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WARNING: "High and Low nitpicking" spoilers below

He mortgaged everything he had in order to raise 50 million for the extra stock he planned to buy, so with only 20 million left after paying the ransom, he had no way to pay back the loan since everything now belonged to the creditors.

Gondo mentioned leveraging the company's cash flow, but I don't remember if that was to pay off the rest of the purchased stock (with the 50 million being a down payment) or if that was part of his loan as well. While it's not outright stated in the film, it is possible that he was buying stock above its actual value, because the sellers would know how much power those shares had in regards to the company's management.

Regardless, he had no authority to use company money to pay off his mortgage because he wasn't a majority shareholder without those extra stocks, and now his colleagues were banding together to vote him out. So by paying the ransom he would have no job and no assets, but millions of yen worth of debt.
Maybe I just don't understand how that sort of economics work but on common sense my issues are:

1) Isn't mortgage supposed to be only for the value of the loan? If so how could he lose more than double the value in stocks plus his house and everything else? Or did he take his loan from Yakuza or something?

2) I never got the impression that he was paying overprice. He was the only person aware of his plans and presumably the people he bought from didn't care about managing the company (or else they wouldn't have sold). Only people ever mentioned regarding that power struggle are Gondo, "old man" and the trio.

3) Of course he couldn't pay his loan with company money (couldn't do that even as a majority shareholder, I'd presume) but there shouldn't be any problem in selling his shares to someone else. He was being voted out of the company management but they can't vote away his share of the stock.

4) Also how was he supposed to pay back his debt in full so soon anyway? By paying the ransom he failed in his plans concerning the company but he still had 20 million left and later regained majority of ransom back as well. I don't see any realistic payback plan that he couldn't meet with the remaining 20 million + returned ransom + 32% shares.

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Kamikaze Girls

This movie... is not really for me. That kind of cute smarmy jello humor I just can't get into. I get it that the movie a lot of times mocks both stereotypes of our two main characters, but most of the scenes are just cringe inducing. I actually liked both characters, especially the Lolita Girls. But the movie did nothing with them. The character development was either non existent or jumped randomly (such as the "punishment" biker gang scene wtf). The humor was hit or miss, sometimes actually worked. I really liked the opening, it was odd and delightful. Kind of fell apart from there, but, ah well .I'm not saying it's a horrible movie, and I didn't hate it, but not very good either.

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Warning: Spoilers for High and Low below.

Okay, I just rewatched a couple of scenes to double check the details.
Of course he couldn't pay his loan with company money (couldn't do that even as a majority shareholder, I'd presume) but there shouldn't be any problem in selling his shares to someone else.
The 50 million for the 19% shares he was buying was just a down payment, and he would still owe two thirds. When asked how he planed to pay the other 100 million, he said he would get it "once he gained control of the company". So obviously he was planning to use company money to pay off something. Since the president and other directors were informed about his hostile takeover thanks to Kawanishi, they would have no reason to help Gondo by buying some of his stock because they want him to fail. It would definitely take too long to find an outside buyer for his shares, assuming another businessman would even want to buy so many shares in a company whose sales have stagnated.

Also how was he supposed to pay back his debt in full so soon anyway? By paying the ransom he failed in his plans concerning the company but he still had 20 million left and later regained majority of ransom back as well.
He would originally have had longer to the pay off the loan. He was paying only the interest during the investigation, however once the creditors learn that he is about to lose his job, and the police still haven't returned the ransom money, they return his interest payment and tell him he has to pay the loan back in full or they're foreclosing on his property because they're worried they won't get their investment back. The police ultimately did not get the money back in time because Gondo's belongings were already being auctioned off at that point.



The 50 million for the 19% shares he was buying was just a down payment, and he would still owe two thirds.
15% but anyways this must have gone by me (I was bit frustrated during the first act so maybe I wasn't paying enough attention).

He would originally have had longer to the pay off the loan. He was paying only the interest during the investigation, however once the creditors learn that he is about to lose his job, and the police still haven't returned the ransom money, they return his interest payment and tell him he has to pay the loan back in full or they're foreclosing on his property because they're worried they won't get their investment back. The police ultimately did not get the money back in time because Gondo's belongings were already being auctioned off at that point.
This sort of loan arrangement feels really odd from modern perspective but like I said I have no idea how such big scale finances work (or worked in 1960s Japan). And still this doesn't remove my issue of him losing 32% shares just because he failed to pay back a loan that was meant according the above to be just a down payment for 15% (in other words the whole loan was worth 5% in shares and somehow his creditors took 32% + his house and everything else).



Warning: Spoilers for High and Low:

this must have gone by me (I was bit frustrated during the first act so maybe I wasn't paying enough attention).
It's approximately 16 minutes into the film, during the conversation where Gondo explains his plan to his wife and Kawanishi.

And still this doesn't remove my issue of him losing 32% shares just because he failed to pay back a loan that was meant according the above to be just a down payment for 15% (in other words the whole loan was worth 5% in shares and somehow his creditors took 32% + his house and everything else).
He doesn't lose the shares, but they are irrelevant because he would not be able to sell them over the course of the investigation. It took him months to raise the money for the down payment on the stock he was planning to buy, and it involved leveraging everything he owned (including the clothes on his back, according to him). For someone to buy those shares, they would need to be incredibly rich, or have a reason to want some control over National Shoes.

The other directors do not need his shares because after Kawanishi's betrayal, they agree to work with the president against Gondo, and together they control 46% of the company. As I stated before, an outside businessman would not have much interest in spending so much money on a shoe company unless it was insanely popular and profitable. We know from the first scene in the film that this is not the case. Sales have stagnated, which is why the other directors want to make stylish but incredibly cheap shoes.



He doesn't lose the shares, but they are irrelevant because he would not be able to sell them over the course of the investigation. It took him months to raise the money for the down payment on the stock he was planning to buy, and it involved leveraging everything he owned (including the clothes on his back, according to him). For someone to buy those shares, they would need to be incredibly rich, or have a reason to want some control over National Shoes.

The other directors do not need his shares because after Kawanishi's betrayal, they agree to work with the president against Gondo, and together they control 46% of the company. As I stated before, an outside businessman would not have much interest in spending so much money on a shoe company unless it was insanely popular and profitable. We know from the first scene in the film that this is not the case. Sales have stagnated, which is why the other directors want to make stylish but incredibly cheap shoes.
That's not how stock markets work as far as I know. Unless the whole shoe business was going bankrupt his 32% would have had rather considerable value. The trio and "old man" clearly had differences on how to run the company so it would seem natural that either party could have interest in those shares. And if all else fails he could just sell cheap to some investor and still get rather nice amount of money to start over (definitely not be poor and forced out of his house). Also as large stock holder he'd still get dividends from his shares.

Also everything in the film seems to indicate that the company is rather big business so having some temporary issues in sales isn't gonna make it worthless. The trio was just looking for bigger and faster profits, not trying to save it from going under. In my opinion it still doesn't make sense how the events of the film render Gondo a poor man.



Warning: Spoilers for High and Low:

In my opinion it still doesn't make sense how the events of the film render Gondo a poor man.
In the long run, he would not be penniless, but in the short term he was going to lose his capital, his house, all the family's possessions, and the job he's so proud of. There would be no way to sustain his family's standard of living, so they would have to make due with far less for an unknown amount of time. The security net that he had built for his family's future would also be gone, and his integrity would be ruined by failing to pay his debt on time.

At the end of the film we see that Gondo is doing alright for himself despite losing his house and possessions, and has even started his own smaller shoe company, but had the ransom money not been returned, he may have been in a different situation. It would depend on what kind of returns he was getting from National Shoes, and whether or not the other directors' plans to produce poor quality shoes was going to hurt the company in the long run (which Gondo believed it would).

We don't see how poorly he was actually forced to live in between the end of the investigation and the final scene, but he still did lose everything he had worked his entire life to build.



After accidentally turning on a 2017 animated film called Fireworks earlier (no I don't know how I made that mistake ), I've successfully managed to watch the correct film, Hana-bi.

Since I'm going to be busy all day tomorrow, I'm hoping to get something written tonight. If not, it'll have to wait until Monday. I'll probably go with Harakiri next, though I should probably double check that I have the right film first haha.





Hana-bi / はなび (1997)
Directed by Takeshi Kitano
Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Ren Osugi, Kayoko Kishimoto

Hana-bi is an unconventional film with a disjointed narrative that is initially difficult to engage with. However as the film progresses and the pieces start falling into place, it's much easier to follow and enjoy. Many early scenes cannot fully be appreciated until later on, so revisiting the first act in particular will likely make the film feel much more coherent. The more you reflect on those earlier sequences, the more sense they start to make. While the end credits rolled I read a chronological breakdown of the plot, which I think helped complete the film's overall picture.

Although the pieces of art that are frequently shown are not to my personal taste, most of them contain very interesting symbolism, as well as themes that tie into the story - though as expected, their relevance isn't always immediately clear. The camera doesn't just linger on these images either, as it likes to stay in place after the action of a shot has already passed. Events often happen while the camera is focused elsewhere as well, leaving the audience looking at nothing in particular. It's a strange choice, but it is definitely at home with the film's overall melancholic tone.

There are moments of light-heartedness to be found, mostly in the last half of the film. I'm not sure if it was intentionally humorous or not, but I did find Nishi's lack of dialogue at the start to be amusing, since he says maybe all of two words in the first act, yet everyone around him continues talking and assuming how he feels, while he's just sat there with the same stoic expression. The only aspect of Hana-bi that didn't grow on me was the music. I disliked it during the opening credits, and still disliked it at the end. I assume it was going for some kind of contrasting tone with the events of the film, but it just never sounded right to me.

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No Love Exposure or Battle Royale?
These two are perennial favorites of western movie buffs but I think we should have usually movies that people have not watched before for a HoF.



A Hen in the Wind (1948)



This is the most brutal Ozu movie I ever watched. Other Ozu's movies tend to be more about psychological issues rather than concrete issues but in this case, it is a full-blown melodrama. Of course, being pre-Late Spring this is not quite the Ozu we all know as Ozu which was defined by Late Spring (kinda like Iron Maiden was defined by Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind , but I digress). However, it certainly feels much more like Ozu than anything else: the guy's style is truly singular although it tends to be rather repetitive in the sense that all his movies have similar settings and are usually low key drama.

We also have a lot of typical Ozu elements in this movie such as the low camera shoots and the frontal shots of talking heads instead of the standard shoulder perspective you see in movies. We still do not have in full maturity Ozu's quintessential element in his style of filmmaking: pillow shots. After Ozu invented the technique during his classic period it is now used in Japan for everything it even shows up a lot in comic strips.

Still, the overall consistency and quality of direction is something to take note of as it is far superior to the typical contemporary Japanese film. Overall, it is Ozu so if you don't like it you are a heretic!



These two are perennial favorites of western movie buffs but I think we should have usually movies that people have not watched before for a HoF.
I've said this before but I disagree.

Definition of Hall of Fame: an institution praising achievements of an individual or group.

I'll stand by that.

Or we can change name to Hall of You Might like it, hate it, think it's so-so. Which yeah, you might anyways.



High and Low

High and Low is a really solid film that could be a masterpiece if it would just cut about thirty minutes. Yes, this movie is entirely too long, and that detracts quite a bit from the amazing story it has to tell. The investigation scene where every group stands up and "presents"... God, that bored me half to death. I thought it would never end.

But there's nothing else I really disliked about this movie. It was simply fantastic. It was a twist on the film noir, with elements of thriller and crime, too (which film noirs often have anyways). This is my first Kurosawa movie, and so far I like him as a director. I hope not all of his films are as excessively long as this one, though. At least he made up for it in the last scene, which was simply amazing. Reminded me of Parasite, and I think many of the themes in Parasite are the same as this one. I think Parasite is a better movie (funnier, more concise, better characters), but High and Low is still great.

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A Hen in the Wind



Ozu focuses in on a family of 3 with the father away and the mother left to deal with a sick child and a tough decision if how to deal with it. I like Ozu's decision not to show anything in screen because what happened could have persuaded the viewer one way or another into how they felt about the mother. She seemed like she would do anything for her son and that was seen to be true.

Honestly I think she did a great job acting and I also thought the father did as well. There were some heartbreaking moments such as her telling him about their son getting sick and him retracing where she had gone to.

But I like how the story if human fragility came together at the end and how the two move on to forgive each other for what they have done. Even though they both committed pretty serious strains to their relationships. A moving story though certainly. Perhaps Ozu's most under rated film.






Harakiri / 切腹 (1962)
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentarō Mikuni, Akira Ishihama

Unlike many of the popular films set in the Edo period, Harakiri is not a glorification of the samurai, Bushido code, or of feudal Japan. It is instead a tragic story about honour and hypocrisy, and while it clearly condemns the empty traditions and hollow symbols associated with its setting, its themes transcend both that period of time and the culture associated with it. Assumptions related to particular characters change as more information is revealed, making Harakiri a very interesting story to watch.

The film itself is gorgeous, with striking cinematography and fantastic sets. Individual shots are framed brilliantly, and help to set the mood of each scene. Much of the story is told through flashbacks, with Saito recounting Chijiiwa's story, and Tsugumo presenting his own, with very little action taking place throughout. However the main duel that is shown is rife with tension, and the larger scene towards the end is choreographed well.

Tatsuya Nakadai is great as Tsugumo, a character who is practically the polar opposite of the one he played in The Sword of Doom. While it is clear that he was aged with make-up, it wasn't really that distracting, and his performance more than made up for it regardless. I'm sure that more can be read from the film, given that the samurai displaced by the shogunate were from Hiroshima, and that new weapons appear during the last action sequence, but the politics and illusion of honour shown throughout the film are clearly the key thematic elements, and I enjoyed them thoroughly.


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That just leaves me with Kamikaze Girls, and After Life - both completely new watches for me. I'll probably see them in that order, so that my first and last write-ups are of Kore-eda films.

This has been a great HoF so far, but it's going to make ranking these nominations quite difficult haha.



I've got two left as well, Harakiri and The Third Murder. Very excited for Hara-kiri.