Flag in the Mist / Kiri no hata (1965)

Flag in the Mist is an engrossing example of a kind of movie we rarely associate with Japanese cinema. Like so many Japanese films, it starts as one thing and then shifts into something else entirely, but in this case, the shift is hard to describe in any detail without some significant spoilers, so I … Continue reading Flag in the Mist / Kiri no hata (1965)

Black Snow / Kuroi yuki (1965)

While the Occupation of Japan officially ended in 1952, in Black Snow Japan is still an occupied country, though it is now 1965. Set just outside Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, the action is perpetually accompanied by the screeching of jets landing and taking off and of military vehicles on the road. And this is … Continue reading Black Snow / Kuroi yuki (1965)

Times of Joy and Sorrow / The Lighthouse / Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki (1957)

The times of joy and sorrow of the title of those of a family of lighthouse keepers from 1932 to 1957. Given the dates, they are necessarily also the times of joy and sorrow for Japan as a whole. With all of that to work with, Kinoshita manages to produce a strikingly undramatic movie that … Continue reading Times of Joy and Sorrow / The Lighthouse / Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki (1957)

Black Lizard / Kurotokage (1964) & Black Rose / Black Rose Mansion / Kuro bara no yakata (1965)

Black Lizard is a fairly disappointing remake of the earlier Black Lizard starring Machiko Kyo. Despite some high-sixties scenery, it has lost all the theatrical flair of the earlier movie, taking the silly plot rather straight. Gone is the whip wielding, the massive underground lair, and the implausible furniture switch. But it does offer one … Continue reading Black Lizard / Kurotokage (1964) & Black Rose / Black Rose Mansion / Kuro bara no yakata (1965)

Stranger Within a Woman / Onna no naka ni iru tanin (1966)

Stranger Within a Woman is something of an outlier for the mid-sixties, for the cast, for the director, and for the industry in general. Based on a 15-year-old French novel that Claude Chabrol would also adapt in the early seventies, it starts as a murder mystery, but the perpetrator soon becomes so obvious that it … Continue reading Stranger Within a Woman / Onna no naka ni iru tanin (1966)