“A magnificent and unforgettable encounter with Yonosuke and with the importance of the encounter and the worth of being subject this experience underlines.”
While Shuichi Okita’s cinematographical oeuvre is not large in any way, his narratives, often about quirky and somewhat eccentric men [e.g. The Chef of the South Polar (2009) and The Woodsman and the Rain (2012)], have time and time again proved to charm audiences – and to earn some awards along the way.
“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.
“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.
“The likeability of Gou Ayano as Tatsuhiko and surprisingly dense narrative makes sure that Shinjuku Swan is better than your average manga-adaptation”
With Shinjuku swan, an adaptation of Ken Wakui’s Manga series, Sion Sono presents one of his most commercial narrative to date. While Sion Sono has already ventured in translating manga to the silver screen – with his comically perverted eiga minna esupa da yo! (2015) and his bloody and gruesome Tag (2015), this narrative is one of the more mainstream movies he has made up until now.
“Another masterpiece of Shunji Iwai (…) revealing how the reliance and the importance on the imaginary deconstructs genuine human connection but also forms the necessity to be able to form any social bond whatsoever.”
Shunji Iwai is nothing other than a legendary director. Having made narratives like Love Letter (1995) and All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001), he has made a name for himself as a director that investigates how subjects, who find themselves seemingly cut off from society and the social bond, still find a way, even if understanding each other is difficult or near impossible, to find a place in society.
“The light shines only there shows powerfully the difficulty as well as the power that is to be found in human relations and underlines, that, in fact, the light shines only there”
Despite having only directed four cinematographical products – Sakai-ke no shiawase (2006) being her first, and a segment in Quirky Guys and Gals(2011), The Light Shines Only There (2014), her third full-length feature, cemented Mipo O’s reputation as one of the most promising directors in Japan. Reason enough for Psycho-cinematography to review this narrative closely from a psychoanalytic perspective and see whether The Light Shines Only There (2014) truly deserves all the recognition it has received.