Tag Archives: Japan

Tony Takitani – 2004 – Jun Ichikawa

Beauty and materialism are weaved together with tragic consequences in this artful adaptation of a Murakami Haruki short story. This is one of, if not the best, adaptations I have seen; tinged with the universal elements in Murakami’s writing – sadness, yearning, loneliness, strangeness, music, love and despair. JJ


Zatoichi – 2003 – Takeshi Kitano


Tale of swordsmanship presenting an aesthetic shamelessly plundered by Tarantino for his Kill Bill films. Bizarrely, after much sword-wielding and slaying, Zatoichi’s staggering narrative closes with a merry tap-dancing choreography, which ought to number among the best dance episodes in film ever.

Sabine Wolf

The Manual – 2003 – Osamu Fukutani

suicidemanualpic1-1.jpgIn 1993 The Complete Manual of Suicide was published in Japan, selling more than one million copies – in 2006 there were 30,000 reported suicides in the country. The Manual, a dramatic interpretation based somewhat on the book, fails to exploit its sensational subject matter. Lacks ambition, originality and focus. JJ

After Life – 1998 – Hirokazu Koreeda

25m.jpgWhen you die what do you want on the ‘otherside’? A ‘company’ works with the deceased to crystalize one chosen memory to last an eternity. The first kiss, the birth of a child, the first raindrop after a prison sentence. Shot like a documentary, this Japanese masterpiece is intimately woven.

William Hilderbrandt

Spirited Away – 2001 – Hayao Miyazaki

22m.jpgA film from Japan’s most famous animation director. Miyazaki’s affluent imagination produced this fantastic world, with lots of weird, scary, funny, and cute characters throughout the film. If you’ve seen this film before, I believe you still remember Yubaba. She is unforgettable!!!

Does Your Soul Have a Cold? – 2007 – Mike Mills

soul_poster.jpgThe allure of Japan, especially Tokyo, has a magnetic appeal to moviemakers. Mike Mills’ documentary – the title is from an ad promoting anti-depressants – about five Japanese individuals suffering from depression is uneven and difficult to engage with. The camera work and subtitling are sloppy and the project lacks direction. JJ