Bloody Passion / Passion / Aka to kuro no netsujo (1992)

Bloody Passion starts at such a fever pitch that when the credits finally arrive, you think someone's mis-copied the reels and you've reached the ending. But it is in fact only the beginning of a very odd yakuza story that concludes with another of Eiichi Kudo's extended battle scenes, this time with pistols rather than … Continue reading Bloody Passion / Passion / Aka to kuro no netsujo (1992)

Detective Story / Tantei monogatari (1983)

Of the number of female teen idols following in Momoe Yamaguchi's footsteps, the most successful was Hiroko Yakushimaru, whose movies not only drew huge audiences but who gradually transitioned into a respected actress, though her screen appearances came less often after her marriage in 1991. Detective Story is one of the major steps in that … Continue reading Detective Story / Tantei monogatari (1983)

Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Toki o kakeru shojo (1983)

Having seen the popular anime version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), I was hardly prepared for the surprise of Obayashi’s live-action version of 1983. Though looking like a Suzuki movie in the constant changes of visual approach, it is a gentle and sensitive portrait of the onset of teenaged love, one of … Continue reading Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Toki o kakeru shojo (1983)

Profound Desires of the Gods / Kamigami no fukaki yokubo (1968)

One of the most persistent themes of Japanese movies since the war has been the collision of “new” and “old” Japan, but rarely has that conflict been more obvious or intense than in Profound Desires of the Gods. However, where most such movies depict  a conflict between Euro/Americanism and the Japan of the Tokugawa & … Continue reading Profound Desires of the Gods / Kamigami no fukaki yokubo (1968)

Velvet Hustler / Like a Shooting Star / Kurenai no nagareboshi (1967)

The Velvet Hustler is Goro (Tetsuya Watari), a young yakuza who neither is a hustler nor wears velvet, but then the Japanese title was really something along the lines of the alternate title, Like a Shooting Star. Goro is first seen whistling as he steals a red convertible, follows a businessman/yakuza, and shoots him before … Continue reading Velvet Hustler / Like a Shooting Star / Kurenai no nagareboshi (1967)