Cruel Ghost Legend / Curse of the Blood / Kaidan zankoku monogatari (1968)

For Japanese movies, YouTube is like the bargain bin at a really great video store, where you can sweep up all kinds of things you never knew existed because they are so cheap. Eventually, you throw most of them out, but among the armful you pick up will be a gem or two. Cruel Ghost … Continue reading Cruel Ghost Legend / Curse of the Blood / Kaidan zankoku monogatari (1968)

The Pornographers (1966)

The Pornographers is a film about pornography without any. While there is plenty of sex as subject matter, it is always screened or off-stage, and there is almost no nudity of any kind. In a way, this is Imamura’s extension of The Insect Woman, now converted into an Insect Man, trying to make a living … Continue reading The Pornographers (1966)

Cave of the Vampire Bats / Hatamoto taikutsu otoko: Nazo no nanairo goten (1961)

Utaemon Ichikawa began his Bored Hatamoto series in 1930, so it is the longest running of all the Japanese film series featuring a single actor, lasting longer than Zatoichi or Tora-San, though Tora-san had more films and, counting the TV series, Shintaro Katsu played Zatoichi in more individual titles. Thus, it provides us with the … Continue reading Cave of the Vampire Bats / Hatamoto taikutsu otoko: Nazo no nanairo goten (1961)

Love for an Idiot / Love of a Friend / Chijin no ai (1967)

When Tanizaki began publishing Chijin no ai in 1924, it became a sensation that was something like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. Though its “modern girl” Naomi was not a ‘flapper' in the American sense, the depiction of her western ways and sexual freedom both scandalized and titillated readers. Though the story seems … Continue reading Love for an Idiot / Love of a Friend / Chijin no ai (1967)