Tag Archives: Japan

Akibiyori / Late Autumn (1960) Yasujirô Ozu, Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Mariko Okada, Comedy, Drama

Akibiyori AKA Late Autumn (1960)
Family and friends of the late Shuzo Miwa have gathered for his annual memorial service, this one marking the seventh anniversary of his passing. Three of his long time friends – married Shuzo Taguchi, married Soichi Mamiya, and widowed Seiichiro Hirayama – have long known and admitted to each other that they have always been attracted to his widow, Akiko Miwa, who they believe has gotten even more beautiful as she has matured. The three friends take it upon themselves to find a husband for the Miwa’s now twenty-four year old daughter, Ayako Miwa, who they believe as beautiful as her mother, and who, as a pure innocent, deserves a good husband. Their self-appointed task is despite them knowing that Ayako does not want them to do so. She doesn’t want to get married, at least not yet, as she struggles with her traditional sensibilities in post-war modern Japan. Her first priority as she sees it is to take care of her widowed mother, who would be alone if she were to get married.

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Kamome-yo, kirameku umi o mitaka/meguri ai / Oh Seagull, Have You Seen the Sparkling Ocean? : An Encounter (1975) Kenji Yoshida, Ken Tanaka, Yôko Takahashi, Akemi Negishi, Drama

Kamome-yo, kirameku umi o mitakameguri ai (1975)
Fujishita Kumi is an ordinary office lady. Longing to escape her poor fishing village for a life in the city, she came to Tokyo. One day while alone in the office, she’s spotted rolling up her pantyhose by the window cleaner Kurata Katsuo. This was to be their first encounter. Completely enchanted by Kumi, Katsuo does everything he can to get close to her. He’s is a man with a terrible past. With the death of his coal miner father, his family was broken up and he was forced to follow in his father’s footsteps laboring away in the mud. In spite of this, Katsuo still has dreams. He dreams of living in Resiporuko, a utopian fantasyland that exists only in his imagination.

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Yatsuhaka-mura / Village of the Eight Tombs (1996) Kon Ichikawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Yûko Asano, Yu Ji Chin Ye, Mystery

Yatsuhaka-mura AKA Village of the Eight Tombs (1996)
400 hundred years ago the inhabitants of the village of Yatsuhaka murdered 8 samurai rebels, whom they were actually helping to hide away, afraid of what the Shogunate would do to them. Before dying one the samurai puts a curse on the village. Strange things start to happen so the villagers decided to erect 8 graves for the murdered samurai to appease their anger. Then four hundred years later the head of Tajimi family and head of the village goes mad and starts killing almost everyone in the village. 25 years later his eldest son is poisoned. Kindaichi Yousuke detective is hired by the family’s lawyer as everyone in the village believes is the curse of the samurai again.

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Dasso yugi / Jail Breakers (1976) Kôsaku Yamashita, Shin’ichi Chiba, Haruko Wanibuchi, Eitarô Ozawa, Action, Crime

Dasso yugi AKA Jail Breakers (1976)
The film is packed with nice stunts throughout, but the screenplay could be better. After escaping the prison Chiba teams up with a bunch of thugs, who design prison escapes for money. Unfortunately trust and loyalty are unknown concepts to these men who take turns deceiving each other. The endless “who’s-cheating-who” game has been done better in other films, and sometimes the writing is downright sloppy: when a carefully planned escape operation fails, Chiba simply steals a fire engine and drives away without anyone noticing! It also feels that director Kosaku Yamashita, who made his name with yakuza films, was a bit out of his element here. However, even with these weaknesses it’s an entertaining action comedy which compares favourably against some of the later, similar Yasaku Matsuda films like Execution Game (1978) and No Grave for Us (1979). The focus is on stunts and comedy.

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Doto no taiketsu / Showdown at the Great Tone River (1959) Yasushi Sasaki, Utaemon Ichikawa, Chiezô Kataoka, Action, Drama

Doto no taiketsu AKA Showdown at the Great Tone River (1959)
One of the great stories from Japan’s rich history comes to life in this true tale of the bloody showdown between two rival yakuza gangs in the 1840’s. The battle between Boss Sukegoro of Iioka and Boss Shigezo of Sasagawa has been portrayed many times, most notably in the first Zatoichi film, where the blind man befriends the tubercular ronin Hirate Miki, before cutting him down in one of the great duels in cinema history. This all-star extravaganza pulls out all the stops, with appearances by virtually all of the great actors and actresses from Toei’s studio at the time. Ichikawa Utaemon’s portrayal of the kind-hearted, noble yakuza boss Shigezo of Sasagawa contrasts sharply with the devious Sukegoro of Iioka. Corrupt as he may have been, his men were all willing to give up their lives for him.

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Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky (2009) Jan Kounen, Anna Mouglalis, Mads Mikkelsen, Elena Morozova, Drama

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky (2009)
Paris 1913. Coco Chanel is infatuated with the rich and handsome Boy Capel, but she is also compelled by her work. Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. The revolutionary dissonances of Igor’s work parallel Coco’s radical ideas. She wants to democratize women’s fashion; he wants to redefine musical taste. Coco attends the scandalous first performance of The Rite in a chic white dress. The music and ballet are criticized as too modern, too foreign. Coco is moved but Igor is inconsolable. Paris 1920, Coco is newly wealthy and successful but grief-stricken after Boy’s death in a car crash. Igor, following the Russian Revolution is now a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris. Coco is introduced to Igor by Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes. The attraction between them is instant and electric. Coco invites Igor along with his wife – now sick with consumption – together with his four children and a menagerie of birds to stay at her new villa, Bel …

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