To Mifune Rikiya 11 June 2021, 6.30 p.m. – the opening of a small retrospective of ten films dedicated to the great Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune at the Japanese Cultural Institute in Cologne, Germany. It may not look like a big event, but for me it is the culmination of a long and highly emotional […]
“It is sad to be a woman,” says the protagonist Ogin (Ineko Arima) in Kinuyo Tanaka’s Love Under the Crucifix (Ogin-sama, Japan, 1962) while watching a woman on her way to the execution site. The woman has refused to be the concubine of Hideyoshi, Japan’s ruler in the late sixteenth century, which is the historical […]
The recent discovery of Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron (Kumokiri Nizaemon, 1978), a film that I had never seen before, has added a new work to my stock of movies for my research on Japanese film in general and on Gosha’s oeuvre in particular. Not as well known as Goyokin (1969) or Hitokiri (1969), Bandits vs. […]
A beach at the seaside is the main location in Masahiro Kobayashi’s Lear on the Shore (Umibe no Ria, 2017) and the key setting for a number of dramatic encounters. The former actor Chokitsu Kuwabatake (Tatsuya Nakadai), dressed in pyjamas and a long woollen coat and pulling a suitcase behind him, walks along the beach […]
An angry-looking man hastily leaves a shabby house in the middle of nowhere, repeatedly throwing his walking stick to the floor. Each time, a young woman picks it up. The man is Tadao, the elderly protagonist of Haru’s Journey, played by the great Tatsuya Nakadai. The woman is Haru, his grand-daughter, sublimely interpreted by Eri Tokunaga. […]
I began 2016 by watching a lot of Masaki Kobayashi. It was a year that year marked both the centenary of his birth, and the 20th anniversary of his death. My aim was to deepen my knowledge of his work, and to pay homage to a filmmaker I greatly admire by writing articles in which […]
Easy Tavern is an infamous inn on the edge of town, in the wetlands of the Fukagawa. The inn’s regulars are petty crooks and smugglers. Sadashichi, one of the smugglers, not only looks dangerous: he demonstrates his ferocity by killing a police officer. Yet it’s clear from the beginning that the director’s sympathies lie with […]
Kobayashi’s vitriolic portrayal of a society dominated by crime and corruption.
Odd Obsession is a film about ageing, manipulation and sexual games.