Buddies / A un (1989)

Sometimes it seems as if the more Japanese movies look and sound like Euro/American movies, the less comprehensible they become. Such, at least, is the case of Buddies, which in Yasuo Furuhata's best studio polished mainstream manner shows roughly nine months during 1937 in the relationship of two old friends, yet somehow all the key … Continue reading Buddies / A un (1989)

Spirit of Tattoo / Irezumi: Sekka tomuraizashi (1982)

Unrelated to the earlier Irezumi, Takabayashi’s Spirit of Tattoo is as its title suggests a meditation on the tattoo as both an art and a mystical experience. The situation is simple: Akane, now in her thirties, is the secretary and apparently long-time lover of Fujieda, a forty-ish librarian with a fetish about tattoos and women’s … Continue reading Spirit of Tattoo / Irezumi: Sekka tomuraizashi (1982)

Bullet Train / Shinkansen daibakuha (1975)

The “foreign” movies that attract critical attention or some popular following in America are almost always the movies that actually seem most “foreign” to us. This is especially true with Japanese movies where almost everything about the society and its history seemed utterly alien during the fifties and sixties when the world discovered Japanese cinema. … Continue reading Bullet Train / Shinkansen daibakuha (1975)