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Your Favorite Japanese Movies?


Metropolisforever
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What are your favorite Japanese movies?

 

I've seen a few live-action Japanese movies.

 

I've seen hundreds of anime productions.

 

In 2006, TCM aired several films from Studio Ghibli. I think Studio Ghibli is overrated.

 

In 2008, TCM will air several films from Akira Kurosawa.

 

In 2008, Hollywood will release a remake of The Seven Samurai, because modern Hollywood is completely out of ideas.

 

In fact, many modern Hollywood films are actually based on Japanese films.

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GATE OF HELL 1953

STRAY DOG 1948

TOKYO STORY 1953

CRAZED FRUIT 1956

HIGH AND LOW 1963

RED BEARD 1965

PORCO ROSSO 1992

TOKYO DRIFTER 1966

THE FACE OF ANOTHER 1966

NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND 1984

DRUNKEN ANGEL 1948

DREAMS 1990

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES 1988

IKIRU 1952

LATE SPRING 1949

WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS 1960

UGETSU 1953

VENGEANCE IS MINE 1979

KWAIDAN 1964

YOJIMBO 1961

THRONE OF BLOOD 1957

FLOATING WEEDS 1959

JIGOKU 1960

THE BURMESE HARP 1956

FIRES ON THE PLAIN 1959

SANSHO THE BAILIFF 1954

RAN 1985

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"The Seven Samurai," "Yojimbo," "High and Low," "The Hidden Fortress," "Rashomon," and "Ran" from the great Akira Kurosawa are my favorites.

 

I guess my next favorite director would be Masaki Kobyashi: "Hara-Kiri," "The Human Condition" (all three parts, even if the first film is a bit slow) and "Kwaidan."

 

I've not seen a lot of Mizogushi, but I did like "Sansho the Baliff" and "Street of Shame."

 

Other Japanese films I like are (in no particular order) "Onibaba," "Goyokin," "Pigs and Battleships," and "Ballad of Naryama" (the Imamura one).

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Like others who have already posted I also like IKIRU, HIGH AND LOW, UGETSU, HIDDEN FORTRESS, THRONE OF BLOOD, RAN, KWAIDON,

I also liked A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS (1934), NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH (1946), SCANDAL (1950), RED BEARD (1965). TOKYO DRIFTER (1966), and The Samurai trilogy.

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Sadao Yamanaka, Was drafted and died at the age of 29 in Manchuria.

- Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937), available on MoC in a Region 2 DVD so you'll need an appropriate player.

 

Kurosawa. Often called the John Ford of Japanese cinema. Virtually every one of his films is cannon. Here are some of his best, I'm probably overlooking some bodies favorite:

- The Seven Samurai (1954), maybe one of the top ten films ever made, action films certainly don't get much better. Remade by Hollywood as The Magnificent Seven.

- Rash?mon (1950), This film was awarded the Golden Lion at the 1951 Venice Film festival. It is credited, along with Ugetsu and The Gate of Hell, with bringing world attention to Japanese film. Curiously, it was not well received in Japan.

- Ikiru (1952)

- High and Low (1963)

- The Hidden Fortress (1958) (one of my favorites). John Lucas states the two peasants were the inspiration for Star War's R2D2 and C3PO.

- Yojimbo (1961), An iconic film remade by Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars and the horrible Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis.

- Ran (1985), Kurosawa does King Lear

- The Throne of Blood (1957), Kurosawa does Macbeth

- The Lower Depths (1957), Kurosawa does Gorky. Renoir, a director I admire, used the same material in the '30s but not nearly as well

 

Yasujiro Ozu. Restrained is oftened used to describe Ozu's films. Intelligent and observant are how I think of them.

- Tokyo Story (1953)

- Floating Weeds (1959)

- Early Summer (1951)

 

Kenji Mizoguchi.

- Osaka Elegy.

- Sisters of Gion

- The Life of Oharu

- Ugetsu (1953) Eerily beautiful film that helped bring Japanese cinema to the World's attention when it won the Silver Lion at the 1953 Venice Film Festival. Based on two short stories by Akinari Ueda and a short story by Guy de Mapaussent. It has its detractors but I say it's one of the finest films made by anyone.

- Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Another winner at the Venice Film Festival, this one will break your heart.

 

Masaki Kobayashi. Kobayashi's films often deal with official corruption and deceit among the ruling class.

- Seppuku (Harakiri) (1962) My introduction to foreign film. I was a high school senior and the local PBS station was running a Japanese film festival. I just happened to catch this broadcast and I've been hooked on foreign film ever since.

- Kaidan (1964) Four ghost stories beautifully filmed. TCM has broadcast this film in the past.

- Samurai Rebellion (1967) This shows up occasionally on IFC's Samurai Saturdays

 

Hiroshi Teshigahara

- Woman of the Dunes (1964)

- Pitfall (1962)

- The Face of Another (1966)

- Antonio Gaud? (1984)

 

Seijun Suzuki. Maverick director was fired by his studio for making incomprehensible films

- Tokyo Drifter (1966)

- Branded to Kill (1967)

 

Kon Ichikawa

- Burmese Harp (1956)

- Fires on the Plain (1959)

- An Actor's Revenge (1963)

- The Makioka Sisters (1983) I have this on Laserdisc. Criterion has just released The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain to DVD so maybe this one will follow.

 

Teinosuke Kinugasa.

- Gate of Hell (1953) Winner of the Palme d'Or and Oscar for best foreign film.

 

Shohei Imamura

- The Pornographers (1966)

- Vengeance Is Mine (1979)

- Ballad of Narayama (1983)

- Somebody mentioned Pigs and Battleships, I haven't seen this but I will.

 

The Zatoichi series - particullarly the first four.

 

The Lone Wolf and Cub series.

 

Since you know anime I wont go there but I will mention my favorite, Project A-ko - one of the goofiest films ever made. It's hard to figure out which is more fun, the goofy plot or catching all the in jokes. I first caught it on the SciFi channel back when it really was a science fiction channel.

 

--

Terry Wallace

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Tampopo is an excellent film. If you haven't already, take a look at The Funeral (1984) and A Taxing Woman (1987) from the same director. The followup to A Taxing Woman, A Taxing Woman Returns (1988), isn't quite as good but is still a lot of fun. I'm afraid I haven't seen any of his later films. Tragically, Itami committed suicide by jumping off a building after a tabloid reported he was having an affair.

 

--

Terry Wallace

 

Message was edited by: Terry_W

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