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  • A Legend of Turmoil

    A Legend of Turmoil

    ★★★★★

    What a triumph! A (Toei) masterpiece, A LEGEND OF TURMOIL has it all: the relentless action and bloody violence; the quieter, more emotional moments (that scene in which Jinnai Takanori leaves prison, for example, and the scenes featuring the note and letter of Kobayashi’s daughter); some great music; a Kitano appearance (among other heavy-hitters) and an absolutely awesome finale. In short: a perfect yakuza eiga. It all comes together in the commanding performance of Kobayashi Akira who seems to take…

  • A True Story of the Private Ginza Police

    A True Story of the Private Ginza Police

    ★★★★½

    In the same year (1973) Fukasaku popularised the jitsuroku eiga with the first instalment in his BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY series, came Sato Jun’ya’s PRIVATE GINZA POLICE. From the very disturbing first scene the relentless violence kicks in, never to leave the screen. As in the aforementioned Fukasaku films and typical for the genre, there’s the use of voice-over and freeze frames to mark important story events and the action is filmed with a shaky camera. Umemiya Tatsuo’s performance…

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  • Hahaha

    Hahaha

    ★★★★½

    After a month of not logging anything on Letterboxd due to being occupied with writing my thesis, I’m happy to be back. 

    “Cheers!” 

    Two men alternate narrating their experiences in a seaside town. They laugh a lot and there are indeed cheers aplenty. When narrating, the men are shot in black and white; the rest of the film is shot in color. 

    The following three scenes especially caught my attention.

    In the first scene, after having waited outside for a…

  • A Tale of Spring

    A Tale of Spring

    ★★★½

    A philosophy teacher, Jeanne (Anne Teyssèdre), encounters and gets to know a young conservatory student, Natacha (Florence Darel). Jeanne, who needs a place to sleep, stays over at Natacha’s Paris apartment (which is actually her dad’s (Hugues Quester), but since he’s always with his much younger girlfriend, Ève (Eloïse Bennett), he’s almost never there). A friendship develops between Jeanne and Natacha against the backdrop of, or maybe because of, family tensions. 

    Rohmer’s A TALE OF SPRING has a lot of…

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  • To the Ends of the Earth

    To the Ends of the Earth

    ★★★★

    TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, while a travelogue in appearance, doesn’t focus as much on Uzbekistan as it does on its lead actress, Maeda Atsuko. Maeda portrays the introverted TV announcer, Yoko, who’s in Uzbekistan with a small crew (headed by Sometani Shota’s Yoshioko) to shoot an upcoming episode of their travel variety show. When the camera starts rolling Yoko is all joy and smiles. In between those moments she’s sulking in the background, comes across as uninterested or…