Based on a centuries-old traditional Japanese fairy tale, a country couple finds a baby girl in some bamboo and raises her as their own daughter. Not the same as the original tale, though, ... See full summary »
In a remake of a well-known Japanese mystery, a man in Kobe does not have a family. He receives a visitor who is a researcher one day who has noticed that the man has a well-off family in ... See full summary »
Yu Ji Chin Ye
Yukinojo, a Kabuki actor, seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of Yukinojo's targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill Yukinojo.
There is a shooting at a small bookstore in town. When the police arrive they find three victims two of whom have already died. One of the dead uttered something strange before dying. The ... See full summary »
Kinuyo Tanaka was not only one of Japan's greatest actresses during the first half or so of the 20th century, but one of the world's greatest, starring in important films by Ozu, Naruse and Mizoguchi (among others) Kon Ichikawa's "Eiga joyu" ("Movie actress") (1987) is basically a cheesy docu-drama made to "honor" the tenth anniversary of her death. Despite more than decent acting talent -- including a near-dead-ringer for Mizoguchi -- the largely leaden dialog, pedestrian cinematography and unbelievably wretched soundtrack dragged this down. Kaneto Shindo, director of a peculiar documentary of Mizoguchi that spent a lot of time trying to harrass the (unflappable) Kinuyo Tanaka, seems to have been involved as writer here -- so I'd like to blame him for this fiasco -- but I'm afraid that the buck needs to stop with Ichikawa.
Despite all the above, there are some nice things to note. The film starts off wonderfully with a scene in a early 20th C. film lab (I'm guessing that this features Tanaka's oldest brother -- who is only talked about afterwards as a draft evader). The film also contains chunks of many early Japanese films (not all clearly identified in the subtitles, alas) including about a minute of Sadao Yamanaka's "Humanity and Paper Balloons" (judging from this, he was setting out on the path that Kurosawa would later explore -- many feel that Yamanaka was Japan's greatest maker of historical films, despite the fact that he died in his 20s).
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