2 items from 2011
"Yoshimitsu Morita, whose films depicted the absurdity and vulnerability of everyday life in conformist Japan, has died," reports Yuri Kagayama for the AP. "He was 61." His breakthrough came with The Family Game (1983), winner of five Kinema Junpo Awards — Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Yusaku Matsuda) and Supporting Actor (Jûzô Itami) — in which Matsuda plays "an offbeat tutor who forms a heartwarming relationship with a young man in a stereotypical middle-class family."
"Though even its most perceptive commentators reduce Kazoku geimu (Family Game) to a critique of 'affluent, middle-class nuclear family life in the city and nose-to-the-grindstone education systems' [Keiko McDonald in 1989], Morita's most widely known film is before all else hilarious," wrote Bob Davis in Senses of Cinema in 2006. "Its laughs derive from inappropriate and idiosyncratic behavior, unseemly frankness, slapstick antics, gross-out tactics, repetitions, exaggerations, explosive contrasts, and unnatural pacing." In Davis's "brazen 'ranking' of Morita's films, Family Game, Deaths in Tokimeki, Sorekara [And Then], Keiho, »
Tokyo — Director Yoshimitsu Morita, whose films depicted the absurdity and vulnerability of everyday life in conformist Japan, has died. He was 61.
Morita, who won international acclaim over his prolific 30-year career, died Tuesday of acute liver failure at a Tokyo hospital, said Yoko Ota, spokeswoman at Toei Co., the film company behind his latest work.
Morita's movies were distinctly Japanese, depicting the fragile beauty of the nation's human psyche and visual landscape while daringly poking fun at its ridiculous tendency for rigid bureaucracy and ritualistic hierarchy.
Morita made a splash among global film buffs with 1983's "Family Game," starring Yusaku Matsuda of "Black Rain" as an offbeat tutor who forms a heartwarming relationship with a young man in a stereotypical middle-class family.
Its striking cinematography, focusing on rows and rows of identical apartments and people dining solemnly sitting side by side, was an exhilarating parody of Japanese family values.
2 items from 2011
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