Himatsuri, 1985

On an insular island in modern-day Japan, a band of woodsmen headed by an eccentric, experienced frontiersman named Tatsuo (Kinya Kitaoji) methodically and deliberatively fell trees in careful formation, carving out a progressive swath through the vast forest before ritualistically cleansing themselves at the end of the day at a pristine river overlooking a sacred […]

Eros Plus Massacre, 1969

Like Shohei Imamura’s A Man Vanishes and Nagisa Oshima’s The Man Who Left His Will on Film, Yoshishige Yoshida’s dense and self-reflexive Eros Plus Massacre explores the murky, often turbulent intersection between reality and fiction, history and memory, angst and revolution – the implication of what Yoshida prefaces as the viewer’s “ambivalent participation” – in […]

The Ball at Anjo House, 1947

Filmed during American postwar occupation, The Ball at Anjo House is a curiously atypical Japanese film that hews eerily closer to the privileged, dysfunctional families and moral abandon of The Magnificent Ambersons or a Douglas Sirk melodrama than a Shochiku middle-class shomin-geki: the proud family patriarch, Tadahiko (Osamu Takizawa) who continues to harbor the illusion […]