5 Films Portraying the Fall of 20th-century Empires and Dictatorships

This list deals with two Asian emperors who lost their empire in the course of their lives, the Chinese Emperor Puyi and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, and two totalitarian leades Hitler and Stalin. The first lost his totalitarian empire before he died, while the second died of natural causes and his legacy was swiftly replaced, … Continue reading 5 Films Portraying the Fall of 20th-century Empires and Dictatorships

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”

Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “The Dark Night of the Soul”

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about this very film, “Last Breaths of Christendom in the Land of the Rising Son”, emphasizing the role of the Japanese state (Tokugawa Shogunate) and the Hobbesian reading which implies that the state proscribes the teachings and religions practiced by the populace; in this case the state religion … Continue reading Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “The Dark Night of the Soul”

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”

In Yasujirô Ozu’s Words: “The Change of Seasons”

I tried to show the collapse of the Japanese family system through showing children growing up. Yasujirô Ozu Ozu’s post-war work, during the time when he made his most memorable films, is characterized by the same theme which is presented over and over. In his own words, he presents the “collapse of the Japanese family … Continue reading In Yasujirô Ozu’s Words: “The Change of Seasons”

In Stanley Kubrick’s Words: “3 Most Consistent and Original Contemporary Directors”

I believe Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica, and Federico Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don’t just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over … Continue reading In Stanley Kubrick’s Words: “3 Most Consistent and Original Contemporary Directors”

In Wong Kar-wai’s Words: “Film Genre As A Uniform”

I never had a problem with genre because a genre actually is like a uniform - you put yourself into a certain uniform. But if you dress up in a police officer's uniform, it doesn't mean that you are an officer; it can mean something else. But this is the starting point, and the best … Continue reading In Wong Kar-wai’s Words: “Film Genre As A Uniform”

Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2013) “Nature or Nurture?”

Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son explores the meaning of the proverb in the film's title and whether it can be the justification and the solution to the tragic choice characters in the film are forced to make. Ryota is a workaholic and a successful businessman, hardly spending time with his family; his wife tells him … Continue reading Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2013) “Nature or Nurture?”

Late Spring (Yasujirō Ozu, 1949) “Tears at A Noh Play”

There is a certain sadness that permeates Ozu’s films, of the passing of time and an era; of transience, of a time that will be long gone, but needs to be preserved. This is most particularly true for his so-called “Noriko Trilogy”, which stars Setsuko Hara, Ozu’s muse; Last Spring is a part of the … Continue reading Late Spring (Yasujirō Ozu, 1949) “Tears at A Noh Play”