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  • Ginza Cosmetics

    Ginza Cosmetics

    ★★★★½

    Ginza Cosmetics is one of three so-called "comeback" films set in urban environments (the other two were Dancing Girl and Meishi) released in 1951. It is the story of a few days in the life of a single bar hostess, Yukiko (Kinuyo Tanaka) with a young son. It prefigures one of his better known films, When a Woman Ascend the Stairs (1960) starring Naruse regular Hideko Takamine, which is also about the struggles of a high class bar hostess in…

  • The Teahouse of the August Moon

    The Teahouse of the August Moon

    ★★

    The Teahouse Of The August Moon (1956) is very much a product of its time. It features Marlon Brabndo as Sakini a Japanese- Okinawan interpreter-perhaps one the most egregious casting choices in film history on par with Charlton Heston as a Mexican government official in Touch of Evil. To his credit he spent two months studying local culture, speech, and gestures and, for the actual shooting, spent two hours daily having make-up applied to make him appear Asian. However, they…

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  • Poetry

    Poetry

    ★★★★★

    Chang dong Lee's Poetry is a beautiful and powerful film. It has been considered one of the best of the 2010, so I've been meaning to see it for some time. Much of this film success lies in Jeong-hie Yun's performance as a grandmother with limited means raising her grandson, working part time taking care of a stroke victim, while trying to achieve some sort of personal fulfillment by taking a poetry class at a local community center. Her simple…

  • Shoplifters

    Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (2018) has been getting a lot of critical praise starting with its Palm D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It's another mediation on family life in modern Japan. A ragtag bunch of outcasts survive together day by day on the fringes of society until a series of tragedies unravel the tenuous connections between the make-shift family. The strength of the film lies in the great ensemble acting, it is one of the best films of the year for me.