A private detective is hired to find a missing man by his wife. Contradictory evidence and the lack of clues soon render the case as virtually unsolvable, as the detective grows more and more frustrated.
Hiroshi Teshigahara's camera takes us over, under, around, and into buildings and a park designed by Antonio Gaudí (1852 - 1926), Catalan architect, ceramist, and sculptor. Teshigahara ... See full summary »
From the Criterion Collection: "Among the first Japanese films to deal directly with the scars of World War II, this drama about a group of rank-and-file Japanese soldiers jailed for crimes... See full summary »
While Korea is occupied by the Japanese Army in 1933, the resistance plans to kill the Japanese Commander. But their plan is threatened by a traitor within their group and also the enemies' forces are hunting them down.
I'm going back to see every Teshigahara I can. I've loved him for a long time, but only recently revisited "Rikyu" (1989) and "Gô-hime" (1992), his last film. And, truth be told, I don't think cinema can get much better than this.
I think it really helps if you love Japanese green tea, and if you're into preparing it yourself. There's a sense of fragile timelessness as one measures the correct volume of water in the right temperature, preheats the teapot and other utensils, and applies the right amount of tea leaves. There's a wonderful, relaxing effect in preparing gyokuro in a shiboridashi, or fukamushi in a kyusu, seeing the leaves unfold. Let alone preparing and drinking matcha out of a chawan.
All of this, in my mind, is present in these two films. The sense of taking one's time, using only a few words instead of many, applying only little color instead of abundance. This is not easy to do, and I think Teshigahara's reputation as an avant-gardist does him wrong. He was, and through his cinema remains, a Rikyu of our time, not only in ikebana but also in cinema.
Not that these two films are the same. This follows "Rikyu" immediately, but it takes some time to adjust to its more energetic and immediate characters, and the change in Toyotomi, since in this film he's played not by Yamazaki but by Oida Katsuhiro. It's the most difficult difference to adjust to, not because of any flaw in Oida but due to Yamazaki's sheer perfection. Oida's Katsuhiro ascends from the heights of a Lear to a perceivably less frightening a majesty. I can't help but miss Yamazaki every time Toyotomi's on screen, although he disappears form the movie very early on.
But there's Nakadai Tatsuya, in his beauty unrivaled, save for the occasional Alain Delons of the world, and in his eloquence of characterization second to none in the realm of world cinema. Here he doesn't have that much to do which could be surmised from the title of the film. The rest of the players are the pillars that carry the princess's throne.
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