Tag Archives: Japanese cinema

Issue 72: Fortresses

Fortresses: Hidden, black, ancient, high-rise and alternative

This month we are proud to present a 35mm screening of Michael Mann’s rare 1983 film The Keep in collaboration with Cigarette Burns at the Prince Charles in London on 21 February. This is the occasion for a look at fortresses on film, with reviews of The Keep, Akira Kurosawa’s feudal Japan tale The Hidden Fortress and housing project-set shocker Citadel, an interview with Citadel director Ciaran Foy, a feature on alternative fortresses and a Comic Strip Review of Time Bandits. And we also have a Reel Sounds column on the Tangerine Dream soundtrack to Michael Mann’s Thief.

Continue reading Issue 72: Fortresses

Issue 65: Mutations

Mutations: Metal men, werewolf girls, freaks and hybrids

July is all about mutations as the East End Film Festival presents brand new restorations of Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s cyberpunk landmark Tetsuo: Iron Man and its sequel Tetsuo II: Body Hammer. We also a feature on Prometheus and panspermia and reviews of David Cronenberg’s tragic horror movie The Fly, John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps, in which a misfit teenage girl’s struggles with puberty and fitting in are played out as werewolf transformation, and Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect, about an obsessed man dying of cancer. In Alter Ego, Tom Pollock is Jurassic Park‘s Dr Henry Wu and our Comic Strip Review is on Italian techno Western The Legend of Kaspar Hauser, starring Vincent Gallo.

Continue reading Issue 65: Mutations

Issue 64: Sion Sono

Sion Sono: Social earthquakes, secret cults and strange perversions

The release of Himizu, a powerful manga-adapted teen drama set in post-tsunami Japan, is the occasion to take a closer look at the work of maverick director Sion Sono. We have an interview with Sono and a review of Exte: Hair Extensions, as well as previous reviews of Guilty of Romance, Cold Fish, Love Exposure and Suicide Club.

Continue reading Issue 64: Sion Sono

Issue 62: Manga Adaptations

Crows Zero

Manga Adaptations: Tackling Fukushima, delinquent school boys and vengeful women

As the Terracotta Festival presents the UK premiere of Sion Sono’s Himizu this month, using a comic to tackle the fallout from Fukushima, we take a look at manga adaptations with Takashi Miike’s stylised, violent high school movie Crows Zero, Toshiya Fujita’s 70s revenge tale Lady Snowblood: Blizzard from the Netherworld, Korean manhwa vampire Western Priest and SF actioner Gantz while the Reel Sounds column focuses on Ichi the Killer.

La Grande Illusion, Aki Kaurism&#228ki’s light-hearted fable Le Havre, Pablo Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place, Norwegian crime thriller Headhunters, revisionist Western Blackthorn and striking Austrian debut Breathing, about an ex-convict. In DVDs, we look at Pasolini’s The Gospel according to Matthew, Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Tree and Peter de Rome’s erotic gay films.

We have an interview with French director Dominik Moll for The Monk, adapted from Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel. In Short Cuts we report back on the Flatpack festival, in Alter Ego Darran McCann is George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life and the Dominion of Canada column looks at ice hockey movies.

Roee Rosen: Vile, Evil Veil: Israeli artist, writer and filmmaker Roee Rosen talks about his first UK solo exhibition Vile, Evil Veil, which consists of the installation Live and Die as Eva Braun, exploring the life of Hitler’s lover in the bunker at the end of the Second World War, and the film Out (Tse), which stages a sado-masochist exorcism between a queer left-wing activist and a possessed ultra-nationalist woman. Rosen discusses the dynamic of power in human relationships, both personal and political, the importance of the victim/victimiser dichotomy in Israeli identity and how to exorcise the demon in all of us.

Issue 55: Twisted Romance

Red White & Blue

Twisted Romance: Awkward love, destructive desires, murderous tenderness

September films are full of heartbreak and misshapen affection, starting with Terrence Malick’s glorious rural tragedy Days of Heaven and on with Sion Sono’s perverse melodrama Guilty of Romance, Post Mortem‘s love in the time of dictatorship, and deadly jealousy in La piscine, and we have a Comic Strip Review of Black Heaven. We interview Simon Rumley about his unpredictable murder ballad Red White and Blue and Athina Rachel Tsangari about offbeat Greek drama Attenberg.

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, gender drama Tomboy and Kevin Smith’s Red State are out in cinemas as well as some of the FrightFest hits: gritty crime thriller Kill List, mountaineering terroriser A Lonely Place to Die, enjoyable horror comedies Troll Hunter and Tucker & Dale vs Evil, and Lucky McKee’s controversial The Woman.

In the DVDs, we interview Ruggero Deodato and review his classic shocker Cannibal Holocaust, Masaki Kobayashi’s savage samurai epic Harakiri, Dario Argento’s Cat o’ Nine Tails, Peter Jackson’s celebrated Heavenly Creatures and provocative documentary Children of the Revolution, and we look at TV series The Story of Film.

Reel Sounds is on Sound of Fear, Peggy Sue pick their favourite films, and in Alter Ego David Flusfeder is drawn to Red River. The Dominion of Canada column honours the memory of film-loving politician Jack Layton. We have a feature on the dos and don’ts of an indie filmmaker and in the Blog, we preview Raindance and report on Venice and FrightFest.

Secret Societies – part 2: In a companion piece to our May podcast on Secret Societies, we have a panel discussion recorded in the atmospheric confines of a Masonic Lodge on Liverpool Street in London as part of the East End Film Festival, including talks on Jack the Ripper, witches’ covens and religious cults in film.

Issue 54: The Art Theatre Guild of Japan

Funeral Parade of Roses

The Art Theatre Guild: The creative explosion of Japanese independent cinema in the 1960s

In conjunction with the BFI and Close-Up seasons, we focus on The Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG), which became the centre of a vibrant independent filmmaking scene in the late 60s. We have articles on Teshigahara’s ghostly coal mining drama Pitfall, Masao Adachi’s surreal dreamscape Galaxy, Funeral Parade of Roses, a stunning gay take on Oedipus, Buddhist incest tale This Transient Life, Lost Lovers, a portrait of post-war youth, and cine-poem Silence Has No Wings. Our Reel Sounds column focuses on Fluxus associate Yasunao Tone’s soundtrack for Galaxy.

In new cinema releases we review Muslim punk band movie The Taqwacores, acclaimed Japanese drama Villain, Lee Tamahori’s Uday Hussein dramatisation The Devil’s Double, James Marsh’s documentary Project Nim and Pedro Almod&#243var’s latest, The Skin I Live In, as part of our report on the Karlovy Vary festival.

New DVDs include Bill Morrison and J&#243hann J&#243hannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns, offbeat Romanian vampire mystery Strigoi, Mamoru Oshii’s intriguing anim&#233 Musashi, Chris Marker’s La jetée and Sergei Paradjanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates and we have a Comic Strip Review of Uruguayan horror film The Silent House. In Alter Ego, Nick Lake is blind swordsman Zatoichi. Our Dominion of Canada column returns with a look at male layabouts in Fellini’s I vitelloni and we preview the London Animation Festival.

Kosmos: Russian scholar Sergei Kapterev (Institute of Cinema Art in Moscow) talks about Soviet science fiction, the connection between SF cinema and politics, the impact of the space race and the importance of Andrei Tarkovsky. Plus, in a Q&A recorded at SCI-FI-LONDON in 2010, Alex Fitch talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and SF writer/journalist Wojciech Orli&#324ski about cinematic adaptations of the work of Stanislaw Lem.

Issue 36: Bloody Ballet

The Red Shoes

Bloody Ballet: Bewitched ballerinas, dancing vampires and enchanted pumps

This month we explore the dark and supernatural side of ballet on film with articles on Suspiria, The Red Shoes and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary.

New cinema releases include Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs and Japanese debut Asyl, which centres on an unusual ‘love hotel’ in Tokyo. We examine how Takeshi Kitano confronts his ‘Beat’ Takeshi persona in the long-awaited Takeshis’ to offer an iconoclastic dissection of fame. We also have a profile of veteran cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky. In our blog, we discuss our favourite Hitchcock blondes in anticipation of the Blonde Crazy retrospective at Birds Eye View next month and we have reports on the Berlinale and the Himalaya Film and Cultural Festival.

In the DVD section, we review Fritz Lang’s unsurpassed classic M and Craig Baldwin’s conspiratorial history of Scientology Mock Up on Mu. We look at Kim Longinotto’s Gaea Girls and Shinjuku Boys, two documentaries on women living on the margins of Japanese society. We have a comic strip review of Asian Horror: The Essential Collection box-set. And as part of our exploration of online movies, we look at David Lynch’s website.

In Short Cuts, we have a report on the 7th London Short Film Festival, which once more offered many memorable moments, while in our Alter Ego column Welcome to Mars author Ken Hollings tells us why he would be Astro Boy if he was a film character. Finally, quirky pop genius Lightspeed Champion picks his favourite films in the Film Jukebox.

PODCASTS: Alex Fitch interviews celebrated actress Susannah York about her career, focusing on her performances in war-themed productions and her interest in peace activism.

Issue 35


The cinematic year is off to a promising start with some excellent new releases. First off is Breathless, an explosive, unforgettable South Korean drama about the unlikely love story between a gangster and a school girl – an absolute must-see. Also worthy of attention are John Hillcoat’s stunningly bleak adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Jacques Audiard’s accomplished gangster saga A Prophet, as well as Mexican new wave gem I’m Gonna Explode, a fresh take on the young lovers on the run storyline. We have an interview with Stuart Hazeldine, director of cerebral thriller Exam while the testosterone-overloaded British gangster drama 44 Inch Chest is also out this month.

In the DVD releases we look at Peter Watkins’s 1967 musical/political conspiracy film Privilege starring Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones, and jaw-dropping 70s Japanese bubblegum horror movie House. We also have an interview with Park Chan-wook about his latest film Thirst, released on DVD this month.

Following on from the Sheffied Doc/Fest in November 09, we have an interview with Kazuo Hara about his landmark 1974 documentary Extreme Private Eros. We also talked to Michel Negroponte who explained how he got personally involved in I’m Dangerous with Love, a documentary in which he explores the ‘ibogaine underground’ – drug addicts using a West African hallucinogen as unofficial detox treatment.

In the Short Cuts, we have an article on the London Short Film Festival Rich Pickings event, which explores the Lolita figure through a mixture of short films, music videos and discussions. We review the latest instalment of the Tateshots series of film podcasts, which explores the links between music and art through interviews with musicians such as Billy Childish and Lydia Lunch. Canadian punks Fucked Up are our guests in the Film Jukebox and their frontman Pink Eyes tells us about his 10 favourite films. And finally here’s our pick of the best and worst films of 2009.

PODCASTS: Alex Fitch talks to writer, editor and raconteur Ian Rakoff about his experiences working on The Prisoner.