Mount Hakkoda / Hakkodasan (1977)

Mount Hakkoda in winter is one of the worst places to be on Japan’s main island, but in 1902, the Japanese army tried to cross it, leading to the most disastrous non-combat mission in Japanese history. Hakkodasan is a dramatic reconstruction of that mission, held together by the supposed friendship of the two captains placed … Continue reading Mount Hakkoda / Hakkodasan (1977)

The Incident / Jiken (1978)

The Incident, as it is continually referred to, is the killing of a young woman whose body was found in the woods several days after her death. Although based on an award-winning mystery novel by Shohei Ooka, there isn’t much apparent mystery. Hiroshi is soon arrested and at his arraignment in court admits he killed … Continue reading The Incident / Jiken (1978)

Ballad of Orin / Banished Orin / Hanare goze Orin (1977)

Shinoda’s Ballad of Orin is a visually beautiful reconstruction of a vanished way of life in rural Japan, told through the story of a traveling singer Orin and of Tsurukawa, the man who becomes her companion and true love. This places us solidly in Mizoguchi territory with a heroine with a thwarted romance trapped by … Continue reading Ballad of Orin / Banished Orin / Hanare goze Orin (1977)

Village of Eight Gravestones / Yatsuhaka-mura (1977)

The detective Kindaichi movie revival begun by Ichikawa’s Inugami Family was quickly followed up by movies at several other studios, the most popular of which was Shochiku’s Village of Eight Gravestones. Tatsuya is called to a lawyer’s office where he is grilled to determine his true identity and then meets his long lost grandfather (on … Continue reading Village of Eight Gravestones / Yatsuhaka-mura (1977)

Manhunt / Dangerous Chase / Kimi yo fundo no kawa wo watare (1976)

The man who is wrongly accused of a crime and sets out to find the real criminal has been a common plot in Euro/American movies almost since the beginning of film history, where the police were commonly portrayed as incompetent, corrupt, or both. Japan, with its great social respect for order, has seen the story … Continue reading Manhunt / Dangerous Chase / Kimi yo fundo no kawa wo watare (1976)