Oil Hell Murder / Onna goroshi abura no jigoku (1992)

In what would sadly be his last movie before his death in 1992, Gosha turned to Chikamatsu for inspiration. Working from the last screenplay of the great Masato Ide, who had died several years before the film went into production, the movie shifted the focus of Chikamatsu's original to a woman who, though the murder … Continue reading Oil Hell Murder / Onna goroshi abura no jigoku (1992)

Roadside Stone / Pebble by the Wayside / Robo no ishi (1938)

The rock left by the side of the road is young Goichi, now approaching the end of fifth grade. Like Takeshi in Childhood Days, he is the smartest boy in his class but is poor and can not afford to go on to middle school. His father is away most of the time, supposedly selling … Continue reading Roadside Stone / Pebble by the Wayside / Robo no ishi (1938)

Empty Table / Family Without a Dinner Table / Shokutaku no nai ie (1985)

In his final movie, Kobayashi uses the Asama-Sanso Incident of 1972 to examine not the collapse of left-wing politics in Japan but rather to explore the effects of them on a family. Once again, he turns to Tatsuya Nakadai as his principal character Kidoji, the father of one of the young men eventually captured by … Continue reading Empty Table / Family Without a Dinner Table / Shokutaku no nai ie (1985)

Pastoral Hide and Seek / Pastoral: To Die in the Country / Den-en ni shisu (1974)

It is not often you will see a movie adapted from a book of poems, but then it is not often you will see a movie like Pastoral Hide and Seek. Surrealism is a term that, like all artistic terms, gets tossed around to mean a lot of things, but this is arguably the most … Continue reading Pastoral Hide and Seek / Pastoral: To Die in the Country / Den-en ni shisu (1974)

Scattered Clouds / Two in the Shadow / Midaregumo (1967)

If we did not have Yoko Tsukasa’s sleek sixties skirts and hairdo, we might easily think Scattered Clouds had been made a decade earlier. Its color looks like fifties Eastmancolor and its bland compositions look like the work of people still trying to master wide-screen. Its omni-present music score by Toru Takemitsu sounds like it … Continue reading Scattered Clouds / Two in the Shadow / Midaregumo (1967)