Tag Archives: Japan
Irezumi ichidai / Tattooed Life (1965) Seijun Suzuki, Hideki Takahashi, Masako Izumi, Akira Yamauchi, Crime, Drama
‘Tattooed Life’ begins with a parasol wielding Yakuza assassin attacking a rickshaw. It almost looks like feudal Japan until somebody pulls a gun and we’re reminded that it’s the 20th century. Post-shooting, the assassin delivers his bounty to his brother (to pay for his art school education) before getting ambushed in one of the few rickshaw-jacking incidents in film history, and being rescued by his art-student brother. In the aftermath, one brother is marked for death by the Yakuza, and the other brother won’t go to art school with blood on his hands, so they decide the perfect way to deal with such hardships is to become fugitive construction workers in northern Japan . And why not?
Onna no naka ni iru tanin / The Stranger Within a Woman (1966) Mikio Naruse, Keiju Kobayashi, Michiyo Aratama, Mitsuko Kusabue, Crime, Drama
Tashiro (Keiju Kobayashi) coincidentally meets his best friend Sugimoto (Tatsuya Mihashi) in a bar very close to the apartment in which Sugimoto’s wayward wife is found dead. Although Tashiro is not a suspect in the police investigation, he is racked with guilt and confesses to his wife, Masako (Michiyo Aratama). In an effort to further relieve his tortured sense of guilt, he then confesses to Sugimoto. Neither his wife nor his friend can believe that he could have been involved.
Shiinomi Gakuen / The Shiinomi School (1955) Hiroshi Shimizu, Kyôko Kagawa, Yukiko Shimazaki, Jûkichi Uno, Drama
A university professor and his wife have two sons with infantile paralysis. Through trial and error, they struggle to open a school for disabled children at their own expense. Based on a true story, it features natural child performances under Hiroshi Shimizu’s skillful direction.
Setsuko Hara plays Fumiko, whose unsuccessful marriage has made her become more and more cynical. When her niece, Ayako visits and complains about her own marriage, she is unsurprised. Meanwhile, a new couple, whose marriage is similarly unblissful, moves in next door. The two couples create a very awkward bond that could ruin both marriages, but everyone seems to be aware and nobody cares either way.
Nihon kuroshakai / Ley Lines (1999) Takashi Miike, Shô Aikawa, Samuel Pop Aning, Takeshi Caesar, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Lady Oscar (1979) Jacques Demy, Catriona MacColl, Barry Stokes, Christine Böhm, Drama, History, Romance
Oscar François de Jarjayes was born female, but her father who longed for a son and a heir insisted she be raised as a boy, alongside, Andre Grandier, the grandson of her nanny. When Oscar matures into an adult she is selected to be captain of the guards at the Palace of Versailles under King Louis XVI and Marie Antonette. Oscar soon learns the problems of the monarchy and the plight of the poor which will eventually lead to the French Revolution. She also finds herself torn between her true love for the independent, but lower-class Andre and her duties as a member of aristocracy and a trusted subject of the King and Queen.
Kinema no Tenchi / Final Take: The Golden Age of Movies (1986) Yôji Yamada, Kiyoshi Atsumi, Kiichi Nakai, Narimi Arimori, Drama
The environment and the movie stars at a Japanese film studio in the early ’30s are recreated in this drama that looks back on a distinctive period in cinematic history. Using celebrated director Yasujiro Ozu as a model, fictional director Ogata (Ittoku Kishibe) discovers a new female star quite by accident. Koharu Tanaka (Narimi Arimori) works selling candy at a studio theater when she is given a part as a bit player. After the studio’s top leading lady is embroiled in a scandal, Koharu is suddenly thrust into the limelight when she replaces her in a film and gains instant fame and fortune. But the going is not always easy, and she soon seeks help from unexpected quarters.
Anjô-ke no butôkai / The Ball at the Anjo House (1947) Kôzaburô Yoshimura, Setsuko Hara, Yumeko Aizome, Osamu Takizawa, Drama
After Japan’s loss in the war, the wealthy, cultured, liberal Anjo family have to give up their mansion and their way of life. They hold one last ball at the house before leaving. The seemingly cold, cynical son secretly grieves for his defeated father and the values that the war destroyed, while the daughter tries to prevent father from taking his life and to find her own place in the new Japan.