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Two Shochiku silent tragicomedies

In his 1974 Ozu Yasuji book, Donald Richie began that Ozu “had but one major subject, the Japanese family, and but one major theme, its dissolution.” Ozu’s prewar films look more at the effects on the family of the hierarchical social structure. 457 more words

Stephen O. Murray

Naruse's last movie

Naruse’s last movie, “Midaregumo” (1967, “Two in the Shadow” in its IMDB listing, “Scattered Clouds” in the Criterion Edition title) show yet another struggling widow, this one, Yumiko (Tsukasa Yoko) going to work as a maid/geisha at the northern (Lake Towada) resort inn inherited by her sister-in-law Katsuko (Mori Mitsuko). 300 more words

Stephen O. Murray

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

Nearly at the end of it (Nakadai’s big scene), I felt that I had seen Naruse’s 1960 “Onna ga kaidan o noboru toki?”/“When a Woman Ascends the Stairs” (to a Ginza bar over which she presides) before. 352 more words

Stephen O. Murray

Naruse's Midareru/Yearning

I know that Naruse Mikio was trying to show the devaluation and exploitation of women in Japanese culture, but sometimes, watching Takamine Hideko absorb negligence or outright nastiness over and over and over in his films, I begin to wonder if he had a sadistic streak rather than sympathy or empathy for the plight of women in postwar Japan. 512 more words

Stephen O. Murray

Naruse's "Floating Clouds"/"Ukigumo"

Though not shown, adultery was clearly going on in “Late Chrysanthemums,” and was even more central to Naruse’s plodding 1955 “Floating Clouds” (Ukigumo) in which Takime Hideko suffers through more than two hours as the would-be/sometimes lover of Tomioka (Mori Masayuki ). 438 more words

Stephen O. Murray

Masaki Kobayashi’s wartime trilogy - HUMAN CONDITION TRILOGY - out on dual format dvd/Blu Ray

THE HUMAN CONDITION TRILOGY (18) 1961 JAPAN KOBAYASHI, MASAKI DUAL FORMAT BLU RAY /DVD £69.99
Wartime trilogy based on Junpei Gomikawa’s novel which followings the journey of pacifist Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai) from naïve labour camp supervisor to Imperial soldier and eventually to Soviet prisoner of war. 152 more words

Japanese Cinema

Meiko Kaji satrs in FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION ou on dvd/Blu Ray

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (18) JAPAN ITO,S/HASEBE, Y £79.99
Collection of Japanese thrillers starring the iconic and beautiful Meiko Kaji in a role that came to define her career, 403 more words

Japanese Cinema