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Record of a Tenement Gentleman directed by Yasujirō Ozu

Not seen this film before directed by the master Ozu . On the surface a story about a lost boy who gets taken in by a crabby widow who gradually softens towards the lad. Under the surface, and don’t forget this film was made only 2 years after the end of the WW2, it’s an essay on the privations of post war Japan with its food shortages and its broken cities, not to mention the closing scenes of dozens of scruffy probably orphan lads. A seemingly gentle film, but typically unsentimental but with subtle undertones .



You're three for three now Christine as that's an Ozu that I've not seen yet either.
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Almost famous for having nailed Madonna once



Koto no ha no niwa
[The Garden Of Words]

Makoto Shinkai
2013

Animated drama/romance that lacks a little in emotional heft but is certainly a visual treat at times.

The tale begins nicely enough and does manage to maintain interest though the closing stages were rather predictable and the a little more depth to proceedings wouldn't have gone amiss imo.

Even though much of the animation/artwork is fairly standard, and even a little weak occasionally, the high-points of the movie are the occasional glimpses of absolutely stunning realism such as various views of the lake and trees, gloriously worked puddles (as seen above) or a rain-soaked bridge whilst there are also some nicely detailed items in various frames and a few beautifully managed transitions of focus.

It also should be said that the end credits should definitely be watched through as not only are they backdropped by some more delightful animation but there is also a coda to the tale which succeeds them.

The Garden Of Words may be a little weak in terms of narrative but it's serviceable and, my word, some of the artwork is simply astounding and for that alone part of me wishes I could award it more than a
+



Thanks again to @christine for pointing out The Garden Of Words to me (does it show that I never kick up Netflix at home lol), still amazed at some of the artwork



Mibu gishi den
[When The Last Sword Is Drawn]

Yjir Takita
2002

Historical samurai offering based on reality that is told via flashback from dual sources which does result in a somewhat fragmented tale but one that still remains relatively easy to follow.

Whilst not strictly epic in terms of duration or scope the rather slow pace and manner of telling combined with the journey the central character undertakes do manage to imbue it with the feel of one. A samurai film this most certainly is, but those seeking a multitude of swordplay should possibly look elsewhere - whilst there are certainly moments of action this is far more a mix of historical saga and reflective tale on one man's idea of his role as first and foremost a husband and father.

Sadly for me the tone is not quite always on point, especially so in the first act where a little light-heartedness is sprinkled and proceedings feel somewhat slight at times, and it does get a little overly mawkish in the closing stages for my taste. The central character also undergoes a rather noticeable transformation in his ethos at one point which is a bit jarring and undermines the tale a little imo.

When The Last Sword Is Drawn is for the most part a decent enough watch as long as one is not averse to a somewhat pedestrian pace and imo worthy of a fairly solid



Oy-sama
[Miss Oyu]

Kenji Mizoguchi
1951

Drama concerning a romance constrained by social mores that moves along at a decent enough pace but is a sober, downbeat tale that feels almost oppressively dour at times, making it a watch where one needs to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it imo.

The tale is for the most part a relatively simple one - involving a triangular relationship with copious quantities of self-sacrifice and, as one would expect from Mizoguchi, rather beautifully presented. All three leads put in good performances although personally I don't think quite enough is done to justify Shinnosuke's preference for Oy over her sister Shizu (admittedly for me the casting of both roles does impact in this regard).

Also worthy of a mention is how any cultural differences between the makers and audience are very nicely handled, there is an economy and ease with which societal information is imparted without affecting the flow of proceedings in the slightest or ever feeling like overt exposition.

Miss Oyu may be somewhat lacking in joy but that doesn't necessarily make it any the less enjoyable and I have no qualms in giving it a
+
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Probably not going to watch stuff with this thread in mind but I'll post whenever I see something relevant.

Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu; 1953)



The cinematography in this looked absolute beautiful and I really liked Setsuko Hara in this. I felt the themes of family were explored quite well in the film, especially in the second half. The ending was also very good. Definitely one of my favourite discoveries of the year and not something I'll forget anytime soon.

Good Morning (Yasujirō Ozu; 1959)



Thought this was quite solid. The acting is quite good and the film does provide some good laughs. Overall quite enjoyable but I liked Tokyo Story a lot more.
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Kewl, thanks for popping in Yam and you can come and go as often or as little as you like in here, thread was started with the hope that some might just drop in as and when appropriate if they felt inclined to do so. I've not yet got round to any of Ozu's later works myself so can't comment on those two but will say I am looking forward to doing so at some point immensely.



Tky no onna
[Woman Of Tokyo]

Yasujir Ozu
1933

Silent drama (three-quarter hour duration) depicting the selflessness of a sister in supporting her (presumably) younger brother and the tragic consequences of the extent of that selflessness being brought out into the open.

Whilst fairly well acted and for the most part nicely enough directed imo the tale would have benefitted from being fleshed out a little more - although the story is hardly complex there is precious little time given to building any rapport and empathy for the sister Chikako, and for me that sadly does lessen any impact of the piece overall.

Whilst there are undoubtedly some nice directorial touches throughout the film sadly it doesn't always have the same lovely flow to proceedings as some of his other early works (such as I Was Born, But... or A Story Of Floating Weeds) and I can't say the inclusion of the reporters in the closing stages to add a little extra social commentary worked that well for me.

Woman Of Tokyo was apparently made on a rather tight schedule and sadly imo that does show in the end product, meaning I can't give it more than a
+



Weird is relative.
Koto no ha no niwa
[The Garden Of Words]

Makoto Shinkai
2013

Animated drama/romance that lacks a little in emotional heft but is certainly a visual treat at times.
I watched this last year. It was a nice little story despite its simplicity.

In real life, it would be rather troubling for a woman in her late 20s to become romantically involved with a boy in his mid-teens, but since this is anime it can get away with it.

I do agree that it could have been fleshed-out more, and that the animation was beautiful nonetheless.



I agree that Woman of Tokyo is not that great, but it kind of marks the beginning of Ozu's more mature compositional style. David Bordwell goes into great detail in his book about all of the directing and editing decisions Ozu made shot-by-shot.

Personally I hope you get to watch Dragnet Girl sometime, which Ozu also directed in 1933. It's a gangster love-drama, with uneven narrative quality, but very stylish, even un-Ozu like. Kinuyo Tanaka gives an outstanding performance, and the ending is among my favorite sequences in all of Ozu's oeuvre.



I agree that Woman of Tokyo is not that great, but it kind of marks the beginning of Ozu's more mature compositional style. David Bordwell goes into great detail in his book about all of the directing and editing decisions Ozu made shot-by-shot.

Personally I hope you get to watch Dragnet Girl sometime, which Ozu also directed in 1933. It's a gangster love-drama, with uneven narrative quality, but very stylish, even un-Ozu like. Kinuyo Tanaka gives an outstanding performance, and the ending is among my favorite sequences in all of Ozu's oeuvre.
If I get the chance to watch Dragnet Girl I certainly will, gradually working my way through as much early Ozu as I can find atm so as long as I can locate it somewhere safe it'll get a viewing.



I have When The Last Sword is Drawn on dvd. Remember quite liking it, but I liked the directors film Departures more. Have you seen that one Chyp?

In the same tone, I thought Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honour were better, specially the first one. Worth seeing.



I have When The Last Sword is Drawn on dvd. Remember quite liking it, but I liked the directors film Departures more. Have you seen that one Chyp?

In the same tone, I thought Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honour were better, specially the first one. Worth seeing.
Pretty sure When The Last Sword Is Drawn was my first from Takita Christine. I've put a moratorium on buying any more dvds for a while on myself (I've already got quite a few I've not yet watched) but if I can find Departures legally available somewhere online or Film4 decide to give it an airing I'll certainly give it a spin sometime.

Funnily enough I do have Yamada's The Twilight Samurai on dvd awaiting a watch sometime and did pull it out as a potential view for this month - but I think herself wants to watch that one with me and as she's literally just left for a couple of weeks in Copenhagen in the past few minutes it sadly won't be as part of Japuary now.



ah right well you'll have to let me know what you think when you get round to seeing Twilight Samurai. I'm trying to think where I saw Departures now, I'm thinking it may have been at The Watershed here in Bristol as they always run films from the Japan Foundation touring festival. I don't think I've got it on dvd.

Thinking about what to watch for Feb now



Will certainly try to remember. I'll probably only watch one more for Japuary which will be a Kurosawa.

Debruary might be a relatively quiet month for me in terms of this thread - I've only one film lined up that I own with maybe a couple more already on DVR that might fit the bill, any other watches for it will be pretty much on the fly as and when I come across them.



Watched Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa, 1980) this afternoon but struggled to find the words to write it up properly. It's a decent enough watch which is quite beautiful in places but also not without its issues imo. For me some of the scenes of conflict don't really work that well, especially the attack on Takatenjin which feels more like a ballet than a battle and is too drawn out. Tatsuya Nakadai is excellent in his dual role though and outside of the scenes of conflict the tale is managed well imo.



Chypmunk, as your Japuary draws to a close, besides the silent Ozu I recommend like Dragnet Girl and An Inn in Tokyo, here are some films that I've been meaning to watch:


Pale Flower (1964)



Ryo Ikebe plays a professional gambler and hitman who gets into a relationship with a pyscho-chick gambler (Mariko Kaga) in this yakuza masterpiece.





Woman in the Dunes (1964)



Highly acclaimed erotic new wave film in which a man becomes trapped in a desert with a mysterious woman. According to Roger Ebert, never has so much sand been filmed so effectively, not even in Lawrence of Arabia.


Pistol Opera (2001)



Seijun Suzuki's surrealist follow-up to his earlier Branded to Kill (1967). Makiko Esumi plays "Stray Cat", the #3 ranked assassin, who gets into battles with her competition, all trying to kill each other and become the new #1.





Nice of you to pop back in Arigatō-san.

Pale Flower is one I've been looking to pick up for quite some while now on dvd but options appear to be limited and the price thus far has proven prohibitive (Criterion dvds have little to no resale value over here so I am very loathe to buy them). I might end up seeing if I can find a legal copy online at some point.

Woman In The Dunes is very good, you really should give it a whirl.

Pistol Opera sounds interesting but probably won't be one I'll get round to any time soon tbh.