Currently browsing the "Japanese" category.

Battle Royale

I am sure that most of you have heard of or read or watched The Hunger Games by now, but when it came out on the screen, I read a lot of posts that questioned its originality and referred to the Japanese movie Battle Royale, which came out in 2000, as the first of the kids battling kids to the death flicks. So I put it in my Netflix queue and pretty much forgot about it, but then it appeared in my mailbox and I had to watch and see if the comparisons were in fact fair.

Ikiru 生きる & Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles 千里走单骑

I rented two films this week that coincidentally both center on older men and fractured relationships with their grown sons. Why do so many men and their fathers have such stormy relationships? Is it a testosterone thing? Of course it makes for good drama, though I am not sure men go out of their way to see films that remind them that their machismo gets in the way of a close bond. (We’ll leave the mother-daughter thing for a later time.) Ikiru 生きる, “To Live” (1952), a classic from Kurosawa, deals with a career bureaucrat finding out that he has only 6 months to live, who when he realizes that his own son is not there for him, goes out to find meaning elsewhere. Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles 千里走单骑 (2005) by Zhang Yimou is about a Japanese fisherman finding out that his son who is dying of cancer doesn’t want to see him, so he goes to China to shoot a folk opera his son had planned on filming and ends up getting involved in another father’s and son’s relationship.