Tag Archives: Japan

Seven Samurai and a momentous year for Japanese cinema

Thanks to John Oleszkiewicz for recommending our film this time around – the wonderful Seven Samurai from director Akira Kurosawa. We were initially alarmed by the film’s weighty 207-minute running time, but I can safely say that I enjoyed every goddamn minute – and in fact I wanted to watch it again as soon as it finished. Great recommendation.

As we discuss in the podcast, 1954 was a pretty special year for Japanese cinema, with the release of both Seven Samurai and the influential Godzilla, both from the studios of Toho. The two couldn’t be more different, but both went on to receive numerous remakes and had a huge impact on popular culture. Yet just four years earlier, neither film could have been made under the strict censorship rules of the American occupation force in Japan.

The podcast is mostly spoiler-free, but we do spend the last couple of minutes talking about the ending – listen out for the awooga warning if you want to avoid spoilers.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Seven Samurai DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 085 – Seven Samurai

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  Akira Kurosawa Year of release: 1954 Studio/Distributor: Toho Country: Japan

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Redline is an anime roller-coaster ride

After a now-customary lengthy hiatus, here we are with another piping hot cup ‘o podcast, our mellifluous voices poised to sluice through your ears and soak your thirsty brain with ill-informed opinions about a film we’ve only just watched. And Redline is an absolute cracker of a film that may have snuck beneath most people’s noses.

But this podcast very nearly didn’t make it off Ian’s computer and into your aural cavities. In fact, this was our second attempt at it, after the first, finished podcast unceremoniously disappeared from Ian’s aforementioned laptop, a victim of the gremlins that of late have plagued Ian’s cursed machine. A New Year podcast we recorded at the start of 2017 disappeared in a similar fashion, dampening our spirits and partially explaining why we didn’t have the heart/couldn’t be bothered to record any podcasts this year.

But at least we have ONE podcast for 2017. And hopefully more to follow very soon. At this rate we’ll definitely reach 101 by the time our kids have left home. Enjoy.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Redline DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 084 – Redline

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  Takeshi Koike Year of release: 2009 Studio/Distributor: Madhouse/Tohokushinsha Film Country: Japan

Princess Mononoke: Definitely Probably The Best Anime Ever Made

This week we’ve struggled through the fearsome heat in our ‘recording studio’ to bring you a podcast about, by our reckoning, the best animé ever made: Princess Mononoke. Admittedly, I somehow ended up saying it’s ‘definitely probably the best animé ever made’ in the podcast (which, let’s face it, doesn’t even make sense), but in retrospect I feel we can upgrade that rather wishy washy statement to ‘definitely’. And if you disagree… well, you’re welcome to, it’s a free society after all.

I saw Princess Mononoke for the first time around 10 years ago, and it was this film that inspired me to hunt out and watch the entire output of Studio Ghibli, which, if you’re not familar with it, is sort of like the Japanese Disney, but with more violence and general weirdness. It seems natural to compare Studio Ghibli to Disney in the sense that they’re both exceptionally important and well-respected animation companies in their home countries, but beyond that their films really have very little in common: I doubt you’d see someone having both their arms shot off in a Disney film, for example.

But aside from the violence, the major difference between Princess Mononoke and the output of Disney is the sheer weight of story. The director and writer Hayao Miyazaki (if you will, the Walt Disney of Japan) doesn’t shy away from introducing ambiguity into the characters, and we end up with a complex web of character interactions in which it’s difficult to clearly delineate the ‘good’ characters from the ‘bad’. It’s quite a refreshing change from dumbed down Hollywood tales of the lone hero wreaking ‘justice’ on his one-dimensional ‘evil’ foes.

Visually too, the film is a cut above your usual animation, and there are some truly breathtaking sequences involving the gods of the forest, along with some epic battle scenes. It’s one of those films that really sticks in your mind for years afterwards. If you haven’t seen it, rectify this oversight immediately.

Thanks to Lara and Sam for recommending the film, and thanks to everyone who’s written in with their recommendations so far – we’ll make sure to read them all out in our upcoming podcasts. Ian’s away next week, meaning we’ll be back in a couple of weeks’ time, so until then we’ll leave you with this week’s feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 031 – Princess Mononoke

OR subscribe on iTunes by clicking on the link below:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki Year of release: 1997 Studio/Distributor: Studio Ghibli Country: Japan

I have to say, it’s incredible. You really look like a woman! Does make-up make men beautiful?

It’s the old, old story. Blind masseur comes to town, does a bit of gambling, meets a cross dresser and his/her sister and then brutally murders dozens of criminals. How many times have we heard that tale? And this is the plot of this week’s film, Zatoichi. Cliché! Still, the 101 Films boys found a lot to like in this, the first listener recommended film!

Without further ado, here’s this week’s feature presentation… Click below:

Or download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 020 – Zatoichi

OR subscribe on iTunes by clicking on the link below:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog.

Director: Takeshi Kitano Year of release: 2003 Studio/Distributor: Bandai Visual, Tokyo FM, Dentsu, TV Asahi, Saitō Entertainment, Office Kitano Country: Japan

Podcast 020: Zatoichi

It’s the old, old story. Blind masseur comes to town, does a bit of gambling, meets a cross dresser and his/her sister and then brutally murders dozens of criminals. How many times have we heard that tale? And this is the plot of this week’s film, Zatoichi. Cliché! Still, the 101 Films boys found a lot to like in this, the first listener recommended film!

101 Films Podcast 020 – Zatoichi