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Name: Dan Sallitt
Location: New York, New York, United States

Friday, February 15, 2008

Frivolous Lists: Japan, 1998-2007

A recent blog post by Michael Kerpan made me think about my favorite Japanese films of the last decade. In order of preference:
  1. M/Other (Nobuhiro Suwa, 1999)
  2. Vibrator (Ryuichi Hiroki, 2003)
  3. Sharasojyu (Shara) (Naomi Kawase, 2003)
  4. Gaichu (Harmful Insect) (Akihiko Shiota, 2001)
  5. Yawarakai seikatsu (It's Only Talk) (Ryuichi Hiroki, 2005)
  6. Kanzo sensei (Dr. Akagi) (Shohei Imamura, 1998)
  7. Hush! (Ryosuke Hashiguchi, 2001)
  8. Tony Takitani (Jun Ichikawa, 2004)
  9. Kaza-hana (Shinji Sômai, 2000)
  10. Yurîka (Eureka) (Shinji Aoyama, 2000)

There are countless interesting-looking Japanese films from this period that I haven't seen, so this list is even more frivolous than other lists.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for the wholesale approval we share for Ozu and Naruse, I think our tastes in Japanese cinema are pretty much eternally opposed. I only like EUREKA from that list, a film I saw 8 years ago and recall being a masterpiece...otherwise I'm not with you on some of those titles. And I know you have ongoing concerns with Kurosawa Kiyoshi...


February 15, 2008 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two of my favourite Japanese films made during the last ten years or so are Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-bi" and "Kikujiro no natsu"

February 16, 2008 3:37 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Ach, not a single anime! Ah well.

Belaedly saw your 2007 Toronto festival report. I wasn't bothered so much by the sense of exploitation in Mendoza's Tirador as I was by the amateurish dabbling in noir gimmicks, to convey the urban jungle quality of Manila. Manila as a circle of hell is a time honored genre, practiced by masters such as Ad Castillo, Brocka, Bernal, O'Hara, de Leon. Mendoza does middling well, there. He as you put it does much better with the lower registers.

If he has a specialty, I suspect it's in anthropological observation verite style of a community or social strata.

February 16, 2008 3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention Koreeda's "Wandâfuru raifu" (After Life) A very enjoyable Japanese film from 1998.

February 16, 2008 6:27 AM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Jaime, Peter - the filmmakers you name all interest me, but it's true that I haven't had a big breakthrough with them yet. Sometimes I think that I'd like to see K. Kurosawa as a genre director for hire: my problems with him seem to have to do with the way he constructs stories.

Noel: I actually haven't seen much anime. Are there any Mendoza films you especially like? It's true that the Filipino films I've been able to see generally don't make Manila look like a tourist attraction.

February 17, 2008 10:42 AM  
Anonymous chris wells said...

Dan, do you have any idea where I can track down M/OTHER -- or, for that matter, Suwa's 2 DUO or A PERFECT COUPLE? I've been eager to see all three for a while now.

February 19, 2008 4:29 PM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Chris - I'm dying to see 2/Duo myself. (I was rather disappointed in A Perfect Couple, actually.) As for M/Other, check your email....

February 19, 2008 11:09 PM  
Blogger Michael Kerpan said...

I've seen six of the 10 films on your list, Dan. And at least 2 (maybe 3) would make it onto a top 20 (or 25) list. Limiting myself to only 10 picks from the last decade would be a fairly painful endeavor.

That said, there are some films that would have to be on any list of 10 -- and Gaichu is right up near the top of those essentials.

February 27, 2008 8:21 PM  
Blogger Michael Kerpan said...

The shortest list I could come up with. Curiously, nothing from 2004, maybe I'm forgetting something.

Moe no suzaku / Suzaku (Kawase, 1997)

Wandâfuru raifu / After Life (Kore'eda, 1998)

Hôhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun / Our Neighbors the Yamadas (Takahata, 1999)

Ôsaka monogatari / Osaka Story (Jun Ichikawa, 1999)

Yurîka / Eureka (Aoyama, 2000)

Gaichu / Harmful Insect (Shiota, 2001)

Distance (Kore'eda. 2001)

Tokyo Marigold (Jun Ichikawa, 2001)

Haibane Renmei (Abe et al, 2002)

Tasogare Seibei / Twilight Samurai (Yamada, 2002)

Dolls (Kitano, 2002)

Joze to tora to sakana tachi / Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Inudou, 2003)

Sharasojyu / Shara (Kawase, 2003)

Kôhî jikô / Café Lumière (Hou, 2003)

Linda Linda Linda (Yamashita, 2005)

Operetta tanuki goten / Princess Raccoon (Suzuki, 2005)

Toki wo kakeru shôjo / The Girl who Leapt Through Time (Hosoda, 2006)

Sakebi / Retribution (Kurosawa, 2006)

Ashita no watashi no tsukurikata / How to Become Myself (Jun Ichikawa, 2007)

February 27, 2008 9:27 PM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Michael - I've seen only about half of the films on your list. I'm glad to see that Jun Ichikawa has impressed you so often - I know only Tony Takitani among his films.

Moe no suzaku would definitely have made my top-ten list, except that it fell outside my designated decade.

February 28, 2008 8:21 AM  

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