NIPPON NOIR: I AM WAITING (1957)

In recent years I’ve seen a critical push to apply familiar terms like Film Noir to all manner of Japanese crime films made during the 1950s and 1960s. The term has even been applied to the culturally specific Sun Tribe films (please see my previous post that discusses Sun Tribe films) as well as Pink Films of an adult nature and the more experimental and … Continue reading NIPPON NOIR: I AM WAITING (1957)

Everyone’s Gone Crazy: VIOLENT COP (1989)

“Beat” Takeshi Kitano has been making headlines recently. Late last year the 70-year-old Japanese filmmaker, actor, author and entertainer was awarded France’s coveted Legion of Honor for his contribution to contemporary arts while film retrospectives in New York and Rio de Janeiro, along with a spate of fresh Blu-ray releases from Film Movement and Third Window Films, have spawned renewed interest in his work. Kitano … Continue reading Everyone’s Gone Crazy: VIOLENT COP (1989)

GUN AND SWORD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAPANESE GANGSTER FILMS 1955-1980

I first became familiar with Chris D.’s (Dejardins) writing in the early 1990s thanks to his work for a small-press magazine (or zine) called Asian Trash Cinema. At the time I was utterly obsessed with Japanese pop culture and history and for a 10 year period roughly between 1991-2001 I spent many of my weekends in San Francisco’s Japantown where I’d rent movies and anime … Continue reading GUN AND SWORD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAPANESE GANGSTER FILMS 1955-1980

ART MEETS ARTIFICE IN SHOHEI IMAMURA’S A MAN VANISHES (1967)

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” – William Shakespeare (from As you Like It) “I’d like to destroy this premise that cinema is fiction.” – Shohei Imamura The fuzzy line that separates fiction from reality has become increasingly blurred in recent years. Reality … Continue reading ART MEETS ARTIFICE IN SHOHEI IMAMURA’S A MAN VANISHES (1967)

“Just Shut Up and Watch!” – Remembering Seijun Suzuki (1923-2017)

On February 13, 2017 we lost Seijun Suzuki. The Japanese director, screenwriter, actor and producer was 93-years-old at the time of his death and a titan in my own cinematic universe but I haven’t had the opportunity to properly mourn his passing. Today (May 24th) marks what would have been his 94th birthday so I thought I would devote some time to discussing the life … Continue reading “Just Shut Up and Watch!” – Remembering Seijun Suzuki (1923-2017)

WHEN INSECTS ATTACK: GENOCIDE (1968)

Springtime has arrived in California and do you know what that means? BUGS! During the past week I’ve battled a couple of spiders in my kitchen, wrangled with a beetle that invaded my bathroom and took up arms against a small army of moths raiding my closet. These creepy critters seem to be everywhere so it seemed like a good time to revisit one of … Continue reading WHEN INSECTS ATTACK: GENOCIDE (1968)

Celebrating Asian Film Artists

May is Asian Heritage Month or to be more exact, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To celebrate I decided to collect links to some of the Asian films, filmmakers and actors that I’ve written about. I’m particularly fond of Japanese cinema so my writing reflects this but I’ve also written about Hong Kong and Bollywood films as well. This is a master list … Continue reading Celebrating Asian Film Artists

TOKYO GONE GAGAGA: OTAKU (1994)

Otaku: In Japan a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills. (definition from The Oxford Dictionary) Otaku: Obsessed fan; geek; nerd. Not restricted to anime fans, otaku is a general and relatively insulting word used to describe people obsessed with some particular hobby. (definition from AnimeWorld.com) I’ve never referred to myself as … Continue reading TOKYO GONE GAGAGA: OTAKU (1994)

Jewel Thieves & Giant Monsters: DOGORA (1964)

After reading and writing about Peter H. Brothers’ book Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda recently I was motivated to watch Dogora (1964), which is one of Honda’s lesser-known films and one that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see yet. I’m not sure how I managed to overlook this little gem involving a giant jellyfish from outer space with … Continue reading Jewel Thieves & Giant Monsters: DOGORA (1964)

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda

For the past week the Bay Area has played host to a Godzillathon taking place at Viz Cinema in San Francisco’s Japan Town. This Godzilla film festival started on May 5th and ends tonight on May 13th with a showing of Yoshimitsu Banno’s film Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). The Godzillathon coincided with what would have been film director and writer Ishiro Honda’s 99th birthday on May … Continue reading Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda