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Maadadayo (1993)

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Here we have a sentimental Kurosawa picture about an elderly teacher who, courtesy of his wise (and somewhat cracking) observations of life and times, has gained the veneration of his doting students. The problem for me with this picture was that I didn’t find my old chap particularly likeable. He seemed to me more an idling opportunist with a high opinion of himself than an erudite poet-philosopher worthy of adoration.

The experience of watching Maadadayo will probably be far more … (read more)

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Daredevil in the Castle (1961)

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In his prolific and much-lauded career, Toshiro Mifune worked with director Hiroshi Inagaki even more often than he did with his more celebrated collaborator Akira Kurosawa — the best-known product of these collaborations is the Miyamoto Musashi trilogy, with Mifune playing the title character. Working for the Toho studio, Inagaki was a very well-respected writer/director during the 1950s and 60s with a bit of a specialisation in period action films: his Musashi films and his version of The 47 Ronin(read more)

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Tokyo Story (1953)

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“These are your grandparents”, Fumiko tells her sons, Isamu and Minoru. Minoru looks about ten years old, and we gather that if he’s ever met his grandparents before, it was so long ago that nobody expects him to remember. Isamu, the younger brother, just runs away from the unfamiliar old couple. This is part of an early scene in Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story. And where better to begin reviewing one of the greatest movies ever made than with a … (read more)

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