What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... See full summary »
In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
Alternating in time, between the end of World War II and 1953, Haruko, a widow, does what she can to keep her daughter Utako and son Seiichi safe, fed, and sheltered. By 1953, it's clear ... See full summary »
Feudal Japan. Kamo Serizawa and Isami Kondo turn a collection of student fencers into a band of assassins known as the Shinsen Group, devoted to the Tokugawa shogunate and to an elegant ... See full summary »
There's a rare sense of epic artistry in this unusual and striking medieval saga, directed by Keisuke Kinoshita as more of an aesthetic experience than a conventional drama. The film was designed to resemble a decorative 16th century Japanese scroll, painting spare brushstrokes of vivid color across each panoramic, wide-screen black and white image. It can be difficult (and not really worth the effort) to follow the endless progression of characters, and the manner in which the film unfolds is often more involving than the story it presents. Each leap forward in time approximates the turning of another page, usually to the next in a series of pointless, bloody battles between feudal warlords, with each conflict properly labeled beforehand, identifying the date, location, and principals involved. The battle scenes serve as punctuation, following successive generations of peasant soldiers to their doom, with the repetition suggesting that war is the only eternal aspect of the human condition, and passive resistance is futile.
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