Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Japan Film Noir

October 14, 2008


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Japan’s prolific detective and criminal movie production remains largely unknown in the West. Product of an obvious process of importing foreign literary and movie genres, principally American, Japanese film noir could seem like something of an anecdote in the history of Nippon movies. But Japan skilfully endowed its detective stories with a “national touch”: the gangster sense of honour, the patient research work carried out by the police, the torment of the outcast criminal or the portrayal of a society badly hit by post-war chaos were all subjects expressing the many concerns and anxieties suffered by Japanese psychology.

The Japan in Black retrospective permits an overview in this parallel history of a Japanese cinema unscreened at Western film festivals and clubs, yet enthusiastically consumed by local audiences. It will include movies about subjects ranging from the itinerant gamblers (batuko) of the silent period to the boom experienced by gangster movies post-WWII, the important contributions made by moviemakers like Akira Kurosawa or Shohei Imamura or the significant incursions of excellent directors from the period of Japanese modernity (Nagisa Oshima, Mashahiro Shinoda, Hiroshi Teshigahara) who used criminal intrigue to make subversive, highly personal films. And we will particularly focus on the moment of splendour enjoyed by yakuza eiga (Japanese gangster movies) in the 60s, with an enormous output of reels about heroic, solitary gangsters; and on the decade of the 70s, when yakuza eiga took on a more realistic aspect.

But Japan in Black will consider other expressions of film noir: criminal melodrama or the adventures of hardboiled detectives in the purest tradition, not forgetting the interesting revival enjoyed by the genre since the 90s thanks to directors like Takeshi Kitano, Takashi Miike, Takashi Ikii or Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

43-film retrospective ‘Japanese Film Noir’ combines classics, current trends and new discoveries

The Japan in Black retrospective featured at the upcoming edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival will include 43 films from every period of Japanese film history and the different paths the genre has taken so far.

Japan in Black will include silent era movies by Daisuke Ito, classics by Akira Kurosawa and Shohei Imamura, and new trends from Japanese film noir which are having a profound influence on modern filmmaking around the world. Films by names such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Masato Harada, Takashi Miike and Takeshi Kitano come together in what will probably be one of the genre’s most ambitious showcases.

A number of specialists and devotees will be coming to San Sebastian to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about a special kind of film noir now enjoying a period of revival. Theater Of Life: Hishakaku (Jinsei Gekijo – Hishakaku, 1963) by Tadashi Sawashima and Big Time Gambling Boss (Bakuchi-uchi: Socho Tobaku, 1968) by Kosaku Yamashita are just some of the new discoveries that will be featured in Japan in Black, a retrospective that will draw some of today’s most talented filmmakers to San Sebastian.

Chuji tabi nikki / A Diary of Chuji’s Travels
A Diary of Chuji’s Travels • Daisuke Ito

Oatsurae Jirokichi goshi / Jirokichi The Rat
Jirokichi The Rat • Daisuke Ito

Keisatsukan / A Police Officer
A Police Officer • Tomu Uchida

Hijosen no onna / Dragnet Girl
Dragnet Girl • Yasujiro Ozu

Nora inu / Stray Dog
Stray Dog • Akira Kurosawa

Kyatsu o nigasu na / I Saw The Killer
I Saw The Killer • Hideo Suzuki

Harikomi / Stake Out
Stake Out • Yoshitaro Nomura

Hateshinaki yokubo / Endless Desire
Endless Desire • Shohei Imamura

Karakkaze yarô / Afraid To Die
Afraid To Die • Yasuzo Masumura

Taiyo no hakaba / The Sun’s Burial
The Sun’s Burial • Nagisa Oshima

Ankokugai no taiketsu / The Last Gunfight
The Last Gunfight • Kihachi Okamoto

Hakuchuu no buraikan / Greed in Broad Daylight
Greed in Broad Daylight • Kinji Fukasaku

Buta to gunkan / Pigs and Battleships
Pigs and Battleships • Shohei Imamura

Zero no shoten / Zero Focus
Zero Focus • Yoshitaro Nomura

Tengoku to jigoku / High and Low
High and Low • Akira Kurosawa

Jinsei Gekijo – Hishakaku / Theater of Life: Hishakaku
Theater of Life: Hishakaku • Tadashi Sawashima

Yaju no seishun / Youth of the Beast
Youth of the Beast • Seijun Suzuki

Kawaita hana / Pale Flower
Pale Flower • Masahiro Shinoda

Abashiri bangaichi / Abashiri Prison
Abashiri Prison • Teruo Ishii

Showa zankyoden / Brutal Tales of Chivalry
Brutal Tales of Chivalry • Kiyoshi Saeki

893 Gurentai / The 893 Gang
The 893 Gang • Sadao Nakajima

Koruto wa ore no pasupoto / A Colt Is My Passport
A Colt Is My Passport • Takashi Nomura

Bakuchi-uchi: Socho tobaku / Big Time Gambling Boss
Big Time Gambling Boss • Kosaku Yamashita

Moetsukita chizu / Man Without A Map
Man Without a Map • Hiroshi Teshigahara

Minagoroshi no reika / I, The Executioner
I, The Executioner • Tai Kato

Shinjuku maddo / Shinjuku Mad
Shinjuku Mad • Koji Wakamatsu

Nora-neko rokku: Sekkusu hanta / Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter • Yasuharu Hasebe

Junko intai kinen eiga: Kantô hizakura ikka / Cherry Blossom Fire Gang
Cherry Blossom Fire Gang • Masahiro Makino

Joshuu 701-Go: Sasori / Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion • Shunya Ito

Jingi naki tatakai / Battles Without Honor And Humanity
Battles Without Honor and Humanity • Kinji Fukasaku

Jingi no hakaba / Graveyard Of Honor
Graveyard of Honor • Kinji Fukasaku

Inugamike no ichizoku / The Inugami Family
The Inugami Family • Kon Ichikawa

Taiyo wo nusunda otoko / The Man Who Stole the Sun
The Man Who Stole the Sun • Kazuhiko Hasegawa

Yaju shisubeshi / The Beast To Die
The Beast To Die • Toru Murakawa

Gokudo no onna-tachi / The Yakuza Wives
The Yakuza Wives • Hideo Gosha

Sono otoko kyobo ni tsuki / Violent Cop
Violent Cop • Takeshi Kitano

Waga jinsei saiaku no toki / The Most Terrible Time In My Life
The Most Terrible Time In My Life • Kaizo Hayashi

Gonin • Takashi Ishii

Onibi / Onibi – The Fire Within
Onibi – The Fire Within • Rokuro Mochizuki

Gokudo kuroshakai / Rainy Dog
Rainy Dog • Takashi Miike

Hebi no michi / Serpent’s Path
Serpent’s Path • Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Baretto Baree / Bullet Ballet
Bullet Ballet • Shinya Tsukamoto

Kinyû fushoku rettô: Jubaku / Jubaku: Spellbound
Jubaku: Spellbound • Masato Harada