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Features Live Action Movies

To The Ends Of The Earth (Tabi No Owari Sekai No Hajimari)

Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2019 – Japan – 120m

****

As a Japanese TV journalist works with a Japanese camera crew in Uzbekistan, she meditates on her life and career – from the BFI London Film Festival 2019 and the London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) 2019 – and from Wednesday, November 11th on MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Yoko (Atsuko Maeda) is a TV journalist working with a production company trying to find magazine format stories as they travel around Uzbekistan. None of them speak Uzbek, so they rely on a local interpreter Temur (Adiz Rajabov). When not shooting, Yoko explores the local city.

The prodigious Kiyoshi Kurosawa is best known for his horror films Cure (1997) and Pulse/Kairo (2001) yet has dabbled in a wide variety of genres. This one is, for want of a better description, a travelogue with a hint of a musical. The heroine desperately wants to be a singer, but has found herself in the job of roving TV presenter – not exactly what she wanted to do, but it’s certainly show business. She wonders if she’s lost her way. Her boyfriend Ryo who we never see is a firefighter working back at Tokyo harbour with whom she periodically communicates by text.… Read the rest

Categories
Live Action Movies Shorts

Beautiful New Bay Area Project

Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2013 – Japan – 29m

****

A company director steals a woman worker’s name tag and she fights and kickboxes him and his people to get it back – currently on MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa

A young man (Emoto Tasuku) is president of the company he has inherited from his father. His right hand man encourages him to pitch on a development project on the side of the river. He hangs out on a construction site and watches the workers go about their jobs. He is particularly taken with woman worker Takako (Mita Moa).

So much so that he tries to strike up a conversation with her, but she ignores him. Indeed, she goes out of her way to vanish from his sight to where he can’t find her. So he later in her full view steals her name tag from a board and hides it in his office. He instructs his security that if the woman appears in his building, she is to be thrown out.

That sets up the final ten plus minutes of the short in which to access his office and her purloined name tag she must physically kickbox her way past several guards to fight him for the tag.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Creepy (Kuripi: Itsuwari no rinjin)

Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2016 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 130m

****

Currently on BFI Player as part of 21st Century Japan, MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Eureka Video Dual Format BluRay/DVD.

The following review originally appeared in Funimation UK.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s new crime thriller Creepy draws on Vertigo, Psycho and Audition.

The latest film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa to receive a UK cinema release is an extraordinary and highly original crime thriller with more than a passing nod to two better known Alfred Hitchcock films. Its opening reworks that of Vertigo (1958) while certain later narrative elements owe much to Psycho (1960) although not the parts of that film which are usually aped or recycled in other movies. It also recalls Takashi Miike’s notorious Audition (1999) in its overall structure. Yet despite these clear influences, Creepy is very much its own film.

Vertigo‘s first scene opens with the rung of a ladder grasped moments afterwards by a human hand. This develops into a chase sequence in which the vertigo of Detective ‘Scottie’ Ferguson (James Stewart) causes a cop to fall to his death. Creepy‘s first scene opens with bars over a window.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Journey To The Shore (Kishibe no tabi)

Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2015 – Japan – Cert. 12 – 127m

****

Currently on BFI Player (extended free trial offer here) as part of 21st Century Japan, MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Eureka Video Dual Format BluRay/DVD.

Review published in All The Anime.

Loner Mizuki (Fukatsu Eri) is alone one evening when her husband Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano) appears out of a dark corner into the light as if through a door. There doesn’t seem to be anything odd about this even though as she says, “it’s been three years”. “I’m dead,” he affirms. “In the sea off Toyama. My body’s been eaten by crabs. You wouldn’t find it even if you searched.”

Before departing, the dead come to terms with their death and help those close to them do the same.

This quiet, subtle, underplayed affair works as a gentle romance… Read the rest

Currently on BFI Player (extended free trial offer here) as part of 21st Century Japan, MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Eureka Video Dual Format BluRay/DVD.

Review published in All The Anime.

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Virus Tropical

Director – Santiago Caicedo – 2017 – Colombia, Ecuador – 97m

****

Currently streaming on MUBI: scroll down for the link to subscribe.

Quito, 1976. Paola (voice as child: Martina Toro)is born as the youngest of three sisters, Claudia (Camila Valenzuela) is the oldest and Patty (voice as child: Maria Parada) the middle one. Her father Uriel (Diego León Hoyos) is a Catholic priest supposedly retired from the church but in practice still working. Apart from one daughter’s first communion, we see virtually nothing of his life as a priest. Fairly early on in the narrative he departs for another city to carry on his ministry, leaving his wife Hilda (Alejandra Borrero), the girls and the family housemaid Chavela (Javiera Valenzuela) behind. Although he returns to the family much later on, he is never more than a peripheral figure in what quickly becomes a story of a girl growing up in a mostly female environment.

At home, Paola plays alone with Barbie dolls and a lone Ken while mum struggles with the disobedient Claudia, worried that she’ll ruin her life with the wrong boy. Claudia turns this around to study fashion design in Italy, then unexpectedly marries someone and moves away to the Galapagos Islands at the last minute instead of going to college.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor

Director – Dave Fleischer – 1936 – US – 16m – colour – Oscar nominated

*****

Currently streaming on MUBI.

A rare, two reeler, colour outing for the Fleischer brothers’ Popeye, this removes him from his usual urban environment to an island populated with fabulous monsters – the opening features snakes, lions, a dragon and a vulture before we meet self-proclaimed “The Most Remarkable Fellow”, credited in the cast as Sindbad The Sailor although anyone familiar with other Flesicher Popeye cartoons will recognise him as regular villain Bluto. Sindbad sings a song asking the rhetorical question who this extraordinary fellow is, culminating in Popeye’s voice unexpectedly singing “Popeye The Sailor Man”, from which springs the film’s subsequent dramatic conflict. Talking about a shackled two headed giant Sindbad also references King Kong, released three years earlier and an obvious influence on the remote island with caves and incredible beasts seen here.

(MUBI’s source print print is missing a little bit of the opening credits, so you might want to hit pause on the single credits page detailing the cast before it vanishes after a few seconds. Otherwise, the print is in pretty decent condition.)

When Sindbad sends a giant bird to scuttle Popeye’s ship and kidnap the woman (Olive Oyl), the bird’s take off is animated less like a bird and more like a nineteen thirties aircraft that struggles to leave the ground.… Read the rest