“[A fabulous confrontation] with the inherent dimension of the self-destructive pleasure, evoking the effects capitalism have on society as a whole along the way.”
Takashi Miike is a director that doesn’t need any introduction. Bursting on the international stage with Audition (1999), his human drama gone wrong, he also delighted or affronted audiences with Ichi the killer (2001) and visitor Q (2001). Violence has always had an important presence in Miike’s oeuvre – consisting now of more than 100 movies – and Graveyard of honour is no different.
“Another outstanding achievement; (…) a subdued and at times funny exploration of humanity [that] subtly shifts into a moving meditation of that irrational little thing called love.”
Those who have read our top 10 of 2017, might have noticed that Kurosawa’s Before we Vanish received a shared fifth place, without receiving an in-depth review. With the upcoming release of Before We Vanish by Super LTD, from 2 February in selected theaters, we were finally given the opportunity to present our review of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (and Sachiko Tanaka’s) adaptation of Tomohiro Maekawa’s stage play.
“Notwithstanding the failure to turn Kaneki’s coming-to-terms into the moving experience it needs to be (…). [The narrative] is still one of the better high-budget live-action adaptations to appear in recent years.”
It has become a logical sequence nowadays in Japan, a good selling manga gets serialized, a successful serialization is then turned into an anime – sometimes it receives some light-novels as well, and, if a movie studio sees potential to earn money with it, a live-action movie is made (General-note 1).
“By exploring the problematic field conditioned by sexuality and money, [the narrative] (…)earns its place as a true classic of the Roman porno genre.”
For fans of the Roman Porno genre Tanaka Noboru is definitely not one of the forgotten directors. Actually, with narratives like A Woman Called Sada Abe (1975), Watcher in the Attic (1976) and Woman on the Night Train (1972), many would consider him one of the masters of the genre, a director that fully exploited the social and psychological possibilities of the genre.
“The likability of Gou Ayano as Tatsuhiko still shines, turning the second part of Tatsuhiko’s narrative, despite being thematically different and not being refreshing at all, [into] an enjoyable narrative to experience.”
After the commercial success Sion Sono’s manga adaptation Shinjuku Swan was – racking in 1.33 billion yen, it should not come as a surprise that a sequel would follow. But this time, besides Sion Sono returning to the directors seat, the highly acclaimed Japanese action director Kenji Tanigaki, best known by his work for the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, was attracted to help choreographing the narrative’s fighting sequences. While this focus on fighting might be an interesting addition, we cannot help but wonder if Shinjuku swan 2 is a worthy sequel or just a cheap cash-in.
“A splendid crafted high-school narrative (…) [that] meticulously (…) investigates the complexity of the high-school social fabric, while [confronting] the spectator with the necessity and the difficulty to become more true to one’s subject.”
One will not contest that Daihachi Yoshida has a preference for adapting novels or manga’s to the silver screen. His first full-length feature, which immediately marked his international breakthrough, Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers! (2007), was an adaptation of a novel byYukiko Motoya. And his next movie, The Wonderful World of Captain Kuhio (2009), was an adaptation of Kazumasa Yoshida’s biographical novel. The Kirishima Thing (2012)is not different in this respect and is based on a novel that Ryo Asai wrote while he was still a student at Waseda University.
“An exquisite and highly entertaining marriage between Bloodthirsty Butchers’ punk music and Gakuryu Ishii’s crude and highly mobile cinematography (…) [that] touchingly [touches] upon a very delicate matter: the necessity of a symbolic place.”
Let’s kick off the new year with some punk-cinema! While Gakuryu ‘Sogo’ Ishii, the godfather of punk-cinema, did create some narratives, like Bitter Honey (2016), Isn’t Anyone Alive? (2012) and Labyrinth of Dreams (1997), that ventured in unexplored cinematographical territories, he returns to his punk roots with That’s it (2005). Luckily, this return is not a rehash of those narratives, like Burst City (1982), that made him so famous, but a reinvention of himself as punk director.