Blog Archives

Snow on the Blades (2014)

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Snow on the Blades is a contemplative, elegant drama set at the end of Japan’s feudal era, spanning the decline of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1860s and the dawning of the Meiji period thereafter.

The story follows one Shimura Kingo (Kiichi Nakai), a young man whose family are samurai in service to Ii Naosuke, chief minister to the Shogun. A master swordsman, he has recently married and has been elevated to the position of chief bodyguard to the minister, … (read more)

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Zero Focus (2009)

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If I were to make a film about my life right now, ‘Zero Focus’ would be a most appropriate title. But no, the Japanese film Zero Focus is not about some dude who is overworked, underpaid, struggling to juggle multiple commitments, while trying to watch as many good films as possible, all resulting in chronic sleep deprivation and therefore a pathologically shortened attention span. Instead, it is a suspense mystery drama.

The main character is Teiko (Ryoko Hirosue), a newly … (read more)

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Goemon (2009)

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Over the past few years, the Japanese Film Festival has emerged as one of the best film festivals for Asian film lovers across Australia. Goemon was the fifth and last film that I saw at the 2009 Festival, and I continued to be impressed by the variety and quality of films showcased. Many of you would have read my short reviews of some of those films, and here I want to share with you my thoughts on Goemon.

Goemon … (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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Love Collage aka Collage of Our Lives (2003)

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Love Collage, otherwise known as Collage of Our Lives, is a surprising film in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s the title. One would expect something exceedingly sappy and romantic from a movie called Love Collage, where attractive, full-of-potential boy meets attractive, out-of reach girl, moons over her for a while until she finally realises how wonderful he really is, and they live happily ever after.

But actually, that’s what Love Collage isn’t; a love story. Rather … (read more)

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Wasabi (2001)

Another well-named film, because this one will clear your sinuses and melt your nostril hair before you know it. Jean Reno plays Hubert, a cop who just won’t stop, and does so with an aplomb that only he can manage. Other cast members manage to convey their roles and not fall over their feet, but for all we care they could paint themselves blue and skate naked along the bullet train, and our eyes would still be on Reno.

Scenes … (read more)

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