Maborosi / Maborosi no hikari (1995)

Maborosi is another of those slow, unresolved, contemplative movies that you can either fall in love with or simply quit watching part way through, frustrated by waiting for something to happen. In fact, a great deal happens but, in a long Japanese film tradition, most of it occurs either off-screen or far away from the … Continue reading Maborosi / Maborosi no hikari (1995)

Tugumi / Tsugumi* (1990)

Tsugumi is a girl who was “born weak” but with a lot of parental care and sacrifice has surprised the local doctor and lived to nineteen. Her closest friend Maria returns to visit her during the summer break from university in Tokyo and in that quiet slow manner so unique to a certain kind of … Continue reading Tugumi / Tsugumi* (1990)

The Bride Talks in Her Sleep / Hanayome no negoto (1933)

Like The Neighbor's Wife and Mine, Gosho's Bride Talks in Her Sleep is designed to show off the new sound technology that Shochiku was slowly introducing as their studio standard. It is also a light-hearted look at student and salaryman life in the early thirties, very much the same feel as Ozu's silent student comedies … Continue reading The Bride Talks in Her Sleep / Hanayome no negoto (1933)

Death of a Tea Master / Sen no Rikyu: Honkakubo ibun (1989)

Among the many mysteries of Japanese culture, the tea ceremony remains arguably the least comprehensible to outsiders. Though similar rituals began in China and continue to be observed in some form in China and Korea, the Japanese seem to have taken it to an extreme, converting the brewing and drinking of a cup of tea … Continue reading Death of a Tea Master / Sen no Rikyu: Honkakubo ibun (1989)

Final Take: The Golden Age of Cinema / Kinema no tenchi (1986)

To the strains of “My Blue Heaven," Yoji Yamada’s Kinema no tenchi takes us back for a nostalgic look at 1933-34 at Shochiku Kamata studio* as Japan is beginning the transition from silent movies to sound. This is no Singing in the Rain, however, for everyone who moves to talkies adjusts easily. Rather, it is … Continue reading Final Take: The Golden Age of Cinema / Kinema no tenchi (1986)