Asian Film Hall of Fame


Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Next, possibly tonight, Daimajin
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

Daimajin (1966) dubbed

This was actually pretty [email protected] good. Done really [email protected] well for its genre, and I really, really [email protected] enjoyed it!

Going the nostalgic route with dubbing from me wee pup dazes that ended up being very much on the mark on both syncing AND fitting the characters in this fantasy tale of an interruption of a holy ceremony to safeguard the God of the Mountain - remains imprisoned within a giant samurai statue. Its lower extremes within the mountain itself. The interruption brought about by a warring clan's attack on the local samurai clan. The parents dying in the attack and the two children, he's around seven, she's around three are taken to safety by an entrusted, loyal swordsman of the clan. A volatile officer hot on their heels.
Flash forward some ten years plus and the kids are late teen adults and the region's population are now indentured slave labor by the brutal usurpers.
The final disrespect to the God of the Mountain is an attempted demolition of the statue that halts when a spike is hammered into Majin's forehead and watery blood spills out.
Coinciding with the capture of the son, the swordsman, and the tortured loyal man of the court are being crucified as Majin awakens and [email protected] up the usurpers. How he takes out the leader was [email protected] awesome. Amid, may I say, a VERY cool foreboding, bassy soundtrack.

As I initially said, this was done surprisingly well. Enjoyed thoroughly with a spiked coffee beverage in hand, and a pleasant pre-viewing puff, this was a pretty awesome, Late Night Saturday Night Film Feature.

Very, VERY, [email protected] COOL.

Oh, wait, I nearly forgot. Anyone else's version had a crazy, frantic intermission collage of random images of numbers and various breaks and other effects upon a real movie film?
Much in the fashion of a Grindhouse Movie intermission.
A definite plus to the version I enjoyed.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
And now, what I imagine will be, a turn to the more serious selection of films with Black Rain 'Kuroi ame' (1989), Hanagatami (2017), and Dust in the Wind 'Liàn liàn fengchén' (1986) to wrap this up with.

In no planned order as of yet, so we'll see how that goes.

And now, what I imagine will be, a turn to the more serious selection of films with Black Rain 'Kuroi ame' (1989), Hanagatami (2017), and Dust in the Wind 'Liàn liàn fengchén' (1986) to wrap this up with.
All three are good. Hanagatami is the longest and Black Rain the shortest

Dust in the Wind

When I spoke about Mother I mentioned that I respect films that give you an unmatchable first-time experience, this film seems like the total opposite of that, and I respect that too. This film seems like it's going to be way better the second time around, because I will understand why I should appreciate the first part of the film. It's slow to get where it's going, things seem to be happening because that's how they are pre-ordained. The characters do what they must and they don't fight too hard to change outcomes. Life can do that to you, you don't often have control. Still it hurts when the boy you believe you will marry gets drafted and goes off to war and still it hurts very deeply when the girl you believe you will marry, marries another while you have no way to stop it.

Every one of you mentioned how beautiful the films is. Seconded. Several nominees have cooler visuals (Tears of the Black Tiger, Hanagatami, Black Rain, Drunken Angel, Rashomon), but Dust in the Wind is the runaway champ in shot-for-shot beauty. Everything being gorgeous gives it a high floor and kept me engaged throughout the first part of the film while I was still trying to find whatever it was that hook me.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I hope Daimajin shows up on the's one of the best Kaiju movies every made and worth people discovering.
it was a definite pleasant surprise for me

Drunken Angel: A film mainly told about two characters, both played by the iconic men Takashi Shimura and Toshirō Mifune. I did enjoy their relationship and how it was written, with the back and forth between the no-nonsense doctor and the impulsive but traditional young man. Usually Mifune steals the show in his films, but I felt it was Shimura who really shined here. I also appreciated the different shot choices and editing that would've been used rarely during that period (The expressionistic elements near the end were quite cool too). Kurosawa's subtle jabs at the American occupation feel quite similar to what Ozu did in Late Spring. I do agree with some user's criticisms that the story seems to meander too much and doesn't do much with the characters, but it didn't hurt my experience TOO much.

That's ll I have of note to say, good pick Edar.

I'd also like to note that whoever wrote the subtitles for the version I watched must've taken some great artistic liberties, because (correct me if I'm wrong) I doubt men called each other 'bro' in the 40's!

Drunken Angel:

I'd also like to note that whoever wrote the subtitles for the version I watched must've taken some great artistic liberties, because (correct me if I'm wrong) I doubt men called each other 'bro' in the 40's!
Ha! I noticed that too. There was several times they used modern words that did sound authentic at all.

I'd also like to note that whoever wrote the subtitles for the version I watched must've taken some great artistic liberties, because (correct me if I'm wrong) I doubt men called each other 'bro' in the 40's!
Pretty sure the term "aniki" is classic Yakuza slang that literally means "older brother". I think "bro" is the only way I've ever seen it translated.

rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
Paprika (2006)

So this was my recommendation, but the truth is I haven't sat down and watched this in about 10 years, since I was fortunate enough to see it for the second or third time at a theater screening. I can honestly say that while I remembered being blown away by this film, I didn't remember what it felt like to be so blown away. What I mean is: wow. This is pure cinematic vision and artistry at a level that was decades ahead of its time in 2010 and remains so today. A colossal achievement in only Satoshi Kon's fourth film, and a constant reminder of all we lost when he passed so terribly young at only 46(!) of cancer.

My journey with Satoshi Kon began when my wife, a fan of anime, showed me Perfect Blue. Previously, she had shown me several films from her favorite anime director, the peerless Hayao Miyazaki. I enjoyed them of course - the visuals, fun, and sheer imagination always impressed me. But these were still kids movies - even my favorite to this day, [b]Spirited Away[b] doesn't age up more than to about 13. So I still had this cultural idea in my head that animation was fundamentally a kid's genre - a very common idea in the West. Boy, was I wrong.

Perfect Blue blew me away. Here was a suspense thriller every bit as exciting and adult as a Hitchcock or DePalma film. Here were reality-twisting visuals that rivaled Lynch. How was this possible?

Well, of course, animation is just a medium like anything else. And, as it turns out, the complete creative control it affords a director and its liquid, shimmery quality, makes animation the perfect artform to depict dreams (see also Waking Life (2003)). Kon takes this point to its logical conclusion here – in a huge way. Nearly every frame of this film is bursting with ideas and vision. From the opening dream – a nightmarish circus phantasmagoria of clowns and angry mobs all with the dreamer’s face – to the iconic “parade of everything under the sun,” as Kon put it, to the identity-merging/splitting/consuming off the clock, to the Paprika/Chiba doppelganger madness, describing this film in words is a fool’s errand.

The basic plot is simple. In the near future, a device called the DC Mini allows the user to view people's dreams. The head of the psychatric team working on this treatment, Doctor Atsuko Chiba, begins using the machine illegally to help patients on by assuming her dream world alter-ego "Paprika". Chiba's closest allies are Doctor Toratarō Shima, the chief of the department, and Doctor Kōsaku Tokita, inventor of the DC Mini. The latter, a massive man, genius, and consumer of all things, becomes Chiba’s love interest. The plot is driven by the theft of the DC Mini and its illicit use to force dreams upon the innocent. Police Detective Konakawa, the subject of Paprika’s dream counseling, becomes involved in the investigation. As others have noted, the plot gets convoluted at times and confusing. This never bothered me as the entire movie is essentially dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams-within Satoshi Kon’s and author of the novel upon which the film is based, Yasutaka Tsutsui’s dreams.

Kon’s talent is so prodigious, it’s staggering to think that we lost such a genius when his career was barely getting started. Indeed, the end of the film features Konakawa going to see a film recommended by Paprika – “Dreaming Kids,” which was intended as Kon’s next film. Kon begged his friend, a produce, to see it ultimately made, but despite some efforts, this never happened and it does not appear likely it ever will. Sad.

At least we have Kon’s four films, culminating in this, his masterpiece.

When you get right down to it, this is a film that must be experienced, which is exactly why I recommended it. 10/10.

rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
I'm glad Paprika lived up to your expectations rbrayer! It probably would've been heartbreaking if you watched it again after nominating it, but you weren't impressed anymore.
I had no concerns there. I knew it was hugely impressive and a masterpiece, I just didn't remember much of it and the feelings it evoked. I did think there was a chance I might not rate it as highly now as I did then - but if anything, my appreciation has grown on re-watch. That said, you're certainly right! That would not have been good!

rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
Black Rain (1989)

To be honest, I was wary of watching this. It sounded terribly depressing, and it was, but it also was a fantastic film I am glad I saw, albeit not one I am in a hurry to rewatch.

The film begins with a devastating portrayal of Hiroshima the day the A-Bomb was dropped- August 6, 1945. We see normal city*life, unsuspecting and mundane. Then a massive explosion. A mushroom cloud. Chaos. Bodies everywhere. Severe burn victims. Dark skies during day. And black rain - poisonous fallout from the bomb.

Soon, the main characters, Yasuko, a young Japanese woman, and her Aunt Shigeko and Uncle Shizuma, come into focus. The three flee the City and the film cuts to 5 years later, 1950, when the trio are all living together in a small village.

The film flashes back and forth between 1945 and 1950 based on Yasuko’s diary and Shizuma’s journal. Many of the characters we encounter are developed by seeing them in these two times.

The effects of the bomb and the war are ubiquitous. Although Yasuko appears unharmed from the blast, nearly everyone else in the film has gotten severe radiation sickness, and more develop it all the time. Her risk of developing this sickness is a serious barrier to marriage - three proposals fall apart despite a clean bill of health from a doctor.

Another village resident, a poor man named Yuichi, suffers from PTSD from fighting in a tank unit during the war. The very sound of an engine running sends him into violent hysterics. He loves Yasuko and she ultimately develops feelings for her.

We come to care deeply about all of these characters. Imamura gives each one appropriate depth and complexity, all the more*to make it hurt when misfortune befalls them.

Hiroshima is a colossal undertaking to unpack, but this is a strong and imaginative way to do it: focus on a small group of characters and how the fallout literally destroys their lives slowly and unequivocally. At the same time, the flashes back to the day itself give us plenty of larger context, despite being very difficult to watch.

Art should make us uncomfortable. It should explore the human soul and all shades therein. This is a beautiful film, brilliantly told, well acted, and stunningly directed. A true achievement. It will stay with me a long time.

I am going to have a helluva time arranging my ballot! 10/10.