Sunday, August 25, 2013

What's your all-time favorite Japanese film? | The Japan Times

What's your all-time favorite Japanese film? | The Japan Times

I'm always up for a movie discussion.  I'm no expert on filmmaking, but like a lot of people, I have a whole headful of half-assed opinions I'm not shy about bloviating over in front of my wife or friends.  I probably tire everyone out by pointing out highlights from everyone's acting careers whenever they appear on the screen.  For some reason, I have a mental database full of extensive film credits for thousands of actors.  But I also love other people's opinions on film as well.  This article from the Japan Times is way too short.  More people!  More favorites!

It's fun and interesting to me how many Studio Ghibli films show up here.  It's almost as if Japanese cinema begins and ends with My Neighbor Totoro.  If so, that's a wonderful film to bracket the rest.  The live action films cited are of a surprising vintage rather than something newer like Okuribito (which I haven't seen, although my wife knows I've got something of a crush on Ryoko Hirosue, so much so she watches Hirosue's latest drama then checks the ratings to let me know how low they've fallen).  I haven't seen Hula Girls, but I have seen the similar-in-vaguest-outline Swing Girls!

Anyway, since nobody asked, here's a list of my favorite Japanese films, heavy on the Studio Ghibli.  In no particular order and using the American release titles because I'm a philistine...

Seven Samurai
Swing Girls
Spirited Away
My Neighbor Totoro
Battle Royale
Linda Linda Linda

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I haven't seen that many Japanese movies, but the ones I have seen have made my overall list of world movie favorites as well.  I did read that one book of Donald Ritchie's where he gave an overview of Japanese film history.  It taught me a lot.  One thing it taught me was I have a long way to go if I ever want to have an opinion on film that matters.  Another thing it taught me is I don't watch nearly enough movies.

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