Nobuko Otowa

  • Kaneto Shindô – Haha AKA Mother (1963)

    Tamiko is a divorced mother with a seriously ill son, struggling to save him and give both a sense of their existence. She lives with her mother and brother, but will marry a man older than her. The dramatic shadow of Hiroshima bombs is always hovering over the fate of the characters.Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Kôsatsu AKA The Strangling (1979)

    The men who surround and torment the young protagonist (demanding teacher, owner of the company that rapes his own daughter, despotic and uncompromising father) are opposed to women (victims of men) as embodiment of salvation.Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Kanawa AKA The Iron Crown (1972)

    When her husband leaves her for a younger woman, a woman plots revenge against him.Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Yabu no naka no kuroneko aka Kuroneko aka Black Cat From The Grove (1968)

    Playing on the legend of ghosts returning in the form of cats to seek vengeance for their deaths, Kuroneko [Black Cat from the Grove] tells the tale of a mother and daughter, raped and killed by marauding samurai, and their supernatural revenge.Read More »

  • Heinosuke Gosho – Ôsaka no yado AKA An Inn at Osaka (1954)

    Synopsis:
    Mr. Mito (Shuji Sano), a Tokyo businessman, is demoted and sent to Osaka. There, he finds lodging in the titular inn, and makes the acquaintance of many of the town’s citizens. Notable among them are the maids at the inn, a hard-drinking geisha, and a mysterious woman Mito encounters at the mailbox. In Japan, director Gosho’s name is synonymous with melancholy and finding laughter through tears; An Inn at Osaka bears up that reputation. The struggle to stay afloat in life, especially financially, is a running theme of the film, as all of the characters struggle with looming poverty and gnawing loneliness, but it all ends with a kind of quiet triumph.Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Hadaka no jûkyû-sai AKA Live Today, Die Tomorrow! (1970)

    Quote:
    Almost a decade before Imamura’s Vengeance Is Mine, Shindo crafted this fascinating documentary-inspired portrait of a serial killer that drew upon the actual events of a troubled nineteen-year old who went on a murderous rampage, killing four people with a pistol stolen from an US navel base. Shindo’s meticulous research into the background of the anti-social youth, including extensive interviews with his mother and acquaintances, brings a rare authenticity of unexpected detail to a film that also reads as an astute critique of American imperialism and reckless tabloid journalism.Read More »

  • Ji-shun Duan & Jun’ya Satô – Mikan no taikyoku AKA The Go Masters (1982)

    Quote:
    “The Go Masters” begins and ends with the same game of Go, but 32 years separate the opening and closing moves. In between, there is war and heartbreak, death and disease, doomed lovers, families separated by fate and united by chance. The movie is a melodrama on an epic scale, an Asian “Gone With the Wind,” filled with romance and action but built on a foundation of Eastern philosophy.Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Onibaba AKA Devil Woman (1964)

    Synopsis:
    In the Fourteenth Century, during a civil war in Japan, a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law survive in a hut in a field of reed killing warriors and soldiers to trade their possessions for food. When their neighbor Hachi defects from the war and returns home, they learn that their son and husband Kichi died while stealing supplies from farmers. Soon Hachi seduces the young widow and she sneaks out of her hut every night to have sex with him. When the older woman finds the affair of her daughter-in-law, she pleads with Hachi to leave the young woman with her since she would not be able to kill the warriors without her help. However, Hachi ignores her request and continues to meet the young woman. Read More »

  • Kaneto Shindô – Gogo no Yuigon-jo AKA A Last Note (1995)

    Quote:
    Veteran Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindo was 82 when he directed this meditation on life, death, and loss. Following the passing of her husband, elderly former actress Yoko Morimoto (Haruko Sugimura) travels to her summer home in the mountains of Central Japan. Upon her arrival, her servant Tokoyo (Nobuko Otowa) has sad news for her — her long-time gardener has recently committed suicide. Adding to Yoko’s sorrow is the arrival of Tomie, an old friend from her days in the theater, who is traveling with her husband Tohachiro Urshikuni (Hideo Kanze), also an actor. Read More »

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