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6 items from 2016

Criterion Reflections – Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968) – #679

17 July 2016 3:30 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Zatoichi and the Fugitives, the 18th installment in the series, is pretty solid overall, a well-made and swiftly paced action-adventure that adheres pretty closely to the standard Zatoichi formula. Once again, the ever-wandering blind swordsman gets drawn into a cruelly unbalanced conflict between merciless criminals and honest village folk who are just trying to trudge a path through life that keeps their suffering to a minimum. If allowed to pursue their brutal agenda without interference, the bosses will grind their subordinates into the dust and inflict a lot of personal anguish upon them through various acts of robbery and exploitation. Zatoichi recognizes the bestial nature of the men in charge and reluctantly takes it upon himself to defend the weak and vulnerable. I like these stories because of their relatively pure and straightforward approach to the heroic formula. That’s »

- David Blakeslee

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Biff Asian Cinema 100 List: Top 5 Japanese Films

25 April 2016 5:51 AM, PDT | AsianMoviePulse | See recent AsianMoviePulse news »

The Asian Cinema 100 list was released last year at the Biff (Busan International Film Festival), which marked its 20th anniversary with a poll of prominent Asian filmmakers and international critics of Asian film, who were all asked for their top ten of all time.

Japan accounted for 26 films on the list, followed by Iran (19) and Korea (15).

The oldest film chosen was Yasujiro Ozu’s I Was Born, But (1932), ranked 48th of all time. And the top animated film to make the cut was Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), joint 18th.

The top 5 Japanese films are listed below in rank order.

1. Tokyo Story (1953), #1

Routinely hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Tokyo Story is Yasujiro Ozu‘s restrained masterpiece of an ordinary family life, chronicling human behavior in ordinary situations.

It opens with the putt-putt sound of a boat and the wisps of smoke rising from the chimneys of »

- Lady Jane

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Margot Nash on cracking the structure of memoir documentary The Silences

20 April 2016 8:20 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Margot Nash and her mother Ethel.

How did you come to make The Silences?

I wrote it as a feature drama. The story was something I really wanted to tell. I had done two feature dramas, so I wrote a script, but it was really expensive and it was really hard to get made and I just put it away. [But] It just wouldn't go away. It was this thing that kept nagging at me. I thought: can I tell it as a documentary? I got a filmmaker residency in Zurich in 2012. It was a fourteen week paid residency where I could work on a project. I had to give some masterclasses but I had a lot of time. I suddenly had this brainwave. I've been making films since the 1970's, and I've often drawn on my story to create images or construct characters. I'd literally re-created some images from my »

- Harry Windsor

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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016 Hits The UK

7 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST | Screen Anarchy | See recent Screen Anarchy news »

Now in its thirteenth edition, London's Japan Foundation has returned with another fine selection of contemporary Japanese film titles with which to tour the UK. This year the choices are based around the theme, 'Ikiru: The Highs and Lows of Life in Japanese Cinema'. Ikiru, a word instantly familiar to Japanese cinema fans as the Shimura Takashi-starring, Kurosawa Akira classic, was the profound tale of a man trying to make a difference in the lives of others at the twilight of his own existence. Inspired by that film's themes, the programme aims to "Look [sic] at the way in which Japanese filmmakers have been observing and capturing people's lives, and how people across the ages persevere, negotiate and reconcile with the environment and situation they live...

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This week’s new film events

29 January 2016 5:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme | Crime: Hong Kong Style

It’s the birthplace of Godzilla, Totoro, samurai epics and futuristic robot movies, but ordinary life is another thing Japanese cinema has always excelled at, from Ozu to Kore-eda. Not forgetting Akira Kurosawa, whose 1952 masterpiece Ikiru serves as the inspiration for this year’s showcase. The predicaments here are universal and everyday: an affair between a student and an older woman (The Cowards Who Looked To The Sky); a middle-aged comic artist dealing with his mother’s dementia (Pecoross’ Mother And Her Days); a teacher who suspects one of his pupils is being abused by his parents (Being Good). Some are less ordinary, it must be said: anime Miss Hokusai, on the artist’s daughter, for example; or Uzumasa Limelight, about a veteran actor who’s died thousands of times in samurai movies. Starting in London, the films play in 13 UK cities over the coming months. »

- Steve Rose

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Daily | Kurosawa, Akerman, Mizoguchi

4 January 2016 7:50 AM, PST | Keyframe | See recent Keyframe news »

Pico Iyer considers how his view of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952) has evolved over the years. Also in today's roundup: Remembering Chantal Akerman and Natalie Cole, Kenji Mizoguchi in New York, short pieces on Lionel Atwill and Zasu Pitts, Wim Wenders in Austin, Sergei Eisenstein in London, a video essay on Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Michael Mann discuss The Revenant—and we have a fresh round, and quite a huge one it is, too, of best-of-2015 lists. » - David Hudson »

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