The first of our collaborations with the BFI Japan season focuses on what is generally regarded as a masterpiece of cinema: Yasujirö Ozu's Tokyo Story (1953). In many ways, a simple story of grandparents visiting their children in the city, but one that gradually builds on the resentments and disappointments of intergenerational alienation. Dario and Neil discuss the film in terms of its status in 'the canon', its reverence as Ozu's finest work in a prolific career, and as arguably the purest distillation of the auteur's thematic and formal concerns. A masterclass in directorial precision and visual composition that both registers as a distinct piece of cinematic art but equally, immerses the viewer into its film world where situations and character relations play out in subtle but profound ways.
Dario and Neil also discuss some of the other films they have watched in the BFI Japan season so far, including Mikio Naruse's Floating Clouds (1955) and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960). Again, these are films that are painted on the canvas of post-war Japan but focus on the uncertain status and role of women with both featuring the superb Hideko Takamine in the leading role. Very different are Takeshi Kitano's violent, Nihilistic thrillers Violent Cop (1989), Boiling Point (1990) and Sonatine (1993). Visceral gripping, and bleak they are riveting examples of Japanese cinema made with an American B-movie sensibility. And for some trashy fun look no further than 'king of the monster movies' Ishiro Honda: Mothra (1961), Dogora (1964) & Godzilla v King Kong (1962) can all be found on Amazon Prime.
Neil also reviews a new series of Bela Lugosi films based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe and released by Masters of Cinema: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935).
This is our final episode of Season 11, we thank you for the continued support and hope you rejoin us back in the autumn.
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