Wuthering Heights / Arashi ga oka (1988)

On its surface the least likely European novel for a Japanese adaptation, Wuthering Heights is transformed by Yoshihige Yoshida, Toru Takemitsu, and a towering characterization by Yusaku Matsuda into one of the finest unknown Japanese movies ever made and certainly the best film adaptation of the novel itself I have ever seen. A blind biwa … Continue reading Wuthering Heights / Arashi ga oka (1988)

Living Koheiji / Koheiji is Alive / Kaidan: Ikiteiru Koheiji (1982)

After more than a decade of silence, Nobuo Nakagawa, the Grand Old Man of Japanese horror movies, re-surfaced in 1982 at ATG. The result, The Living Koheiji, is a cryptic and hypnotic ghost story that is short on shock value but full of visual, verbal, and character complexity far more fascinating than his more famous … Continue reading Living Koheiji / Koheiji is Alive / Kaidan: Ikiteiru Koheiji (1982)

Double Suicide at Sonezaki / Sonezaki shinju (1978)

The love suicide has permeated Japanese popular culture, almost as significant a subject as seppuku itself.* Chikamatsu’s Double Suicide at Sonezaki was one of the major drivers in the subject's popularity, as it was the first play (initially for bunraku then later Kabuki) in which both lovers were commoners. Given its immense popularity on stage … Continue reading Double Suicide at Sonezaki / Sonezaki shinju (1978)

Double Suicide / Shinju: Ten no Amijima (1969)

One of the simplest yet one of the most complex of Japanese movies, Shinoda’s Double Suicide adapts Ten no Amijima, one of the most popular of Chikamatsu’s domestic suicide plays, to film. Unlike Mizoguchi’s adaptation of a different love suicide play, however, Shinoda theatricalizes the film medium without ever suggesting he is filming a stage … Continue reading Double Suicide / Shinju: Ten no Amijima (1969)