31 movies

Woman in the Dunes

October 25, 1964

An entomologist suffers extreme psychological and sexual torture after being taken captive by the residents of a poor seaside village.

The Face of Another

June 9, 1967

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Conditions have been better for the nameless protagonist: his grandmother is a shoplifter and his war criminal father and sister have an unhealthy, intimate relationship with the family rabbit.

Tokyo Drifter

April 10, 1966

After yakuza boss Kurata dissolves his own criminal empire, a rival kingpin offers a position to Kurata's top operative, Tetsuya "Phoenix Tetsu" Hondo. When the fiercely loyal Tetsu declines, Otsuka taps unstoppable Tatsuzo the "Viper", a ruthless gun-for-hire, to assassinate him. As the Viper trails his target through the countryside, the agile Phoenix Tetsu grows concerned that one of his former associates has betrayed him.

The Naked Island

November 23, 1960

Deals with the intolerably hard life of a family of four, the only inhabitants of a very small Japanese island in the Setonaikai archipelago. Several times a day they row over to the neighboring island to fetch water for their miserable fields.

Pigs and Battleships

January 21, 1961

In the city of Yokosuka, Kinta and his lover Haruko, both involved with yakuza, brave the post-occupation period with a goal to be together.

Gate of Flesh

May 31, 1964

In the shady black markets and bombed-out hovels of post–World War II Tokyo, a tough band of prostitutes eke out a dog-eat-dog existence, maintaining tenuous friendships and a semblance of order in a world of chaos. But when a renegade ex-soldier stumbles into their midst, lusts and loyalties clash, with tragic results. With Gate of Flesh, visionary director Seijun Suzuki delivers a whirlwind of social critique and pulp drama, shot through with brilliant colors and raw emotions.

Intentions of Murder

June 28, 1964

Sadako, cursed by generations before her and neglected by her common-law husband, falls prey to a brutal home intruder. But rather than become a victim, she forges a path to her own awakening.

Pitfall

July 1, 1962

A man wanders into a seemingly deserted town with his young son in search of work. But after a bit of bad luck, he joins the town's population of lost souls.

Pale Flower

March 1, 1964

Muraki, a hardboiled Yakuza gangster, has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for murder. Revisiting his old gambling haunts, he meets Saeko, a striking young upper-class woman who is out seeking thrills, and whose presence adds spice to the staid masculine underworld rituals. Muraki becomes her mentor while simultaneously coping with the shifts of power that have affected the gangs while he was interred. When he notices a rogue, drug-addicted young punk hanging around the gambling dens, he realizes that Saeko's insatiable lust for intense pleasures may be leading her to self-destruction.

Assassination

October 30, 1964

Assassination begins with the events of 1853 when "four black ships" anchored at Edo Bay, sparking civil unrest and the major political manoeuvring that saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. At a time when assassination had become a disturbing political tool, Shinoda's film follows Hachiro Kiyokawa (Tetsuro Tamba), an ambitious, masterless samurai whose allegiances drift dangerously between the Shogunate and the Emperor.

Giants and Toys

June 22, 1958

Nishi is an advertising executive for a caramel company that is planning to launch a new product, in fierce competition with two other companies.

Kisses

July 23, 1957

Kinichi and Akiko meet when they visit their fathers in prison. After successfully gambling on a bicycle race, they spend an enjoyable day together at the beach. Akiko, who tries to make money as an artist's model to pay for her mother's medical expenses, now has to find 100,000 yen to pay off the company from which her father embezzled. Kinichi also requires 100,000 yen as bail for his father, who is accused of election fraud. Kinichi tries to borrow 100,000 yen from his mother, whom he has not seen for three years.

Night and Fog in Japan

October 9, 1960

Nagisa Oshima’s most personal film is a reflection by the director on his own disillusionment with the revolutionary student movement of the 1950’s and the failure of political radicalism. Taking it’s title (as a reference or homage) from Alain Resnais’ pivotal 1956 documentary Nuit et Brouillard, the film has a group of former student revolutionaries who meet again years later at the wedding of one of their classmates. Old feelings, rivalaries and grudges gradually erupt to the surface as the one-time friends recall the various treacheries by which their cause was defeated. Cutting between times past and the present, and unfolding the action from each of his characters viewpoints, Oshima creates an abstract and yet engrossing study of passions past and principles eroded. —Yume Pictures

Crazed Fruit

July 12, 1956

Two brothers compete for the amorous favors of a young woman during a seaside summer of gambling, boating, and drinking, in this seminal Sun Tribe film from director Kô Nakahira. Adapted from the controversial novel by Shintarô Ishihara, and critically savaged for its lurid portrayal of the postwar sexual revolution among Japan’s young and privileged, Crazed Fruit is an anarchic outcry against tradition and the older generation.

A Story Written with Water

November 23, 1965

Struggling with his true emotions, dreams, memories of the past and the reality Shizuo is about to marry, but is torn between his wife-to-be and the love to his mother.

The Affair

May 13, 1967

As a young woman, Oriko condemned her widowed mother for openly pursuing relationships with younger men. After her mother passes away, she finds herself in an unhappy, loveless marriage and begins to understand her mother’s actions.

Cruel Story of Youth

June 3, 1960

A budding gangster enthralls a freeloading young woman, soon taking advantage of her knack for hitch-hiking to rob middle-class, middle-aged men.

Tattooed Life

November 13, 1965

‘Tattooed Life' begins with a parasol wielding Yakuza assassin attacking a rickshaw. It almost looks like feudal Japan until somebody pulls a gun and we're reminded that it's the 20th century. Post-shooting, the assassin delivers his bounty to his brother (to pay for his art school education) before getting ambushed in one of the few rickshaw-jacking incidents in film history, and being rescued by his art-student brother. In the aftermath, one brother is marked for death by the Yakuza, and the other brother won't go to art school with blood on his hands, so they decide the perfect way to deal with such hardships is to become fugitive construction workers in northern Japan . And why not?

The Pornographers

March 12, 1966

Subu makes pornographic films. He sees nothing wrong with it. They are an aid to a repressed society, and he uses the money to support his landlady, Haru, and her family. From time to time, Haru shares her bed with Subu, though she believes her dead husband, reincarnated as a carp, disapproves. Director Shohei Imamura has always delighted in the kinky exploits of lowlifes, and in this 1966 classic, he finds subversive humor in the bizarre dynamics of Haru, her Oedipal son, and her daughter, the true object of her pornographer-boyfriend’s obsession. Imamura’s comic treatment of such taboos as voyeurism and incest sparked controversy when the film was released, but The Pornographers has outlasted its critics, and now seems frankly ahead of its time.

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