Yasujiro Ozu Collection – The Gangster Films (BFI)

The BFI have done wonders over the last few years in highlighting and promoting the work of Yasujirô Ozu to potential new viewers in the UK.  Their Ozu collection is gradually filling in the many gaps within his work available in Region 2 and he is now perhaps the most represented Japanese director in the Region 2 DVD market outside of Akira Kurosawa.  Ozu’s work … Continue reading Yasujiro Ozu Collection – The Gangster Films (BFI)

The Persistance of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 2 (Ozu’s Floating Weeds)

Click for Part 1. Asian Values and Floating Weeds (Music by Saito)[i] Ozu’s later films are perhaps more grounded in the traditions of the Japanese family unit.  Their drama comes from an apparent change in value systems (often a systematic change to more western values) or the opposite of this where characters are bound rigidly by Asian tradition and are desperate to escape.  The music … Continue reading The Persistance of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 2 (Ozu’s Floating Weeds)

The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 1 (Ozu, Tradition and Silent Film)

The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores. Introduction The scores and music produced for Japanese cinema highlight a constant change of values within the country; a relationship rarely mirrored so accurately in the cinema of anywhere else.  Whereas the film scores of other countries can be looked at as a product of the trends and studio directions, the evolution and changes found within the … Continue reading The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 1 (Ozu, Tradition and Silent Film)

My Neighbour Totoro – Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

No other film produced by the Studio Ghibli animation company has come to define the studio in its creative aims and ideals more than its 1988 film My Neighbour Totoro directed by Hayao Miyazaki.  Not only is the company now represented by the images of the creatures found in the film, it is the perfect blend of naive idealism and alternative animation with the depth and … Continue reading My Neighbour Totoro – Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)

Last week saw the passing away of one of Japan’s greatest and most forward thinking directors to appear in the country’s golden age of cinema.  At the age of 100 Kaneto Shindo was still going strong having only made his last film in 2010 as well as his much overdue retrospective starting at BFI Southbank being mere days later, it seems his life was one … Continue reading Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)

Kwaidan – Masaki Kobayashi – (1964)

Thanks to films like Nakata’s Ringu and Shimizu’s Ju-On (The Grudge), Japanese horror is part of the popular pantheon of horrific cinema.  Many ghost films of the West borrow heavily from these two films but because of their enormous success, it seems that Kaiden (Japanese ghost stories) of the past are often overlooked for their more thrillingly modern counterparts. Looking past this injustice, it can be stated that Masaki … Continue reading Kwaidan – Masaki Kobayashi – (1964)

Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu (1953)

Tokyo Story is one of those films that always comes up in “greatest films ever made” polls and probably always will, yet ask even regular film fans and half have never heard of it never mind it’s genius of a director Yasujiro Ozu. This is a sad case for a film held in such high esteem in critic circles yet it’s a trend that will probably … Continue reading Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu (1953)