You only have to do a little digging to come to the understanding that the origins and history of the yakuza aren’t necessarily written in stone. Sources conflict about how they began – as ronin or samurai family retainers, or special police formed to fight organised crime – but most sources can agree that regardless of where they started, their main characteristics involved crime, violence, and their own specific set of codes and rules.
Blood of Wolves maintains this essence … (read more)
You can call Hirokazu Kore-eda a lot of things: pretentious, navel-gazing, somnolent, repetitive, poetical and astute is just a handful. “Genre master” is most definitely not among them. Regardless of this minor hurdle, Kore-eda dips his toes into Lumet territory for his latest, The Third Murder. Even if you can conjure a marriage between Kore-eda’s signature deliberate, piercing, languid aesthetic and the conventional beats demanded of a murder mystery you wouldn’t be able to entirely capture the essence of … (read more)
Familial duty and responsibility to one’s parents makes Chronicle of My Mother a film that will resonate with Asian audiences far more than for the rest of us. And yes, the title is going to make most people think they’re about to see a Japanese version of Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother, but the two films have little in common other than the titular parental unit. In Harada Masato’s (Inugami) lyrical and poetic meditation on family, … (read more)
Movies about mountain climbing are usually epic tales of human survival, and The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones is another fine example of this genre. We live in an era when every peak of every mountain has been conquered, but it is not uncommon for even today’s mountain climbers to run into trouble during their expeditions, despite having available to them sophisticated equipment, greater understanding about the human body’s functioning at high altitudes, and knowledge passed on by previous generations … (read more)
Once a successful businessman, Yosuke is now unemployed and penniless. Taro, a friend, tells him about a golden Buddha he hid in an old wooden house overlooking a red bridge on the Noto Peninsula of the Japan Sea. After Taro dies, Yosuke heads off in the hope of finding the treasure and turning his life around, and meets a beautiful woman named Saeko who lives in an old wooden house, just as Taro described. Saeko confides in him that she … (read more)