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Feature Four Frames

Youth in crisis: Akihiko Shiota’s Harmful Insect

White feathers falling from the ceiling like snowflakes, the camera revealing a heap of them on the furniture and, after a lateral movement, a woman who starts cutting her wrist with a small knife – this is the opening sequence of Harmful Insect (Gaichu, Japan, 2002). Filmed in total silence, the sequence combines lyricism and […]

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Feature Four Frames

Desire and Moral Boundaries: Keisuke Kinoshita’s Wedding Ring

In Keisuke Kinoshita’s Wedding Ring (Konyaku yubiwa, Japan, 1950), Noriko Kuki (Kinuyo Tanaka) finds herself on the threshold of adultery when she falls in love with the young medical intern Ema (Toshiro Mifune), who has been assigned to her husband Michio (Jukichi Uno), suffering from tuberculosis. The first encounter between Noriko and Ema takes place […]

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Feature Four Frames

Heat as a psychological and aesthetic motif: Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog

Right from his directorial debut Sanshiro Sugata (Sugata Sanshiro, 1943), climate phenomena played an essential role in the films of Akira Kurosawa. In Sanshiro Sugata, for example, it is the wind blowing through the pampas grass, reinforcing the tension in the climactic fight scene between Sanshiro and his rival Higaki. In Kurosawa’s films, human drama […]

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Feature Four Frames

A Late Awakening: Isshin Inudo’s Across a Gold Prairie

One morning, 80-year-old Ayumu Nippori wakes up believing he is 20 years old. Seemingly disoriented, he walks around his house, calling for his mother. Two clearly very old black-and-white photographs of Nippori’s parents on a chest of drawers that are visible briefly in one of the shots are a first clue that something is wrong. […]

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Feature Four Frames

Relationships Between Humans and Nature in The Land of Hope

Shot a few months after the triple disaster that hit Japan’s Eastern Pacific Coast in March 2011 – an earthquake followed by a tsunami and core meltdowns in three reactors at the nuclear power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture – Sion Sono’s The Land of Hope (Kibo no kuni, Japan, 2012) addresses a great variety […]

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Feature

On Seeing and Being Overlooked: Clint Eastwood and the Academy Awards

Twenty-two years after his directorial debut Play Misty for Me (1971), Clint Eastwood was for the first time nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the category Best Director, and for the first time one of his films was nominated for Best Picture. His Western Unforgiven (1992) won both awards, and […]

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Feature

Playing with Genre Devices: Hideo Gosha’s Three Outlaw Samurai

Continuing In our new article series, in which writers select and discuss great director debuts to explore the possible origins of recurring themes or stylistic approaches, that often help to define the uniqueness of these one-of-a-kind filmmakers.

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Director Debut Feature

Becoming Akira Kurosawa: Sanshiro Sugata

In a new article series, writers select and discuss great director debuts to explore the possible origins of recurring themes or stylistic approaches that often help to define the uniqueness of these one-of-a-kind filmmakers.

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Feature News

Take 3: Andrea Grunert’s Favourite Films of 2021

Some of The Big Picture’s regular contributors share their choices for the best films of 2021. Part 1. Annette (dir. Leos Carax)The tone of this film is set in the opening sequence, with shots of director Leos Carax and the Mael brothers, Ron and Russell, who wrote the film score. Annette is a highly self-reflexive […]