1750 Days of Turbulence / Gekido no 1750 nichi (1990)

Toei Studios had been the home of the yakuza throughout the sixties and seventies but had been forced by lack of audience interest to abandon their dependence on the genre during the eighties. By 1990, however, the winds seemed to be changing and Toei leaped in again with the massive 1750 Days of Turbulence. As … Continue reading 1750 Days of Turbulence / Gekido no 1750 nichi (1990)

Two Wives / Tsuma futari (1967)

One of the last movies made by Masumura with Ayako Wakao, Two Wives pairs her with Mariko Okada. Born in the same year, gaining their earliest major roles at about the same time, the two were the major faces of the new “women’s picture” that emerged around 1960, but they had never co-starred.* The result … Continue reading Two Wives / Tsuma futari (1967)

Coup d’etat / Martial Law / Kaigenrei (1973)

The coup of 1936 has been the subject of several significant movies. The most straight-forward presentation can be found in Memoirs of Japanese Assassins, with the same coup reflected in the romance of Utage and the teen-age bullies of Fighting Elegy. Yoshida’s Coup d’etat looks at this failed coup through the life of Ikki Kita, … Continue reading Coup d’etat / Martial Law / Kaigenrei (1973)

Scent of Incense / Koge – Ichibu: Waremoko no sho & Koge – Nibu: Mitsumata no sho (1964)

Kinoshita’s last major movie,* at least until 1983's Children of Nagasaki, The Scent of Incense is a domestic epic that spans sixty years in the life of a geisha and her mother. Released in two parts on the same day, the two halves total almost 3½ hours in length and against the background of Japan’s … Continue reading Scent of Incense / Koge – Ichibu: Waremoko no sho & Koge – Nibu: Mitsumata no sho (1964)