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)

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

Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

“Without people, a forest of cherries in full bloom is not pretty, just something to be afraid of.” – Ango Sakaguchi Although typically described as a horror film, Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) defies simple categorization. This grisly adult fairy tale is a strange amalgam of traditional Japanese theater, folktales, ghost stories, social commentary, antiwar sentiment, dark humor and existential philosophy based on a story … Continue reading Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

Plucking the Petals of Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower (1964)

  “Tokyo… After three long years. It makes my head spin. Just look at it. Why so many people crammed into tiny cage-like boxes? People… Such strange animals. What keeps them all going? They look like they’re half dead. Making a frantic pretense of being alive. What was so wrong about killing one of these stupid animals? I served three years… This is my territory… … Continue reading Plucking the Petals of Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower (1964)

Survival Instincts: THE INSECT WOMAN (1963)

THE INSECT WOMAN (’63) is not easy viewing. Shôhei Imamura’s film recounts the hard-fought life of Tome (Sachiko Hidari), a fatherless peasant woman born into abject poverty in rural Japan. Beginning with her birth in 1918 and concluding sometime after WWII, the film takes place over three turbulent decades in which Tome faces sexual abuse at the hands of her dimwitted stepfather and is provoked … Continue reading Survival Instincts: THE INSECT WOMAN (1963)

SEIJUN SUZUKI’S EVERYTHING GOES WRONG (1960)

I recently signed up for a temporary “Plus” account with Hulu.com so I could sample some of the hard-to-see Japanese films Criterion has made available there. According to Criterion their partnership with Hulu “gives viewers a chance to explore our library, sample films they might want to buy, discover films they never knew they would want, and see films so rare that they would never see the … Continue reading SEIJUN SUZUKI’S EVERYTHING GOES WRONG (1960)