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, currently streaming on FilmStruck, is a strange amalgam of traditional Japanese theater, folktales, ghost stories, social … 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 … 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 … 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 … Continue reading SEIJUN SUZUKI’S EVERYTHING GOES WRONG (1960)