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Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t (1992)

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I like sports movies, and I love Japanese sports movies. They are often touching, usually inspiring, and almost always entertaining. Sumo Do Sumo Don’t was one of the first sports movies that I have ever seen, and what a fine example of the genre it still is. I have had the joy of seeing this film again with its release on DVD in Australia, and here are my thoughts some 15 years on from the time I first saw it … (read more)

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Departures (Okuribito) (2008)

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Every human culture has its own death ritual, and if most of us thought about it much, we probably never considered how something common to every human on the planet can be regarded so differently. Because death, as equalising as it is, is a very personal thing. It’s difficult to understand someone else’s grief, difficult to face it in others and difficult to deal with it within one’s self. So, for a film to treat the topic of death, grief … (read more)

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The Bird People in China (1998)

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I’d like to be able to start this review off by saying that, on the surface at least, The Bird People in China is a bit like a road movie, Miike-style. Unfortunately that would be somewhat less than true because, actually, it’s a little more like a road movie Kitano-style. Takashi Miike – best known for films both creepy and extreme – turns his hand to a subject a little more intimate than blood and guts; heart and soul, … (read more)

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