Tag Archives: japanese
Subete ga kurutteru / Everything Goes Wrong (1960) Seijun Suzuki, Tamio Kawachi, Yoshiko Nezu, Sayuri Yoshinaga, Drama
The young rebel Juro has to deal with an environment of crime and prostitution, and the impact of its choices on personal relationships: one with his mother, with the lover of the latter and with a girl in love with him.
Keiko is a 23-year-old lonely virgin who lives in a tiny room, and hopes to meet someone in the cafe she frequents. After a bad affair with one of the other diners, she vows to give up men. She then begins a happy lesbian relationship with her co-worker Kazuyo. However she is under constant pressure from her father to marry.
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.
The Conspirator / Hangyakuji (1961) Daisuke Itô, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Haruko Sugimura, Chiyonosuke Azuma, Action, Drama
Two hostile clans had reached an artificial reconciliation which involves the marriage of a person from each family. The boy’s father is away to serve the emperor, and his highly despotic mother has the absolute power. Typical of the atmosphere are the boy’s words to her: “If mother was not my mother I would hate her.” “If father was not my father I would hate him.” The boy eventually finds a poor peasant girl and has a beautiful love affair. But soon his mother appoints this girl to be the son’s concubine. As the real wife had so far born no child, if the concubine should be the first to bear a child, the wife and the concubine would exchange their status. In this situation the boy refuses to sleep with his beloved. His mother tries to whip the girl into seducing the boy, and when she fails the mother murders the girl. In this hell the boy finally finds a solution. He is the obstacle which prevents his father from rebelling against the emperor.
Ken Takakura stars in yet another bad-ass Prison film, in “Prison Boss”. Here, rival gangs battle it out over ownership of a bicycle race track. The outside life for the yakuza mimics prison life in two respects,…. First, there are rules that must never be crossed and second, when opportunity arises, the rules will always be broken.
Mibu gishi den / When the Last Sword is Drawn (2002) Yôjirô Takita, Kiichi Nakai, Kôichi Satô, Yui Natsukawa, Drama
Kanichiro Yoshimura is a Samurai and Family man who can no longer support his wife and children on the the low pay he receives from his small town clan, he is forced by the love for his family to leave for the city in search of higher pay to support them. In his search he joins a notorious clan, known as the Shinsengumi where he does as much as possible to get money. Looked at as a money grubber,Yoshimura proves his strength physically and mentally by being loyal to his honor. During the dramatic period, with the rise of the Emperor and the fall of the Shogun. Yoshimura shows us the struggle of life in a personal way, by changing the lives of the people he meets and the way life is looked at.
Minagoroshi no reika / I, the Executioner (1968) Tai Katô, Chieko Baishô, Yuki Kawamura, Sanae Nakahara, Drama
Two sisters live with their father. The younger sister is embroiled in an affair and becomes pregnant. The elder sister has run away from her husband and returned with her child to her parent’s home. Both sisters are astonished when their mother, long thought dead, turns up alive. The sisters are even more stunned when they learn what their mother’s life has been.