Japanese Films/Themes by Title
|Title||Call ID # ||Description
|Ghost in the Shell||DVJP 800
||Mamoru Oshii': Japanese (English subtitles) 30 Mins. 1995. Mamoru Oshii's futuristic animated masterpiece, Ghost in the Shell, is the perfect film to experience on Digital Video Disk. Ghost in the Shell took the world by storm in 1996, introducing a new wave of Japanese animation through its mesmerizing cinematic expression. A movie that questions our own human existence in the fast-paced world of the information age, this remarkable, award-winner, cyber-tech thriller has gone on to become one of the leading Japanese animation films of all time.
|Golden Demon||VJP 302
||Koji Shima: Japanese (English subtitles) 91 Mins. 1953. This spectacular film explores the destructive effect of wealth on today's society. Kan-ichi, an orphan with no money loses Myia, the woman he loves, when her parents arrange a marriage to a rich playboy. Distraught and bitter at his rejection, Kan-ichi vows never to become vulnerable again. Blaming the Golden Demon for his loss, he devotes himself to the pursuit of great wealth, soon developing the reputation as a ruthless moneylender. When Myia's loveless marriage breaks up, she searches out her once-lover only to find that his new found property has changed him.
|Grave of the Fireflies||DVJP 804 A
||Isao Takahata: Japanese (English Subtitles) 88 Mins. 1992.
In the aftermath of a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children's lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring. Grave of the Fireflies is a tale of the true tragedy of war.
|Grave of the Fireflies
||DVJP 804 B
|| Isao Takahata: English. 71Mins. 1992. Interviews & Documentary
-Interviews with director Isao Takahata and author Akiyuki Nosaka.
-Interview: Film Critic Roger Ebert
-Author Biography: Akiyuki Nosaka
-Director Biography: Isao Takahata
-Historical Perspective: Commentary by Professor Theodore E. Cook &
Professor Haruko Taya Cook
-Video Restoration Documentary
-Original Japanese Theatrical Trailer
||Mitsuo Yanagimachi: Japanese (English subtitles) 120 Mins. 1985. Based on actual events, the setting is an exemplary village of old Japan. When a developer comes to this fishing community to propose a tourist park, only the lumberjack Tatsuo opposes him. At once nature's mystic voice and amorous despoiler, Tatsuo embodies the spiritual link to nature that the community must sacrifice in order to prosper. Tatsuo's decisive moment comes during the annual Fire Festival, a celebration that is said to go back two thousand years.
|Hiroshima Mon Amour||VFR 309
||Alain Resnais: French (English subtitles) 90 Mins. 1959. From the beginning, in which the love-making of a French actress (Emanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) is inter-cut with newsreel footage of Hiroshima's atomic holocaust and its aftermath, to the couple's painful walk through the reconstructed city, Resnais' film recaptures both the pain and the richness of the war.
||Kira Kurosawa: Japanese (English subtitles) 160 Mins. 1985. Akira Kurosawa's brilliantly conceived re-telling of Shakespeare's King Lear magically mixes Japanese history, Shakespeare's plot and Kurusawa's own feelings about loyalty in the epic masterpiece, RAN. Set in 16th century Japan, an aging ruler, Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai), announces his intention to dive his land equally among his three sons. This decision to step down unleashes a power struggle between the three, when Hidetora falls prey to the false flattery bestowed upon him by two older sons and banishes the youngest when he speaks the truth. The ruthless betrayal ultimately drives Hidetora insane, destroying his entire family and kingdom. Deep human emotion and out-standing acting combine to create one of the most acclaimed foreign films of all time.
|Returner||DVJP 805||Takashi Yamazaki: Japanese (Chinese and English Subtitles) 117 Mins. 2002. Miyamoto, an orphan, a "Returner" - a solitary killer-for-hire. In a mission he comes across Mizoguchi, a big brother in the black market, who killed Miyamoto's childhood best friend. A gun fight starts, Mizoguchi slips away as Miyamoto mistakenly shoots a young girl Milly, who comes from the future. Staying alive, Milly gets Miyamoto involved in her mission, a must-complete in only 2 days and for one more reason they don't know - Mizoguchi. Donated by Neil Hong.|
||Iroshi Inagaki: Japanese (English subtitles) 105 Mins. 1958. A classic film of unrequited love, starring Toshiro Mifune as a feisty rikisha puller who helps raise a young boy after the father has died, loving the boy's mother from a distance that class cannot cross. Winner of the Venice Film Festival Grand Prize.
|Seven Samurai (Part I)
||DVJP 803 A
||Akira Kurosawa: Japanese (optional English subtitles) B&W, 103 Mins. 1954. A desperate village hires seven samurai to protect it from marauders in this crown jewel of Japanese cinema. No other film so seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action. Featuring Japan's legendary star, the great Toshiro Mifune, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is an inspired epic, a triumph of art, and an unforgettable three-hour ride.
|Seven Samurai (Part II)||DVJP 803 B||Akira Kurosawa: Japanese (English Subtitles) 104 Mins. 1954. One of the most bleoved movie epics of all time, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire seven out-of-work warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride-featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura- seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.|
|Seven Samurai (Part I & II)||VJP 305 A&B||Akira Kurosawa: Japanese (English Subtitles) 208 Mins. 1954. Seven Samurai -an extraordinary tale of adventure, romance, humor, and suspense- has been hailed by critics worldwide as on of the best films of all time. Set in 16th-century Japan, the plot revolves around seven mercenaries hired to defend a peasant community against marauding bandits. When the samurai arrive, a spectacular series of battles begins. Kurosawa's innovative use of slow motion, a rapidly motion camera, and long-lens photography captures the ferocious conflict. But this is far more than a stupendous action film; Kurosawa's classic is also remembered for its timeless themes of personal bravery and the indomitability of the human spirit.|
|Shall We Dance?
||Masayuki Suo: Japaness (English subtitles) 119 Mins.
The irresistible comedy treat that has critics and audiences cheering all across America. A middle-aged wprkaholic's incredibly dull life takes a funny turn when he signs up for a ballroom dance teacher. But when he finally muscles up the nerve for lessons, he winds up with a different instrutor and her colorfully eccentric class of beginners. And now he'll have to slep lightly.
||Juzo Itami: Japanese (English subtitles) 114 Mins. 1987. One of the funniest, most enjoyable satirical comedies is this treasure of a movie the plot of which, loosely, concerns the quest of the perfect Japanese noodle.