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Japan 2020’s Akira Kurosawa Collection – 5 Must-See Movies


For more information on BFI Japan 2020, click here

To view Japan 2020 on BFI Player, click here


BFI Player’s Japan 2020 season is now live, with two first rate collections to keep you occupied during lockdown. One focusses on Japan’s most famous filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, and features 21 films from the 30 he made in a career spanning six decades. The other showcases classics of Japanese cinema across the decades – click here for details on that one.

People most likely know the name, but as the years tick by the audience for Kurosawa’s films inevitably dwindles. Which makes Japan 2020’s collection essential… for many reasons.

Chiefly, Kurosawa movies are dazzling. As important, they still seem fresh and accessible to modern eyes.

Kurosawa was the first ...

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BFI Player launches Japan 2020 in May



Japan 2020, a six month event showcasing over 100 years of Japanese cinema, is live now on BFI Player.

Collections on Akira Kurosawa and classic Japanese movies are available to watch, with more to follow in June through October.

The Tokyo Olympics are postponed until 2021, and possibly beyond. The chances of travelling to and from the Isle of Wight let alone Japan this year are wobbly. So, the fact the BFI are going ahead with the season is great news in a miserable time.

Safely escape lockdown for £4.99 a month (and two weeks free trial) by journeying through over one hundred years of Japanese cinema from the comfort of your living room.

Classics of Japan’s Golden Age and films that rocked the studio system...

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Napping Princess

Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Writer: Kenji Kamiyama

Cast: Mitsuki Takahata, Yosuke Eguchi

Cert: PG

Running time: 110 mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: A high school girl bound for university relies on her dreams to make sense of the real world when her father is arrested.

What’s the verdict: Ambitiously running two parallel plotlines, one in the real world, one in dreamland, Kenji Kamiyama’s Napping Princess could be considered tween-Inception.

In 2020, days before the Tokyo Olympics, Kokone (Takahata), a plucky high-schooler, dreams herself as Ancien. Ancien is the princess of a largely mechanised fantasy realm, threatened by a Godzilla type monster emerging from the nearby sea.

When Kokone’s father (Eguchi) is arrested by a huge corporation ruled by Kokone’s maternal grandfather, s...

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Genocidal Organ

Director: Shûkô Murase

Writer: Shûkô Murase (screenplay), Project Itoh (novel)

Cast: Yûichi Nakamura, Takahiro Sakurai, Sanae Kobayashi

Cert: 15

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2017




What’s the story: In 2022, five years after terrorists detonated a nuclear device in Sarajevo, civil war has become widespread. Clavis Shepherd (Nakamura), member of US Special Forces, discovers a reason for this violence may lie with the elusive American John Paul (Sakurai) and the hunt is on.

What’s the verdict: Brutal and bleak, Shûkô Murase’s Genocidal Organ is a chillingly believable view of future warfare.

Ambitious sci-fi, its source novel comes from the late Satoshi Itoh, who wrote this, Harmony and The Empire of Corpses under the pseudonym Project Itoh before dying aged 34...

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Shell-Praiser: A Defense of Ghost in the Shell

SPIRITED REIMAGINING

(Spoiler warning: key plot points from Ghost in the Shell 2017 revealed in this feature)

Mired in whitewashing accusations since 2015 when Scarlett Johansson was announced in the lead. Subject of sustained online fan fury. Mediocre US box office Paramount Studios acknowledged was partly due to this controversy.

Is now a good time to admit I’m a fan of this incarnation of Ghost in the Shell? A reason for this being because of how it addresses its own casting and the surrounding debate? Please give me time to outline the case for the defence.

From Masamune Shirow’s 1989 manga, to Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime, its 2004 sequel Innocence, the Solid State Society and Arise spin-offs, Ghost in the Shell is constantly evolving and reworking its themes.

Themes of identity flu...

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Ghost in the Shell – The Electric Shadows Podcast

Episode 21 of The Electric Shadows Podcast sees Rob Daniel & Rob Wallis tackling the controversial live action remake of Ghost in the Shell. The two review the film’s merits and flaws, before discussing the whitewashing scandal surrounding the film and the way it is addressed within the plot. Could this be the first podcast in which our intrepid podcasters significantly disagree?  You’ll have to listen on… although you can skip to 1:01:30 to hear our (differing) opinions on the controversy this film has attracted.

To check out Rob Wallis’ movie writings, head over to www.ofallthefilmsites.com

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Director: Rupert Sanders

Writers: William Wheeler, Jamie Moss, Ehren Kruger (screenplay), Masamune Shirow (manga), Kazunori Ito (1995 movie)

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Danusia Samal, Michael Pitt, Rila Fukashima

Cert: 12

Running time: 107 mins

Year: 2017



What’s the story: In New Port City, a Far Eastern metropolis of the future, Major (Johansson), a human brain planted into a cyborg shell after a terrorist attack, is a front-line soldier in the city’s counter terrorism unit. A cyberhacker killing high ranking personnel at technology company Hanka is her greatest threat to date.

What’s the verdict: Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell, based on Masamune Shirow’s manga, hit Hollywood influencers with...

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A Silent Voice

Director: Naoko Yamada

Writer: Reiko Yoshida (screenplay), Yoshitoki Oima (manga)

Cast: Mayu Matsuoka, Saori Hayami

Cert: 12

Running time: 129mins

Year: 2016 



What’s the story: Deaf schoolgirl Shōko moves to a new elementary school, but the bullying she receives, particularly from class delinquent Shōya, causes her to transfer. Years later in high school, Shōya vows to make amends with Shōko.

What’s the verdict: A smash hit in Japan, A Silent Voice may have a harder time winning over us cynical Brits. But stick with it and you’ll be charmed long before the luxurious 129-minute running time has elapsed.

For those who balk at excessive displays of sentiment, the opening twenty minutes will be toughest to traverse...

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2016 – Rewind And Re-View

2016. We’ll not dwell on what an awful year it was. Suffice to say there was a lot happening in the movie world, some of it bad, some of it rather wonderful. Here is Electric Shadows’ take on the year in film.

As is customary, we’ll begin with…


WORST FILM OF THE YEAR – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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OfAllTheFilmSites.com editor Rob Wallis and myself begun The Electric Shadows’ podcast this year. For said podcast we have spent approximately 12 hours watching or discussing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “Visionary” director Zack Snyder’s superhero magnum stinkus is mean-spirited, miserable, ugly, incoherent and fundamentally misunderstands its two titular heroes...

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The Best Films of 2016

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Oh 2016, you terrible year. What general miserableness was foisted upon us these past 12 months. Providing a light in the gloom were movies released this year; a great selection from which it was difficult to draw a top 10. But, we managed it and proudly present what we regard as the year’s best releases.

Before we get to that list, firstly a shout-out to those films that skirted the Top 10 but which didn’t make it in.  Ironically, we couldn’t find room for Room, Green Room, or The Keeping RoomCaptain America: Civil War was the only summer blockbuster worth bothering with, but again didn’t make the grade. Elvis & Nixon, The Nice Guys, Bone Tomahawk, The Hateful Eight, Creed. We salute you, but there were still 10 movies we placed above them.

Here they are – in reverse order as is cus...

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