Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Antithesis of Hollywood - Japanese films that will leave a lasting impact on you.

Japanese cinematic history spans more than 100 years which puts it at one of the longest in the world.  There are so many great Japanese films out there that are just not on people's radar here in the West.  This is my brief must see list of Japanese films.  If you're wandering your local movie store, not that they exist or people do that anymore, but if for some reason you come across one of these films and have the opportunity to see them, grab your popcorn and get ready for a life changing moment.  The following films are not necessarily just mere "favourites" of mine, but are films that I came away with saying to myself shit life is way more great and more complicated than we all convince ourselves of going through our day to day lives.  So take pause and give one of these films a chance, you won't be disappointed, and if you are, be curious to know why.

Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa- 1952

A film that examines the struggles of a Tokyo bureaucrat and his final quest for meaning.

Human Condition by Masaki Kobayashi - 1959

This is a mammoth drama, released in three parts and total nine and half hours. 
Yep, you'll need lots of popcorn for this one.  Hits on basic moral questions of compassion, suffering, and the difficulties of being able to do the ethical/moral thing when existing in an amoral system.  This film will put you through the wringer.
(Click Here - Movie Trailer)

Mishima by Paul Shrader - 1985

A collagelike portrait of acclaimed Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima.  
Supposedly so controversial it has yet to have any commercial release in Japan.  
Includes an amazing musical score by Philip Glass.

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On by Kazuo Hara - 1987

An award-winning documentary that centers on 62-year-old veteran of Japan's Second World War campaign in New Guinea, Kenzo Okuzaki, and follows him around as he searches out those responsible for the unexplained deaths of two soldiers in his old unit.

Love Exposure by Sion Sono - 2008

A four hour movie involving teenage crushes, Christianity, upskirt photos, double identities, shady cults and perversion - yep it's a roller coaster of a film.  The movie covers a range of themes, stories, and just general craziness - basically a big critique on organized religion and false constructs people create in trying to live a life of spiritual purpose.

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