In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) “Transgressing the Taboo”

  The concept of “obscenity” is tested when we dare to look at something that we desire to see but have forbidden ourselves to look at. When we feel that everything has been revealed, “obscenity” disappears and there is a certain liberation. When that which one had wanted to see isn’t sufficiently revealed, however, the … Continue reading In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) “Transgressing the Taboo”

Tokyo Godfathers (Satoshi Kon, 2003) “Reunions on Christmas Eve”

Satoshi Kon's wonderful anime depicts the Christmas Eve of three homeless bums (self-proclaimed) who listen to a public sermon and watch a play celebrating the birth of Christ, so they can eat afterwards. One of them, Gin, says: “Joy to the world, food has come”. Soon, they find a baby in the trash, and the … Continue reading Tokyo Godfathers (Satoshi Kon, 2003) “Reunions on Christmas Eve”

5 Japanese Movies Filmed in the Spirit of Junichirō Tanizaki’s Beautiful Essay “In Praise of Shadows”

In a 1951 letter to his editor, while explaining his Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien writes: “As far as all this has symbolical or allegorical significance, Light is such a primeval symbol in the nature of the Universe, that it can hardly be analysed. The Light of Valinor (derived from light before any fall) is the light … Continue reading 5 Japanese Movies Filmed in the Spirit of Junichirō Tanizaki’s Beautiful Essay “In Praise of Shadows”

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) “Destruction as the Cause of Becoming”

I found Akira, a landmark animated film which introduced the Japanese animated films to the Western audience, to be an eclectic mess. During the first and even the second watching of the film it seemed that way. Later, as I managed to put the pieces together (and some parts of the film are fragments of … Continue reading Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) “Destruction as the Cause of Becoming”

Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon, 1997) “I Am Who I Am!”

Satoshi Kon is arguably, alongside Hayao Miyazaki, the most important Japanese director of animated films. Perfect Blue is his first film and this directorial debut can be compared to David Lynch’s Eraserhead due to sheer boldness and far-reaching artistic vision. The film begins with a show staged for children featuring a Japanese version of Power … Continue reading Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon, 1997) “I Am Who I Am!”

Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) “Revolutionary in Buddhist Robes”

Kenji Mizoguchi's Sanshô dayû is based on a folk tale taking place in the Heian period; Chinese and Buddhist influence, as well as the one of the Imperial power were at their summit. Mizoguchi is one of the greatest Japanese directors who created during the period of Japanese cinema which may very well be called its … Continue reading Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) “Revolutionary in Buddhist Robes”

Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) “Bloody Code”

Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri belongs to the jidaigeki genre (period piece). It follows the period shortly after the battle at Sekigahara and the establishemnt of the Tokugawa shogunate (1630). The film begins with a short exposition by the official of House Iyi, who talks about the everyday life of the samurai warlord. It is a perspective … Continue reading Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) “Bloody Code”