Tag Archives: 1980s

Station / Eki (1981) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Ayumi Ishida, Drama

Station (1981)
A very beautiful film. This is a Ken Takakura vehicle, and as such follows his formula. Takakura plays to type as the laconic brooder who suffers multiple tragedies with manly stoicism. While the variety of his film varied greatly, his films with director Yasuo Furuhata were always of the highest quality, and this is no exception. Takakura is a cop training to be a sharpshooter for the Olympic games, he divorces his wife and abandons his daughter when he discovers she’s had an affair. Later his coach is gunned down by a fleeing criminal. Years later Takakura returns to his snowy hometown and starts an affair with a middle-aged bar owner. The story is a bit thick, with a number of subplots, yet it is extrordinarily melancholic, as Takakura seems to regret everything he’s done in his life and is made over and over again to relive his mistakes. There is very little “action” as such, and no yakuzas of any kind; but beyond that this is one of the most lushly beautiful and emotional films you can see (if you can see it), with an excellent score by Ryudo Uzaki.

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Te rongyos élet / Oh, Bloody Life (1984) Péter Bacsó, Dorottya Udvaros, Zoltán Bezerédy, András Kern, Comedy, Drama

Te rongyos elet (1984)
The Hungarian Oh, Bloody Life reflects on the heavy emotional toll taken by the repressive Stalin regime. Dorotya Udvaros plays a young actress from a high-born family. The government bias against persons of wealth threatens to destroy her career before it begins. As a final blow, she is threatened with deportation. The exasperation inherent in the film’s title is only the tip of the iceberg.

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Francesco / St. Francis of Assisi (1989) Liliana Cavani, Mickey Rourke, Helena Bonham Carter, Andréa Ferréol

Francesco (1989)
The life of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) as related by followers who gather after his death to tell stories so that Leone can record them: a privileged and virile youth, a prisoner of war, an heir who turns away from his father and gives all to the poor, a beggar for others, and an inspiration to friends who accept the Gospels’ life of poverty. He seeks the Pope’s blessing, and he endures persecution at the hands of the family of Chiara Offreduccio (1194-1253), who becomes St. Clare. Many join the order he has established and then rebel at his expectations. In near despair – and ill – he writes a Rule to take to the Pope; then, the Lord sends him a message. He dies smiling.

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