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Japanese Cinema

This category contains 70 posts

Your Name (Japan 2016)

This new anime by director Shinkai Makoto has prompted comparisons with the great successes of Studio Ghibli and specifically with the work of Miyazaki Hayao. It isn’t difficult to understand the comparisons. The narrative deals with adolescents, both of whom have the potential for heroism. Mitsuha lives in a small town in the mountains but … Continue reading

Sweet Bean (An, Japan-France-Germany 2015)

For reasons I don’t fully understand, the Japanese director Naomi Kawase divides film critics and audiences. A regular presence at Cannes, her films have until recently been seen only at festivals in much of the English-speaking world. It wasn’t until Still the Water from 2014 that she achieved a UK release. Despite all her international … Continue reading

Only Yesterday (Omoide Poro Poro, Japan 1991)

This is one of the Studio Ghibli anime that despite huge popularity in Japan seems to have been sidelined in UK and US distribution. I wasn’t aware of the film when it appeared in Film 4’s Ghibli season earlier this year. Most of the films in the season were dubbed but this one, playing very … Continue reading

Rurôni Kenshin (Japan 2012)

Rurôni Kenshin is that rare beast, a contemporary popular Japanese film that received a UK release in 2013. A famous manga series in Japan in the 1990s which became a popular TV anime series, the live action film was produced by Warner Bros. for a local release in Japan where it opened at No. 1. A year … Continue reading

A Hen in the Wind (Kaze no naka no mendori, Japan 1948)

This is the ‘makeweight’ title in the BFI’s double package of Blu-ray/DVD versions of An Autumn Afternoon, the last film by Ozu Yasujiro in 1962. Jonathan Rosenbaum’s essay included in the package makes clear that A Hen in the Wind has been neglected by many critics and considered one of Ozu’s minor works. Ozu himself is … Continue reading

Like Father, Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru, Japan 2013)

  (These notes were written for an Evening Class titled ‘All in the Family’ and covering ‘family dramas’ of different kinds, held at the National Media Museum in 2013) Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and on its release in Japan became an instant hit with Japanese audiences, opening at … Continue reading

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