonto. That’s really not what I got, though. I Am a Cat is definitely steeped in comic undertones, with Tatsuya Nakadai almost parodying himself, but it’s absolutely far removed from Harry and Tonto. Instead, we’re left with some odd tribute to Nakadai’s eternally grumpy protagonist and the stray cat who’s his only true confidante. Read More »