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  • Kyoto, My Mother's Place

    Kyoto, My Mother's Place

    ★★★★½

    As much a portrait of his mother—who, as it is eventually revealed, was not a Kyoto native—as it is a document of the former imperial capital's sociocultural and historical ethos, this intimate and poignant work by Nagisa Ôshima also traces the roots of his own conflicting views about the place which had a formative influence on his life and art.

    Judiciously employing old photographs, classical paintings, kabuki art, interviews with his maternal uncle and his mother's Kyoto-born highschool friends, and…

  • 100 Years of Japanese Cinema

    100 Years of Japanese Cinema

    ★★★★

    This may come as a surprise to some, especially Jonathan Rosenbaum who found it "comical" that he was assigned the task in the first place, but Nagisa Ôshima was an ideal candidate to helm this entry in the British Film Institute's The Century of Cinema series. Oshima covers quite a bit of ground and somehow manages to include all the important names in the history of Japanese cinema. This is a must-see!

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  • The End of Summer

    The End of Summer

    ★★★★★

    One of the three postwar films Yasujirô Ozu made at a studio other than Shochiku, The End of Summer does contain a few unique elements.

    First and foremost, there's the casting: while there are a few Ozu regulars in the movie, it also features Toho mainstays such as Michiyo Aratama, Keiju Kobayashi, and the irrepressible Reiko Dan, who is perfectly believable as someone who would go out on a date, with a gaijin no less, while her (possible) father is…

  • Early Spring

    Early Spring

    ★★★★★

    Essentially the last of Ozu's marriage-related films (as in films about couples), Early Spring is among the finest I have seen in this sub-genre. Few films have better articulated the minutiae of a slowly eroding marriage, and even fewer have been expansive enough to simultaneously include the realities of the world beyond it—in this case the mundane nature of workplace life—in order to depict its reciprocal effects. At times the film plays like a a more exhaustive version of Naruse's…