One of the joys of the Japanese Film Festival every year for me is discovering the unexpected gem. Film festivals are of course great for those films that you’ve heard about and been dying to see that will likely never make it to your local cinema, but I always make a point of picking a few random films as well — films that I’ve heard nothing about; often films that I don’t even bother to read the synopsis for. Without … (read more)
Reminiscent of a Shinya Tsukimoto film, where reality is not always quite as stable as one would like, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Real similarly deals with the delineations between reality and fantasy, and subsequently life and death. Mildly creepy, this somnambulistic thriller packs a few small punches but for the most part fails to get its heart rate above resting.
Zatoichi is a legendary blind masseur and sword master, a fictional character who has appeared in numerous Japanese movies and television shows. The original films starred Shintaro Katsu, and many of them have now become classics. In 2003, Takeshi Kitano gave his own interpretation of the character in Zatoichi, a hugely entertaining movie. And now, the Zatoichi legend lives on with Ichi, a ‘re-imagining’ of the Zatoichi tale that features a young swordswoman.
In ancient times, troupes of … (read more)