Sword of Doom (1966) review

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“Everything one can and should expect from a samurai narrative [is present]. A true classic that has withstood the test time.”

Introduction

If there is one thing that has defined Kihachi Okamoto’s oeuvre, it is his experience in the second world war. This is not only evident in the stories he choose to portray – one third of his oeuvre consists of stories concerning the second world war, but also in the way he approached violence.

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Deadly Fight in Hiroshima (1973) Review

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“[This] faithful account of the post-war Japanese underworld is downright fabulous to behold, [and the] lack of humanity [that underpins the narrative] (…) a serene but (…) depressing confrontation with the deregulating nature of man’s enjoyment beyond any heroism whatsoever.”

Introduction

Kinji Fukasaku (深作欣二, 1930-2003) doesn’t need an introduction. When in the seventies the popularity of the ninkyô eiga started to decline, it was Fukasaku who revived the Yakuza genre with his realistic approach, leading to the birth of the sub-genre of actual record film (Jitsuroku eiga). Supported by the meticulous research by Kasahara Kazuo, Fukasaku aimed to capture the turbulent story of various prominent, post-WW2 Hiroshima yakuza families.

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監督との話し合い: Tadashi Nagayama [日本語]

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Introduction

With Journey of the Tortoise receiving a glaring review on this blog, we were very interested to sit down and have a chat with Tadashi Nagayama about his past, his present and his future. With short and to the point answers, Nagayama provides an interesting insight in his mind and his subject.

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Bloody Chainsaw Girl (2016) review

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An enjoyable narrative [that] frames (…) gore in such an enjoyable and satisfying way [but will eventually leave] (…) spectators (…) wanting for more.”

Introduction

While Hiroki Yamaguchi impressed international audiences with his sci-fi horror Hellevator (2004), a surprise hit on that years Fantasia Film Festival, he has remained largely unnoticed with the rest of his oeuvre. Despite the lack of a true international breakthrough, Yamaguchi has nevertheless kept making movies, expanding his oeuvre of mostly low-budget movies.

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[Short Movie Time] Ache (2017) Review

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“Despite the technical shortcomings of the narrative, the artistic talent of Endo is evident and her ability to cause emotion and evoke symbolism comes nicely to the fore.”

Introduction

In an attempt to further support upcoming Japanese directors, we also decided to review shorts and interview, when possible, the directors behind them. In most cases these shorts are an attempt to attract interest in one’s talent – and budget to make a first full-length feature film. This time, we focus on Atsuko Endo’s latest short movie Ache.

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After the storm (2016) review

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“Kore-eda once again gently touches upon the fundamental importance of reminiscing the past and treasuring small moments of happiness, while underlining in a subtle but precise way the complexity of relationships.”

Introduction

If there is one Japanese director that doesn’t need an introduction, it is Hirokazu Kore-eda. Often compared to the grand-master Yasujiro Ozu, Kore-eda nevertheless sees his work as being closer to the dramas Mikio Naruse painted and the work of Ken Loach. And while Kore-eda’s work is diverse in nature, the underlying question/problem the auteur works through ever concerns the complexity of family and relationships as such.

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Blade of the Immortal (2017) Review

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“As limbs get scattered and blood flows, one comes to realize that there might be only one Japanese director who can compose these massacres with such stylish precision.”

Introduction

Six years after the melodramatic and narratively layered Hara-kiri: death of a Samurai (2011) and seven after the epic universally acclaimed remake 13 Assassins (2010), Takashi Miike finally returns to the samurai genre with Blade of The Immortal.

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