Tag Archives: Japan

Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi / The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) Yôji Yamada, Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Kaori Momoi, Comedy, Drama

Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi (Yoji Yamada, 1977)
The story starts with Kinya, who has recently upgraded his car. He’s a young adult and he’s single so naturally he uses his ride to ahem, look for companions. He offers a ride to a shy girl by the name of Akemi and she reluctantly accepts. From the get go, sexual tension is apparent, but things get a bit easier as the two become acquainted. They pick up Yusaku, a 30-something coal miner with a reserved personality. The story slowly begins to shift from the comedic hijinks of Kinya and Akemi to Yusaku’s mental drama. He’s hiding something about his past, which he either wants to forget or is trying to remember.

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The Garden (1990) Derek Jarman, Tilda Swinton, Johnny Mills, Philip MacDonald, Drama

The Garden (Derek Jarman, 1990)
A nearly wordless visual narrative intercuts two main stories and a couple of minor ones. A woman, perhaps the Madonna, brings forth her baby to a crowd of intrusive paparazzi; she tries to flee them. Two men who are lovers marry and are arrested by the powers that be. The men are mocked and pilloried, tarred, feathered, and beaten. Loose in this contemporary world of electrical-power transmission lines is also Jesus. The elements, particularly fire and water, content with political power, which is intolerant and murderous.

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Kujira gami / The Whale God (1962) Tokuzô Tanaka, Kyôko Enami, Shiho Fujimura, Kôji Fujiyama, Drama, Fantasy

Kujira gami AKA The Whale God (1962)
Based on the award-winning story of the same title by Uno Koichiro. A demon whale is killing the fishermen of a small village year after year. The townspeople become obsessed with killing the whale, and the town’s wealthiest man offers his land, position and only daughter to the man who can kill the beast. A stranger, Kishu, steps forward and declares that he will kill the whale. A brute, he frightens the crowd. Another fisherman, Shaki, wants to kill the whale to avenge the deaths of his father and grandfather. Shaki is the popular leader of the local men.

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Robô no ishi / The Wayside Pebble (1964) Miyoji Ieki, Chikage Awashima, Shûichi Ikeda, Katsuo Nakamura, Drama

Robo no Ishi AKA The Wayside Pebble (1964)
The Wayside Pebble is an effective drama about the hardships of a childhood spent with a brusque, cold-hearted father and a submissive mother. The year is 1910 and the place is a small Japanese village. Goichi is suffering because he wants to go to school, but his family is too poor to afford that luxury. Even when a kind friend agrees to help out, Goichi’s father refuses to give in to his son’s request for an education. Instead, he sends Goichi off to work as an indentured servant for a cold-hearted merchant and his family. As tragedy strikes and the suffering of the young boy increases, he begins to look for some way out of his bleak situation.

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Bangiku / Late Chrysanthemums (1954) Mikio Naruse, Haruko Sugimura, Ken Uehara, Sadako Sawamura, Drama

Bangiku (1954)
What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting debts. Even her best friends, Tomi, Nobu, and Tamae, who were her fellow Geisha, are now indebted to her. For all of them, the glamor of their young lives has passed; Tomi and Tamae have children, but their children have disappointed them. Kin has two former lovers who still pursue her; one she wants to see, and the other she doesn’t. But even the one she remembers fondly, when he shows up, proves to be a disappointment.

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Filmovy dobrodruh Karel Zeman / Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015) Tomas Hodan, Tim Burton, Tony Dalton, Kamil Fila, Documentary, Biography

Filmovy dobrodruh Karel Zeman AKA Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015)
A biographical film looking back at the life, work and significance of the genius of world cinema. It reveals the inspiration sources of his work and looks into the kitchen of the film tricks pioneer. As an absolute solitaire in his field, he created his own world based purely on his imagination. He was a complete autodidact and is therefore not easily classifiable into any film wave or direction. This extremely hardworking, resourceful man and a perfectionist, yet always preserving the ability to see the world from a child’s perspective is without any doubt one of the most successful and celebrated Czech filmmakers in the world. Thanks to their inner poetry and sincerity, his films do not age.

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