This is a listing of films reviewed since June 2012.
1) Kazuo Kuroki, Director (1990). Ronin Gai (Street of the Masterless Samurai). HVE Entertainment.
An eccentric samurai period place set in the 1830s in an impoverished village where masterless samurai protect a geisha house from some retainers of the shogun. At the end of the film, the four ronins – one heroic and three drunkards – fight dozens of the retainers in stylistic combat and keep one of the geishas from being torn in two by bulls pulling each of her legs. One of the drunkards escapes with this geisha, with a heart of gold, and the house is given to an even purer geisha who had supported her brother’s re-enrollment into their clan. 060512
Based on Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor, which we read in preparation for the Freeman Japan Studies Institute, the film provides a more rural and perhaps clearer perspectives on the relationships of the housekeeper and her son with a mathematics professor whose memory lasts only 80 minutes due to a car accident, which also crippled his sister-in-law, with whom he seemed to have had a forbidden relationship. The film, unlike the novel, is framed by Root, the son who is now a high school math teacher, who illustrates the wonders of numbers through the history of their onb-going relationships. Available starting at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEf20INveYY with Italian subtitles. 060612
3) Kihachiro Kawamoto (2006). The Book of the Dead. KimStim.
Stop-motion action and puppetry film of a noble woman who becomes obsessed with Buddhism in its early days of introduction in Japan, copies 1,000 times the sutra of Amida, and wanders to a shrine city where she is connected to the past spirit of an executed prince, killed because of his own obsession with Buddhism and searching for the woman who had shown kindness to him at the moment of his death. A trailer is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1vRf1Nx6vM. 060612