Juzo Itami

Thumbnail image for Juzo Itami

Juzo Itami Some folks believe his suicide may have been a Yakuza hit, because they were still mad over their portrayal in Minbo no Onna (he had been attacked and slashed soon after the release of that film). The Funeral – A black comedy and funnier than most real funerals (believe me, I know). Tampopo […]

See it all →

Kon Ichikawa

Thumbnail image for Kon Ichikawa

Kon Ichikawa This guy has a pantload of films under his belt. I’ve only seen the following two so far, but what a two they are (did that sound weird?). The Burmese Harp – Nominated for an Oscar a little over 10 years after WWII. These are not the Japanese soldiers we were shown in […]

See it all →

Seijun Suzuki

Thumbnail image for Seijun Suzuki

Seijun Suzuki He’s got a ton of films and I can’t vouch for all of them. But he did some hip and wacky stuff in the 60’s. If you watch Suzuki’s interviews you’ll learn that the surrealist flair that permeates many of his films were out of necessity, not because he had some deep symbolism […]

See it all →

Nobuhiro Yamashita

Thumbnail image for Nobuhiro Yamashita

Nobuhiro Yamashita Linda Linda Linda – This is the kind of slice-of-life film we can’t seem to make here in the states. American independent cinema always has to have some contrived plot element; Quirky family. Gay relative. Quirky gay family relative. Handicap (mental or physical). Crime. Dwarves. A thinly veiled political statement. It can never […]

See it all →

Kenji Mizoguchi

Thumbnail image for Kenji Mizoguchi

Kenji Mizoguchi When Americans talk about Japanese cinema, they usually only mention Kurosawa or Ozu. Just like in French cinema people talk about Truffaut or Godard, they often forget Dimitri Kirsanoff or Robert Bresson. Mizoguchi is the Japanese Bresson. He will depress you. And personally, I think he’s a better visual artist than Kurosawa.  Mizoguchi’s […]

See it all →

Yasujiro Ozu

Thumbnail image for Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu Ozu is what we call a minimalist. A pan in an Ozu film is about as exciting as you’re gonna get. But damn could he get performances out of actors. Just watching characters eat dinner tells you more about their lives than a Paddy Chayefsky diatribe (I love ya Paddy, rest in peace. […]

See it all →

Akira Kurosawa

Thumbnail image for Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa Some have called him the Japanese Spielberg. How can people be so cruel? Akira sometimes suffers a backlash because of how popular the film brat generation made him (kinda like the Chaplin backlash many years ago when folks said Keaton was better. They’re both great, so shut up). Is Kurosawa the greatest Japanese […]

See it all →

Shohei Imamura

Thumbnail image for Shohei Imamura

Shohei Imamura Here’s another unsung hero of Japanese cinema. This cat was still winning awards in his 70’s. Be warned that he does tend to have sex and violence in a lot of his films, so if you’re Amish don’t watch (of course if you’re Amish and reading this on a computer, Schande über Sie!) […]

See it all →

Takeshi Kitano

Thumbnail image for Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano This cat is pretty cool. Look up his bio some time. He does everything. Most Americans probably only recognize him from MXC on Spike. I got into “Beat” Takeshi years ago (can’t remember how). Violent Cop – Don’t mess with his sister. Double feature it with Kindergarten Cop.           […]

See it all →