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1. Ryuichi Hiroki
door Jasper Sharp

It often comes as some source of surprise to people to learn that many of the Japanese moviemakers currently plying their trade in the commercial industry originally started their careers making low-budget theatrically-released sex films of the type known in Japan as ‘pink films’ (pinku eiga). more

2. Repetition All Over Again in Recent Japanese Film
door Aaron Gerow

Watching recent Japanese film sometimes makes me feel like “it’s déjà vu all over again,” to quote Yogi Berra, American baseball’s master of the misguided quotation. This is not to complain that recent works often bring us what we have already seen before, although it is true that formulaic filmmaking is alive and well in Japan, with tragic romances (Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (Sekai no chushin de, ai o sakebu, 2004), Heavenly Forest (Tada kimi wo aishiteru, 2006)) and group success stories (Waterboys (2001), Swing Girls (2004), Linda Linda Linda (2005), Hula Girls (Hula garu, 2006)) being prominent, though not always low quality examples. Horror films are still being churned out, albeit mostly for the foreign market since many have failed in domestic theatres in the last few years. What I am rather noticing is the large number of films that make repetition and its related tropes—circularity, doubling, mirroring, etc.—a central element of their style and content. more

3. “That Little Band of Men” or, the strengths and limitations of auteurism in the Japanese Cinema
door Alexander Jacoby

It is now more than forty years since the Japanese cinema came properly to international attention. This was a time when auteurism, the philosophy which would come to dominate film appreciation through the nineteen sixties, was as yet confined to the pages of a single Parisian magazine. Critics at that date wrote admiringly of such directors as Vittorio de Sica and Marcel Carné, but in general, serious critical writing on the cinema tended to focus more on national schools and styles – Soviet montage, French poetic realism, Italian neo-realism – which grouped together such actually diverse artists as Eisenstein and Pudovkin, Renoir, Carné and Duvivier, De Sica and Rossellini, as representatives of particular national traditions and social trends. more

4. Seven Samurai or Samurai 7
door David Desser

There are two Japanese cinemas; at least it often appears that way.  One has been the object of serious scholarly attention in the west for over forty years; the other only far more recently and rather sparingly.  Scholars and fans of the first sort of Japanese cinema can point with pride to the number of film festival prizes and American Academy Awards their cinema has captured; fans of the second cinema tend to talk among themselves and even the occasional festival or Oscar nomination need not convince them of what they already know. more