Battleswithouthonour

“[Battles proves to be] one of the most gripping and enthralling yakuza narratives ever made [and lets the spectator] enjoy the struggles [beyond any kind of heriosm] of the warring yakuza families of post-war Hiroshima”

Introduction

If one hears or reads the name of Kinji Fukasaku (深作欣二, 1930–2003), one irresistibly associates it with yakuza eiga – even though he tried his hand at other genres like the jidai-geki genre and ended his career with grossly entertaining Battle Royal (2000). The association with yakuza-eiga is, of course, no surprise at all. When, in the seventies, the popularity of the Toei’s formulaic ninkyô eiga [chivalry eiga] started to decline, it was the realistic approach, an approach he already used in the sixties, of Battles without honour and humanity that pioneered the Jitsuroku eiga sub-genre [actual record films].

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Introduction

Even though Yosuke Fujita’s first film success dates from 1986, when he won the grand prize in the 8mm Torino Film festival with “Tora”, audiences had to wait till 2008 before he would release his first full-length feature film. During those “empty” years Fujita-san worked at the Otona keikaku, a comedy troupe founded by Suzuki Matsuo – another notable name originating from this troupe is Kankuro Kudo.

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The light shines only there shows powerfully the difficulty as well as the power that is to be found in human relations and underlines, that, in fact, the light shines only there”

Introduction

Despite having only directed four cinematographical products – Sakai-ke no shiawase (2006) being her first, and a segment in Quirky Guys and Gals (2011), The Light Shines Only There (2014), her third full-length featurecemented Mipo O’s reputation as one of the most promising directors in Japan. Reason enough for Psycho-cinematography to review this narrative closely from a psychoanalytic perspective and see whether The Light Shines Only There (2014) truly deserves all the recognition it has received.

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Kuroneko/Yabu no naka no kuroneko (1968) review

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Introduction

Any self-respecting cinematography enthusiast should know the name of Kaneto Shindo (1912-2012). As a director, he brought us narratives like Children of Hiroshima (1952), the naked Island (1960), and Onibaba (1964) and, as a screenwriter, he wrote dozen of scripts other well-known directors like Kon Ichikawa (1915-2008), Keisuke Kinoshita (1912-1998), Yasuzo Masumura (1924-1986), Fumio Kamei (1908-1987), Kōzaburō Yoshimura (1911-2000), and Tadashi Imai (1912-1991). As such, it is only logical that psycho-cinematography reviews masters of Japanese cinema, such as Kaneto Shindo. In this article we review his horror narrative Kuroneko (1986).

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Mono no aware: An addendum to Umimachi diary in springtime

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“The poetry of Yamato has one 􀂝heart􀂞 as seed and myriad words as leaves. This
kokoro is the one that knows mono no aware.” (In preface of Kokinshū, see note 1).

An Introduction for springtime.

The Sakura trees are blossoming, the casket of nihonshu has been broken, the time to enjoy Ohanami with friends, lovers, and/or family has come. As I enjoyed this year’s Ohanami, I was surprised when I started to reminiscence a scene of a cinematographical narrative I have reviewed some months ago.

The movie in question was Umimachi diary and the scene, as shown above as banner, was the springtime bicycle scene. Apart from the apparent connection of springtime, one might wonder why I want to revisit this narrative. The main reason is to elucidate the signifier “mono no aware” I introduced in the conclusion and to “reinterpret” some of my writings on this fantastic movie.

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