Harakiri (1962) - News Poster

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Crypt of Curiosities: Depictions of Jigoku (Hell) in Japanese Cinema

  • DailyDead
If you ask me, Hell is the ultimate horror setting. Sure, creepy castles and abandoned outposts are great and all, but a realm of eternal torment just strikes me as a tad more terrifying. And of the major cultural interpretations of Hell out there, none are quite as grisly as the hell of Japanese Buddhism: Jigoku. Sure, there’s a way out of it, but the torments inflicted upon the damned in Jigoku make the ones Dante wrote about seem fit for children’s birthday parties. Jigoku consists of sixteen separate hells (eight “hot” and eight “cold”), with eight great hells that consist of tortures ranging from being charred in massive frying pans to being eternally smashed into paste and revived by massive rocks. It’s a brutal, depressing place where hope is faint and mercy can wait billions of years away. Naturally, it makes for a great topic for a horror movie.
See full article at DailyDead »

All of the Films Joining Filmstruck’s Criterion Channel This April

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This April will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Monday, April 3 The Chaos of Cool: A Tribute to Seijun Suzuki

In February, cinema lost an icon of excess, Seijun Suzuki, the Japanese master who took the art of the B movie to sublime new heights with his deliriously inventive approach to narrative and visual style. This series showcases seven of the New Wave renegade’s works from his career breakthrough in the sixties: Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), an off-kilter whodunit; Youth of the Beast (1963), an explosive yakuza thriller; Gate of Flesh (1964), a pulpy social critique; Story of a Prostitute (1965), a tragic romance; Tokyo Drifter
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Human Condition

Want a nine-hour dose of the truth of existence so harrowing that it will make you feel grateful no matter how humble your situation? Masaki Kobayshi's epic of the real cost of war boggles the mind with its creeping revelations of cosmic bleakness. Yet all the way through you know you're experiencing a truth far beyond slogans and sentiments. The Human Condition Region B Blu-ray Arrow Academy (UK) 1959-61 / B&W / 2:35 anamorphic widescreen / 574 min. / Ningen no jôken / Street Date September 19, 2016 / Available from Amazon UK £ 39.99 Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima, Keiji Sada, So Yamamura, Kunie Tanaka, Kei Sato, Chishu Ryu, Taketoshi Naito. Cinematography Yoshio Miyajima Art Direction Kazue Hirataka <Film Editor Keiichi Uraoka Original Music Chuji Kinoshita Written by Zenzo Matsuyama, Masaki Kobayashi from the novel by Jumpei Gomikawa Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The first Blu-ray of perhaps
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Criterion Reflections – Kill! (1968) – #313

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

Kill! is an entertaining and unusual take on the samurai/swordplay genre that plays for laughs many of the conventional tropes and set-ups common in the classic films from that tradition. I was fascinated observing how many of the fighting techniques, interpersonal conflicts, man vs. world showdowns and dramatic battle scenes that impact viewers with awe-inspiring tension can become a showcase of hilarity with just a slight exaggeration of tone, body language or facial expression (or simply cranking the fans that stir up dust clouds an extra notch or two.) Barking dialog that would come across as solemn and severe in more straightforward, traditional chanbara epics conveys much of the same surface meaning in advancing the story along in Kill! but also ends up generating a nice side helping of mirth in the process. Though at least one review considers
See full article at CriterionCast »

Movie Poster of the Week: The Czech Posters of Jan Cihla

  • MUBI
Above: 1964 Czech poster for Darkness in Daytime (Zoltán Fábri, Hungary, 1964).In the world of Czech movie posters there is an abundance of riches. The website (and Prague-based brick and mortar store) Terry Posters, tireless keepers of the flame of Czech poster design, offers a seemingly endless source of graphic delight. Scrolling through its pages, posters will jump out at me not for their title (a large portion of Czech posters having been made for Eastern Bloc films that are still unknown here) or the name of the designer, but simply because of their wholly unusual and striking design.One such recent discovery was this startling collage above, reminiscent of Eyes without a Face: a supremely simple but haunting design that wipes the floor with most contemporary horror movie posters. The necklace-like title treatment is a nice touch too.Checking the name of the designer, Jan Cihla, I realized he
See full article at MUBI »

Film Fury #45: ‘Samurai Rebellion’ expresses tension and strife though formality

Samurai Rebellion (original title: Joi-uchi: Hairyo tsuma shimatsu)

Written by Shinobu Hashimoto

Directed Masaki Kobayashi

Japan, 1967

In 18th century Edo Japan, long-time friends Isaburo Sasahara (Toshiro Mufine) and Tatewaki Asano (Tatsuya Nakadai) of the Aisu clan joyfully anticipate a fast approaching annual festival, but all is not well. Isaburo’s son, Yogoro (Go Kato), needs to be wed soon, yet the perfect bride whose status would respect their family honour has yet to be found. This weighs on Isaburo’s wife, the severe Sugo (Michiko Otsuka), even more so than on Isaburo himself. Familial recognition and pride is at stake, two important factors put to the test when the Aisu clan lord, Masakata Matsudaira (Tatsuo Matsumura), decides that his former mistress, Ichi (Yoko Tsukasa), is to be given to them. Controversy stems from the fact that Ichi was actually dismissed from their lord’s court following a rather unorthodox and unexpected emotional outburst.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Kwaidan

What makes a Ghost Story scary? This classic was almost too artistic for the Japanese. Masaki Kobayashi's four stories of terror work their spells through intensely beautiful images -- weirdly painted skies, strange mists -- and a Toru Takemitsu audio track that incorporates strange sounds as spooky musical punctuation. Viewers never forget the Woman of the Snow, or the faithful Hoichi the Earless. Finally restored to its full three-hour length. Kwaidan Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 90 1964 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 183 161, 125 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date October 20, 2015 / 39.95 Starring Michiyo Aratama, Rentaro Mikuni; Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiko Kishi; Katsuo Nakamura, Tetsurao Tanba, Takashi Shimura; Osamu Takizawa. Cinematography Yoshio Miyajima Film Editor Hisashi Sagara Art Direction Shigemasa Toda Set Decoration Dai Arakawa Costumes Masahiro Kato Original Music Toru Takemitsu Written by Yoko Mizuki from stories collected by Kiozumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn) Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The Happiness of the Katakuris | Blu-ray Review

Takashi Miike‘s The Happiness of the Katakuris begins with a woman probing a freshly delivered bowl of soup only to fish out a miniature angel/gargoyle/teletubby? whose presence seems to instigate the onscreen conversion of the world into claymation before tearing out the poor woman’s uvula and tossing it into the air to float away like a heart-shaped balloon. This is a film that, even in an oeuvre that includes works as disparate as gross out shocker Visitor Q and the kid friendly The Great Yokai War, is pure unpredictable insanity that baffles as much as it entertains. Essentially a horror comedy musical, Miike’s genre mashing farce is loosely based on Kim Jee-woon’s The Quiet Family, in which a family owns a remotely located bed and breakfast whose customers always happen to die during their stay, yet takes that simple premise to its outermost extremes in the silliest of ways.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

‘Harakiri’ blends action with a philosophical and critical look at the bushido code

Harakiri

Written by Shinobu Hashimoto and Yasuhiko Takiguchi

Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

Japan, 1962

In the early 17th century, the Iyi clan abides by the bushido code to the letter in all its facets, sepukku, the traditional samurai suicide ceremony by which a warrior disembowels himself before being decapitated, being no exception. It is on a bright sunny day that one Tsugumo Hanshirô (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the Iyi estate, currently run by Saitô Kageyu (Rentarô Mikuni), to plead for space in order to perform a honourable act of seppuku. He claims that the regional peace has led to unemployment, and rather live like a dog, suicide as ordained by bushido seems preferable. Knowledgeable of the occurrences of bluff requests made by other ronin samurai that were merely looking for pittance, Saitô is suspicious of Hanshirô’s motives and begins to relate a recent story of another, younger former warrior (Akira Ishihama
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Leeds International Film Festival 2013 Review - Harakiri (1962)

Harakiri (Japan: Seppuku), 1962.

Directed by Masaki Kobayashi.

Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Rentaro Mikuni, Kei Sato and Tetsuro Tanba.

Synopsis:

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

Of all the many features he churns out in a year, Takashi Miike didn’t need to direct a remake of Masaki Kobayashis Harakiri. Simply put, Miike didn’t need to update Harakiri for modern audiences – there’s nothing tame about Kobayashi’s original, not in its anti-authoritarian stance, its downbeat attitude to the rich/poor divide or in its cutting violence. Films so overtly about the evaporation of honour in the modern world or the system crushing the little man weren’t so common at the time Harakiri was made, lending
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

We Got This Covered’s Blu-Ray Picks For Jan. 20 – Jan. 26

Apparently there’s no accounting for taste; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is leading the pack in Blu-Ray pre-sales this week, closely followed by Taken 2 and Skyfall. After a lengthy run, The Dark Knight Rises has fallen to number 12 on the bestselling Blu-Ray sales charts and it will be sorely missed (thankfully I already own the film and you should too).

This week, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as two boys in blue in End of Watch, a classic samurai film gets a reboot, and a little-known Sherlock Holmes film finally arrives on Blu-Ray.

Ready for this week’s picks? Then read on.

End of Watch

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, and Natalie Martinez.

Director: David Ayer

An American thriller drama film written and directed by David Ayer ( who also wrote Training Day and The Fast and the Furious
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 22, 2013

Price: DVD $26.95, Blu-ray $29.95

Studio: Tribeca Film/Cinedigm/New Video

Swords are swinging in Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.

From prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike (he’s completed seven features in the last three years, including 2010’s 13 Assassins) comes the 2011 martial arts action-drama film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, a remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 classic samurai film, Harakiri.

Hara-Kiri tells the story of Hanshirô (Ebizô Ichikawa), a samurai who arrives at the doorstep of his feudal lord and requests an honorable death by ritual suicide in his courtyard. The lord threatens him with the brutal tale of Motome (Eita), a desperate young ronin (a samurai with no lord or master) who made a similar request with ulterior motives, only to meet a grisly end. Undaunted, Hanshirô begins to tell his own story…

Miike’s movie arrives following its release on video-on-demand and digital platforms in July,
See full article at Disc Dish »

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai a.k.a. Ichimei

To Remake Or Not To Remake, That Is The Question

Ichimei” or “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” is Takashi Miike‘s 2012 remake of the extraordinary 1962 classic “Seppuku” ( or “Harakiri“ ), that one directed by Masaki Kobayashi. If you feel like this might be a little too ambitious of a project for someone like Miike, fear not. His last project was “13 Assassins” ( which was reviewed right here on Amp ), a similar type of film with parallel themes and a striking resemblance in terms of visuals.

The story goes as follows: A ronin requests an audience with the regent of a powerful samurai clan. Once he is permitted to enter the grounds, the wandering warrior makes a startling demand: he requests the use of the clan’s courtyard in order to perform hara-kiri ( suicide by disembowelment ). Now, this is where the story gets even stranger…

As the conversation continues, the regent reveals an
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Kill Bill: The five manners of fighting in Tarantino’s kung fu opus

If Tarantino’s films of the 1990s announced the writer-director’s as a phenom for writing formidably snappy dialogue that enhanced characterization, his films of the 00s, while continuing to demonstrate the aforementioned writing prowess, suggest that he is equally adept at staging and filming wonderful action scenes, be they brawls, gun fights or contests of martial arts skills. Death Proof and Django Unchained have their share of impressive set pieces representing unique visions of what, in the case of the former, a cinematic car chase can be like, and, in the case of the latter, what a cinematic gun fight shoot out can be like. In essence, pretty darn sweet.

In both cases, even though Tarantino and his crack team definitely put their own spin on such action set pieces, the ingenuity that went into both was inspired by movies which made names for themselves in the annals of film history.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Notebook Reviews: Takashi Miike's "Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai"

A remake of Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962), Takashi Miike's new film Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai retains much of the original's plot, imagery, and production design; even the sets and props appear to be near-replicas of ones in the 1962 film. And yet Miike's movie is completely its own thing, nothing like Kobayashi's—owing in part to the directors' radically different attitudes toward the subject matter, and to the two films' diametrically-opposed conceptions of space and movement. A big pontificator with an arty style, Kobayashi favored complex sequence shots, dolly-ins from behind, smash zooms, and extremely wide angle lenses that warp the space around the edges of the frame, making it appear as though rooms and bodies are constantly expanding and contracting; his Harakiri is an angry, slow-burn anti-chanbara flick—dramatically heightened, spatially wonky, accusatory. 

Miike is no stranger to attacking culturally-ingrained hypocrisy (for just one obvious example, see Izo
See full article at MUBI »

Movie Poster of the Week: Masaki Kobayashi’s “Harakiri”

With Takashi Miike’s remake Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai next week I thought it was as good an excuse as any to look back at the many gorgeous posters for Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 original. One of the most startlingly beautiful of all Samurai movies, Harakiri is an exercise in stylistic bravado, a masterpiece of widescreen high contrast black and white. I recently stumbled across this unusually stark vertical Polish poster—like one of Kobayashi’s frames upended—by Marek Freudenreich (he of the amazing crossword skull Stage Fright) on a Polish culture site which was reviewing a 2008 show of his work. This little-seen design set me off on a search for other posters for Kobayashi’s masterpiece, the fruits of which you can see below.

Above: The enormous Italian style B  4-foglio (55" x 78") by Alverado Ciriello.

Above: The Italian style A 4-foglio (55" x 78") , also by Ciriello.

Above: The French grande (47" x 63") signed by “Ainelare.
See full article at MUBI »

Trailer For Takashi Miike's New Movie Features Hara-Kiri In 3D

From Audition to Ichi The Killer and 13 Assasins, prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike has regularly awed audiences around the world with his harrowing tale of violence and revenge. Now, more than a year after Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the heralded drama is at long last gearing up for its Stateside release with a sleek and stylish trailer, which you can check out below. A respectful remake of Masaki Kobayashi film Harakiri, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai follows the quest of a mysterious samurai, who travels to the doorstep of a feudal lord and requests to commit ritual suicide in the man's courtyard. Suspicious of the stoic warrior, the lord unfurls the tragic story of an ill-fated ronin named Motome, who came to this place before with a similar request, but also with an ulterior motive. Unexpectedly, the story the lord
See full article at Cinema Blend »

Blu-ray Review: Hideo Gosha’s Viscerally Entertaining ‘Three Outlaw Samurai’

Chicago – Hideo Gosha’s spectacularly entertaining 1964 feature directorial debut, “Three Outlaw Samurai,” is a samurai film for moviegoers who aren’t necessarily fans of the samurai genre. At a running time of 93 minutes, the picture is briskly paced and packed with suspenseful set-pieces, while centering its narrative on a partnership between three men who could easily be dubbed, “Good,” “Bad” and “Ugly.”

Though the film essentially functions as a prequel to Gosha’s Japanese television show of the same name, moviegoers won’t need any familiarity with the material to get immediately caught up in the action. Tadashi Sakai’s in-your-face cinematography often slants to a diagonal angle while closing in on the agonized faces of foes as they fight to the death. When the sword meets flesh, Gosha doesn’t spare the audience of the blood that follows.

Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tetsurô Tamba, a veteran actor memorably featured in Masaki Kobayashi’s classic,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

DVD Playhouse--November 2011

DVD Playhouse—November 2011

By Allen Gardner

Tree Of Life (20th Century Fox) Terrence Malick’s latest effort is both the best film of 2011 and the finest work of his (arguably) mixed, but often masterly canon. A series of vignettes, mostly set in 1950s Texas, capture the memory of a man (Sean Penn) in present-day New York who looks back on his life, and his parents’ (Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain) troubled marriage, when word of his younger brother’s suicide reaches him. Almost indescribable beyond that, except to say no other film in history so perfectly evokes the magic and mystery of the human memory, which both crystalizes (and sometimes idealizes) the past. Like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, this is a challenging, polarizing work that you must let wash over you. If you go along for the ride, you’re in for a unique, rewarding cinematic experience. Also available on Blu-ray disc.
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Harakiri (The Criterion Collection)

Samurai films exist within their own nexus of film history, all at once a tribute to the feudal Japanese eras and commentaries on modern times through a metaphoric lens. Akira Kurosawa’s name has all but become synonymous with the genre and his films are often held aloft as prime examples of classic Japanese filmmaking. Equally deserving of that praise is Masaki Kobayashi whom, with his Harakiri (or Seppuku), deconstructed the Samurai genre and built it in a new image: the anti-Samurai film, a stinging look at the hypocrisies inherent in a value-driven system taken to extremes. Harakiri has an elegant simplicity to its structure and yet the brilliance with which the plot unfolds and the performance of Tatsuya Nakadai as the sullen warrior with ulterior motives reciting a tale of woe makes it a riveting classic. It’s a beautifully crafted film in nearly every sense and The Criterion
See full article at JustPressPlay »
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