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The Fencing Master (1962)

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Knowing that The Fencing Master was written by the great Akira Kurosawa probably does the film few favours in the mind of the viewer. The mere mention of the Kurosawa name immediately raises expectations, but how many films can even come close to the standard set by his many masterpieces? As such, it is probably best to forget about Kurosawa’s involvement when viewing The Fencing Master, and just enjoy the film for what it is – a solid period … (read more)

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Chikamatsu’s ‘Love in Osaka’ (1959)

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Tomu Uchida’s Chikamatsu’s ‘Love in Osaka’. Strange way to name a movie, right? Well, it is named that way for a much better reason than Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, I promise.

What we have here is essentially a standard romantic melodrama (see synopsis), but with a delightfully twisted streak of narrative artifice. To put it simply, the movie is dominated by a supporting character, Chikamatsu, named after the writer of the play upon which the movie … (read more)

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Equinox Flower (1958)

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The first colour piece by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, Equinox Flower is a flawless movie: funny, charming, and gently moving. It is built around one of the oldest stories in the book: “father disapproves of daughter’s fiancé”, and as trite as such a story may sound these days, this is probably the most deeply felt and well observed version of it ever made. At the centre of the film’s success is its uniformly wonderful cast, with every performance pitched perfectly … (read more)

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