Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Toki o kakeru shojo (1983)

Having seen the popular anime version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), I was hardly prepared for the surprise of Obayashi’s live-action version of 1983. Though looking like a Suzuki movie in the constant changes of visual approach, it is a gentle and sensitive portrait of the onset of teenaged love, one of … Continue reading Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Toki o kakeru shojo (1983)

MacArthur’s Children / Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984)

Most of the movies made about the Occupation after the Occupation officially ended in 1952 have looked back through the eyes of the yakuza. MacArthur’s Children, however, views the early years of the Occupation through the experience of three fifth-graders on a tiny island in the Inland Sea. It is a view in which the … Continue reading MacArthur’s Children / Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984)

Light Snow* / Makioka Sisters / Sasameyuki (1983)

The traditional Japanese aesthetic has rarely been more purely expressed than in Kon Ichikawa’s Makioka Sisters. I’m tempted to not even write any commentary, but just post screen capture after screen capture. However, it is a traditional aesthetic that is in service to a traditional social order which is in its last moments. No one … Continue reading Light Snow* / Makioka Sisters / Sasameyuki (1983)

Angel Guts: Red Classroom / Tenshi no harawata: Akai kyôshitsu (1979)

One of the most highly regarded pinku films, Angel Guts: Red Classroom takes us into the complex world where exploitation and empathy are difficult to distinguish.* At one level, it is a story of a woman whose life is destroyed by a rape; on another, it is the story of a pornographer who loses his … Continue reading Angel Guts: Red Classroom / Tenshi no harawata: Akai kyôshitsu (1979)