• ノスタルジックな昭和を味わえる人間ドラマ

    [From February Issue 2011]

    Always: Sunset on Third Street (Directed by YAMAZAKI Takashi)

    This movie is set in the middle of Tokyo in 1958 (33rd year of the Showa era) when Japan was in the midst of its rapid economic growth. It was the age when the despairs of war had finally worn off and society began to shift toward convenience. The film portrays the common people who supported each other as they strived to live each day with hopes and dreams for a happy future. This motion picture won many awards including the Picture of the Year and Director of the Year awards for the 2006 Japan Academy Prize. Later, in 2007, the sequel was also produced.

    The construction of the Tokyo Tower is underway amid the nation’s ambition for it to become the world’s tallest. People and products are abundant here in downtown Tokyo where, located on one of its street corners, is “Suzuki Auto.” Mutsuko, who came to the big city following the promise of mass employment, is disappointed that her place of work is such a small automobile repair shop. However, while working as a live-in employee, she gradually discovers that the owner, his wife, and their son Ippei, are all very touching people, and her mood starts to change.

    Across the street from “Suzuki Auto,” CHAGAWA Ryunosuke, who dreams of becoming a novelist, runs a candy shop while also writing stories for boys’ magazine. One night, Hiromi, the mysterious and beautiful local bar owner, asks Chagawa to “look after an acquaintance’s boy.” He agrees to watch the boy named Junnosuke just because this beautiful woman has sweetly promised to “come to check on him sometimes.”

    Although still struggling, Chagawa grows happier inside as he spends more and more time with both Hiromi and Junnosuke. He even borrows some money from Suzuki to buy Junnosuke a Christmas present. Then he asks for Hiromi’s hand in marriage. But his happiness does not last long as Hiromi suddenly closes the shop and disappears. Soon after, some company president arrives declaring to be Junnosuke’s real father, and claims guardianship of his illegitimate child.

    “He is a wealthy man. He’ll buy you anything. I’m so glad I’ll finally get rid of you, you’re such a serious pain in the neck,” Chagawa says with false bravado to Junnosuke, who silently climbs into his father’s car. Chagawa, realizing just how important a part of his life Junnosuke has become, rushes after the fast moving car, but tumbles down. But Junnosuke soon returns and they embrace each other tightly as tears stream down both their faces.

    Hiromi, who has returned to work as a dancer to pay off her debt, is waiting on the rooftop of the theater to appear on stage. She holds up her hand against the glare of the setting sun, imagining the ring Chagawa promised her he would someday buy. The Suzuki family drops off Mutsuko at the train station where she will travel to meet her family for the New Year’s celebration. On their way home, the Suzuki family stops by the riverbank to admire the sunset. “The sunset will always be beautiful; even tomorrow, and the day after, and even 50 years from now,” Ippei says to his parents, who agree. The sunset softly washes over the family, with the freshly completed Tokyo Tower in the background, as the film comes to an end.


    ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日(山崎貴 監督)







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  • 7つのドラゴンボールを探す冒険物語

    [From January Issue 2011]

    Dragon Ball: The Path to Power (Directed by YAMAUCHI Shigeyasu)

    Originally created by TORIYAMA Akira, Dragon Ball is an adventure-story manga that ran in a weekly manga magazine for nearly a decade, starting in 1984. In 1986, Dragon Ball was adapted as an animated TV series, as well as into film. This work was the 17th and final film in the series and released in 1996. In 2009, a Hollywood live-action version was also made.

    Son Goku is a boy with a monkey tail who lives deep in the mountains. His grandfather, Son Gohan, taught him kung fu, giving Goku superhuman skills with matching powers. The story opens with Goku living alone after his grandfather has passed away. He continues to lovingly treasure the orange ball his grandfather left him. Then one day, he is visited by a girl calling herself Bulma.

    Bulma is seeking the seven orange balls, called “Dragon Balls,” of which she already has two. Goku’s ball is one of them and she explains to him that “when you collect all seven of the Dragon Balls and chant a spell, Shen Long (the Eternal Dragon) appears to grant you a wish, but only one.” Goku refuses to give up his Dragon Ball, but agrees to accompany Bulma on her quest as a part of his training.

    Using Bulma’s “Dragon Radar” the two search for the remaining Dragon Balls. Soon after, Oolong, a pig with the power to transform into other animals and objects but only for five minutes, joins their troupe. The threesome fight various enemies including Yamcha the kung-fu bandit and his accomplice Puar, and the notorious Red Ribbon Army. Goku uses his “Nyoi Bou” red fighting stick and his kung fu skills to defeat the barrage of enemies.

    When Goku and his team help a tortoise that was lost in the mountains, find its way back to the seashore, the turtle hermit Master Roshi, an elderly man who lives with the tortoise, appears in front of them. They learn that this hermit is Gohan’s kung fu master. And, to show his appreciation for them helping his turtle, he gives them the flying cloud “Kin-Ton-Un (Flying Nimbus).” Everyone tries, but only Goku succeeds in riding the flying cloud, something only the pure-hearted can do. Goku then also quickly masters the “Kamehameha” (the Turtle Devastation Wave), which took Master Roshi over 50 years to develop.

    By now, Bulma has collected four of the seven Dragon Balls. But, during a battle, when Goku is knocked unconscious, the enemy seizes them all. Bulma and her friends are then taken hostage. After regaining consciousness, Goku tries to fight an army-controlled robot. But he is no match for it and is knocked unconscious again.

    Soon after, Android #8, nicknamed “Eighter,” whose life Goku has saved before, comes flying to his side. Eighter sacrifices himself to save Goku. Regaining consciousness once again, Goku defeats the robot using the “Kamehameha.” They finally retrieve all the seven Dragon Balls and then Shen Long appears. Goku’s wish is to “bring Eighter back to life.” So Shen Long replies, “It shall be so,” as the movie comes to an end.


    ドラゴンボール 最強への道(山内重保 監督)








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  • ゲイ専用老人ホームで描かれるさまざまな愛

    [From December Issue 2010]

    La Maison de Himiko [House of Himiko] (Directed by INUDO Isshin)

    Released in 2005, this film is something of a comedic-drama that’s set in a gay senior home. In it, director INUDO Isshin, who also oversaw the fairy tale, romantic film “Josee, the Tiger and the Fish,” depicts various forms of love, including homosexual, heterosexual, married and parent-child love. Wearing ugly makeup and sporting freckles, popular actress SHIBASAKI Kou plays the daughter who was abandoned by her gay father.

    Saori (Shibasaki Kou) is a clerk at a paint company, who contemplates turning to sex-work in order to repay her debts, when a young man named KISHIMOTO Haruhiko (ODAGIRI Joe) pays her a visit. He claims to be her gay father’s (YOSHIDA Teruo, a.k.a. “Himiko”) lover. She learns that her father, who ditched his family long ago, is suffering from terminal cancer, but she show’s no sympathy stating that “Whether that man’s got cancer and it’s terminal, doesn’t matter to me.”

    Haruhiko then asks Saori if she’s interested in a part-time job. He offers her 30,000 yen a day to help out every Sunday at La Maison de Himiko, the gay seniors home that Himiko, her father, established. Tempted by the money, she visits the seaside establishment. Upon her arrival, she is shocked to find several odd people, including an elderly man wearing a dress and heavy makeup, who talks like a woman.

    Saori is bewildered by being reunited with her father and feels her hatred for him grow even stronger. She reveals to Himiko that she is his daughter, and how she had to borrow money from relatives to pay for her mother’s operation and hospital stay, who eventually died of cancer. When he calmly says that he didn’t know, she yells at him, “Of course not. You are a total stranger!”

    Saori keeps working at the home every Sunday, gradually accepting the gay residents who first disgusted her. She teaches the movements of a female anime character to Ruby, who wants to learn them to please his granddaughter. Wearing a Chinese dress, she also dances with Yamazaki who enjoys wearing women’s clothes. Then, all of a sudden, a company president who supports the home is arrested for tax evasion, putting the home’s future in serious jeopardy.

    Before long, Saori becomes attracted to Haruhiko. He kisses her, but she knows that she cannot have a normal, romantic relationship with a gay man. While her father continues to weaken daily, she eventually confronts him about whether or not he ever missed her, or if he has any regrets about leaving her mother. “I won’t forgive you for what you did to Mom,” she says while glaring at Himiko, who murmurs in return, “I love you.”

    Soon after, Saori quarrels with Haruhiko and the residents over a separate matter and quits her job. Immediately following her departure, Himiko dies. Then, one winter day several months later, the paint company where she works is asked by the home to paint over some graffiti on its wall. Saori accompanies the workers to the home, where the remaining residents all greet her with smiles. The film ends with a final shot of the message “WE WANT TO SEE SAORI” shown across the wall.


    メゾン· ド· ヒミコ(犬堂一心 監督)








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  • 夫を亡くした女性が立ち直る姿を描く人間ドラマ

    [From November Issue 2010]

    Maboroshi no Hikari [Phantasmic Light] (Directed by KORE-EDA Hirokazu)

    This motion picture was adapted from the novel of the same title, written by MIYAMOTO Teru, about a wife who overcomes her husband’s devastating death. It is the first feature-length film for the director, KORE-EDA Hirokazu, and was released in 1995. It is also the film in which fashion magazine model, ESUMI Makiko, launched her acting career. The film has received various national and international awards, including the Golden Osella award at the Venice Film Festival.

    The protagonist Yumiko (played by Esumi), grew up regretting her feelings of helplessness that started when she was 12 years old and her grandmother went missing. Yumiko eventually married Ikuo (played by ASANO Tadanobu) and gave birth to their son, Yuuichi, but remained traumatized by her childhood incident. One day, Ikuo unexpectedly commits suicide and Yumiko is left devastated, without the slightest clue as to why he did it.

    Five years later, Yumiko gets remarried to Tamio (played by NAITO Takeshi), who was a widower and lives with his only daughter Tomoko and his elderly father (played by EMOTO Akira) in a small village on the Noto Peninsula along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Tolerating the harsh winter’s cold, this new family of five start their tranquil lives together as Yumiko gradually gets to know the locals. Then, six months later, she returns to her hometown to attend her younger brother’s wedding ceremony.

    During her stay, Yumiko stops by the apartment that she once shared with Ikuo. As she strolls down memory lane, passing a familiar coffee shop and the factory where Ikuo worked, her feelings towards her lost husband begin to resurface as she dwells on the question of why he committed suicide. Yumiko eventually returns home unable to shrug off these depressing feelings.

    Tamio sees how Yumiko feels. However, Yumiko leaves the house still emotionally confused. She wanders around, heading toward the seaside. Tamio comes to her side where Yumiko confesses that she “still does not know why Ikuo killed himself.” Tamio shares with her, “Fishermen are lured into the sea. They see a beautiful light on the horizon. Probably everyone has a moment like that.” When spring finally arrives, there is new laughter in Yumiko’s family, as the movie comes to an end.

    The park at night, the rainy street, and the village in winter with low clouds all convey the darkness in Yumiko’s heart. There is not much dialogue, and there are hardly any close-ups of any of the characters. This is a quiet piece of work that illustrates the process a person goes through in reclaiming, over time, the desire to live, while also gradually overcoming the grief of losing someone close.


    幻の光(是枝裕和 監督)




    そのついでに、ゆみ子はかつて郁夫と住んだアパートに立ち寄る。喫茶店や郁夫の働いていた工場など、思い出の場所を歩くうち、次第に亡き夫への想いがよみがえる。なぜ郁夫は自殺したのか - ゆみ子は再びそのことを考え始める。沈んだ気持ちを抱えたまま、ゆみ子は帰宅する。



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  • 永遠の命とは何かを問うSFアニメ映画

    [From October Issue 2010]

    Galaxy Express 999 (Directed by RIN Taro)

    This film is based on the science fiction, manga masterpiece written and drawn by artist MATSUMOTO Leiji. It was serialized in manga magazine format for about four years starting in 1977, and was later adapted for an animated television series, a musical and has appeared in many other forms. The film was released in 1979, and was followed by two other movies.

    The story is set on a future Earth, where the hero, HOSHINO Tetsuro, is a boy whose mother is murdered while they travel to Megalopolis. From there, wealthy people become cyborgs, gaining immortality along with mechanical bodies. Some cyborgs hunt humans for fun. One day, Tetsuro tries to steal from a passenger a pass for the Galaxy Express 999, a train that travels between planets, but fails. While fleeing from the police, he is rescued by Maetel, a mysteriously beautiful woman who is the spitting image of his dead mother.

    “I want to get a mechanical body and live an eternal life and travel in the Sea of Stars forever,” Tetsuro tells Maetel, adding that he will also kill Count Mecha, the character responsible for his mother’s murder. But in order to accomplish all this, he needs to board the 999 to the planet where mechanical bodies are given away for free. Maetel offers Testuro a pass for the 999 if he travels with her. And this is how their journey begins.

    Their first stop is Titan where they are attacked by bandits who kidnap Maetel. Given a gun by an old lady, Tetsuro sets out for the bandits’ lair. Antares, the bandit leader, returns Maetel after he finds out that Tetsuro is a human like him. Learning of Testuro’s plan to fight Count Mecha, Antares advises him to, “Shoot before being shot. If you hesitate or flinch, you are done for.”

    Emeraldas, a female pirate whom Tetsuro meets during his journey, informs him that Count Mecha’s Time Castle is located on the planet Heavy Melder. While wandering around planet, Tetsuro meets up with Tochiro, the only son of the lady who gave him the gun. But Tochiro soon dies, having been severely weakened by years of fighting. The villains then suddenly appear and attack Tetsuro. But fortunately he is saved by the pirate Captain Harlock, Tochiro’s best friend.

    After Testuro sneaks into Time Castle, Antares comes to his rescue. Antares then sacrifices his own life to save Testuro, who eventually kills Count Mecha. However, Tetsuro soon realizes that happiness is not just about living forever, and that one can work hard and be considerate and kind to others only when life is finite. With that in mind, he is determined to destroy planet Andromeda, where mechanical people are created.

    Finally, Tetsuro and Maetel arrive on Andromeda where he learns that it is ruled by her mother. Tetsuro feels betrayed by Maetel, who cannot forgive her. With the help of Emeraldas and Harlock, they all destroy the planet and return to the Earth on the 999. Tetsuro bids farewell to Maetel, who sets out on another journey.




    近未来の地球が舞台。主人公は、メガロポリスに向かう途中に母を殺された少年、星野鉄郎。金持ちは機械の体とともに永遠の命を手に入れて機械人間になり、なかには貧しい人間を遊び半分に殺す者もいた。ある日鉄郎は宇宙の惑星を行き来する 999 号の定期券を乗客から盗もうとするが失敗する。警察に追われる鉄郎は、死んだ母そっくりな謎の美女メーテルに救われる。






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  • 村の診療所の医師がついたあるうそ

    [From September Issue 2010]

    Dear Doctor (Directed by NISHIKAWA Miwa)

    This motion picture was released in June 2009. It is the third feature-length film by director NISHIKAWA Miwa. She also wrote the script which won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Screenplay. SHOFUKUTEI Tsurubei who is a rakugo-ka (comic storyteller) and a popular TV personality, played the doctor, his first-ever leading role in a movie.

    The story is set in a mountain village where over half of the population is elderly. It begins when Dr. INO Osamu (played by Tsurubei), the only resident doctor at the only village clinic, suddenly disappears, and the villagers start to panic. As two detectives start investigating, some of Ino’s past is gradually revealed.

    Three and a half years ago, after a chance meeting with the village mayor, Ino was asked to become their resident doctor. He was very diligent in giving the villagers medical care, and along with OHTAKE, the veteran nurse, they even made house calls to conduct medical check ups. The villagers learned to respect him more than “God and Buddha.” Soon after, SOMA, an intern fresh out of a Tokyo medical school, arrived at the village. Soma also learned to appreciate the diligence and kindness Dr. Ino puts into his work and that all the villagers enjoy.

    One day, the widower TORIKAI Kazuko collapses. Dr. Ino and his staff rush to her aid after receiving the emergency call, but she insists that there is nothing wrong with her. Concerned, Dr. Ino revisits her again that night. Kazuko pleads with him, “Doctor, please lie with me,” as she wishes to avoid burdening her daughters, who have their own lives to lead. She even insists that her condition be kept secret from one of her daughters, herself a Tokyo-based doctor.

    Dr. Ino concedes to Kazuko saying “very well, as you wish,” but in return he makes her promise to take a gastroscopy test. Although he told her that she suffers from a stomach ulcer, he is concerned that she might have cancer, and so requests without telling her, a closer examination at a specialized institution. Her results reveal that she has terminal cancer. However, the doctor, not wanting to depress her, keeps the truth to himself. Then he calls upon his regular pharmaceutical salesman to take the same test, and switches the results.

    Kazuko’s three daughters then visit her for the first time in quite a while. Ritsuko, the doctor, realizes that her mother is taking pills and decides to visit the clinic. Ritsuko bombards Dr. Ino with questions as they look at her mother’s swapped gastric photos, and finally accepts the situation. After Ritsuko tells Dr. Ino that she’ll visit her mother again in one year, he suddenly jumps on his motorcycle and disappears.

    Despite their intense investigation, the police fail to locate Dr. Ino’s whereabouts. They soon find out that Dr. Ino had no medical license, after which the villagers’ concern quickly turns to accusation. Later, Kazuko is admitted into the hospital where Ritsuko works. There, a man wearing a white cap and a mask and serving tea to patients comes to her hospital room. Ino’s familiar and friendly smiling eyes make Kazuko’s face light up, as the movie comes to a close.


    ディア· ドクター(西川美和監督)








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  • 二人の高校生と家族が仮想世界で悪と戦う

    [From August Issue 2010]

    SUMMER WARS (Directed by HOSODA Mamoru)

    This animated movie was released in the summer of 2009 and had a long run in the theatres. It won many motion picture awards including the 2010 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. The director, HOSODA Mamoru, garnered previous praise both at home and abroad for his 2006 film “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.” Most of that movie’s staff, including the scriptwriter and the animators, all reunited for “SUMMER WARS.”

    The main characters KOISO Kenji and SHINOHARA Natsuki are both Tokyo high school students. While on summer holidays, Natsuki offers Kenji a part-time job. Since he has a crush on Natsuki, and all that he has to do is accompany her to her mother’s parents’ home, he accepts. However, he learns that the real job is to pretend to be Natsuki’s fiance for a few days in order to cheer up her dispirited great-grandmother, Sakae.

    Natsuki’s great grandmother’s house, located in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, was kept by the Jinnouchi family, whose ancestors were wartime samurai. The big residence and its vast grounds are run by Sakae, who is about to celebrate her 90th birthday. Relatives from across Japan arrive one after another, all believing that Kenji is Natsuki’s fiance. That night, Kenji receives a mysterious numerical cell phone message. As a math wiz, he assumes it as a math problem, and solves it.

    The next morning, Kenji awakens to the news that the virtual reality city of “OZ” is in chaos. While OZ is similar to the real world when shopping and utility payments are concerned, it is still a virtual, Internet-based place, where all of its users have their own Avatars. What Kenji did was break the pass code to enter the OZ control system.

    While dozens of other people around the world have also deciphered the passcode, Kenji learns that he made a miscalculation. However, an artificial intelligence named “Love Machine” has already entered OZ and is stealing users’ IDs in order to control all the information and authorization codes. That is causing traffic problems in the real world and even changed the course of a returning interplanetary probe. During the mayhem, Sakae dies.

    Wabisuke, the illegitimate son of Jinnouchi’s great-grandfather, confides that he developed the Love Machine. He says that it has been sent to OZ experimentally by the U.S. Department of Defense. The men of the Jinnouchi family decide to join Kenji to fight the Love Machine, which cannot be controlled by humans. After a hard battle, Natsuki plays hanafuda (Japanese traditional playing cards), the game she learned from Sakae, and using her Avatar, challenges Love Machine, finally destroying it.


    サマーウォーズ(細田 守 監督)







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  • 名女優が追い続ける恋物語

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Chiyoko Millennial Actress (Directed by KON Satoshi)

    This is an anime film written and directed by KON Satoshi, who started his career as a manga artist. It won the Grand Prize in the animation category at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival held by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, tying with “Spirited Away,” directed by MIYAZAKI Hayao. Centering on the present, the plot advances in a unique manner, with a mixture of the past and the future, and of reality and fantasy.

    TACHIBANA Genya, the president of a film production company, is asked to make a documentary in commemoration of the demolition of Ginei, the movie studio where he once worked. So, he decides to interview FUJIWARA Chiyoko, the greatest actress the studio has ever produced, in order to record her life’s story. Though a big fan of Fujiwara himself, even 30 years after her retirement from show business, Tachibana has no idea where she lives, nor does anyone else.

    Having finally managed to arrange an interview with Chiyoko, Tachibana visits her home along with a young cameraman. Despite having refused interviews for 30 years, she agrees to the meeting after being told that Tachibana has something for her. As soon as they meet, Tachibana hands her a small box. With a surprised look, Fujiwara opens it to find an old key inside.

    Taking it in her hand, Chiyoko explains that it is “the key to open the most important thing there is.” Little by little, she begins to tell how as a high school student, she was discovered by Ginei, and about the real reason for her entering show business, in spite of her mother’s opposition – her burning love for a man whom she saved while she was in high school.

    Chiyoko recounts how she met the man long ago, when Japan was still very militaristic. He was an artist, and a criminal wanted for having anti-government views. As it happened, Chiyoko sheltered this fugitive, and the two talked and talked without ever learning each other’s names. Then, she caught sight of this key he had.

    The man told her that it was the key to open the most important thing. The following day, on her way home from school, she found it lying in the street. With a sense of foreboding, she rushed home only to find that he had already disappeared, just ahead of the police, who had discovered where he was hiding. From then on, Chiyoko searched for the man using what little information she had, so she could give him back his key.

    Reflecting on her life, she sees herself move from wartime Tokyo, where she was born and raised, through her past movies which depicted the Sengoku period and the last days of the Tokugawa Shognate. Tachibana and the cameraman also appear in those scenes, but only Chiyoko can see them. Her story travels through various eras, mixing real events with her fantasies.

    Just before the end of the interview, Chiyoko faints. When she awakens at the hospital, she realizes that her time is soon coming. Smiling at both Tachibana and the cameraman by her side, she tells them that she is not afraid of death. “After all, I’m going after that man again,” she says, before gently closing her eyes forever.


    千年女優(今 敏 監督)









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  • 高校生たちがジャズバンドを組む青春物語

    [From June Issue 2010]

    Swing Girls (Directed by YAGUCHI Shinobu)

    This story takes place in a small town in the Tohoku region of Japan where 13 remedial high school students, including SUZUKI Tomoko (UENO Juri), are attending supplementary classes during summer vacation. One day, the school’s entire brass band, the one supporting the school’s baseball team, contracts a severe case of mass food poisoning. NAKAMURA Takuo, the only healthy band member left, tries to rebuild the band with new recruits. Tomoko and others who want to skip their supplementary classes, as well as some who enjoy playing music, join the band.

    Soon a new, 17-member band is formed, led by timid Nakamura. Tomoko and the other girls complain about all the running and muscle training, but still the band starts taking shape. Eventually, as the original band members start to recover, Tomoko and her friends lose their positions. But the girls, who start to enjoy playing music, decide to form their own band at the beginning of the new semester. Nakamura, who did not fit in with the brass band, quits and joins them.

    Tomoko and the other girls start working part-time to buy their instruments, but most of them end up spending their money on clothes and bags, and eventually quit the band. Four members including Tomoko, and Nakamura never give up and finally buy used saxophones and trumpets to form “Swing Girls and a Boy.” OZAWA, the Jazz-freak math teacher, then introduces them to the excitement of Jazz, and the band get into full swing.

    The former band members decide to return when they hear how well Tomoko and the others thrillingly play together. One day, they find out that the “Tohoku Students Music Festival” is accepting applications, so they record an audition tape. However, Tomoko misses the deadline, eliminating any chance for them to take part in the contest. Tomoko still hasn’t told the truth, even by the day of the contest. They are all travelling to the concert hall by train when they are stopped by a snow storm. Finally the students know that they won’t be able to play anyway.

    Disappointed, they blame Tomoko for her fault. Then, as they overhear some passenger’s portable radio playing Jazz, they all start spontaneously playing their instruments. Soon after that, a motor coach arrives to pick them up, as they have been invited to participate in the contest as replacements for another band that had to cancel due to the same storm.

    The band eventually gets on stage for the festival’s final performance, and just start playing in harmony. While their style of Jazz, with its unique rhythms and power horns, is in sharp contrast to the classics that the other bands played, it still gets the audience going. Eventually all the people are standing and clapping to the beat.

    Released in 2004, this movie won many prizes including ‘Best Film Nominee’ at the 2005 Japanese Academy Awards. All the actors trained intensively to learn how to play their instruments before filming began, and performed live nationally and internationally to help promote it.


    スウィングガールズ(矢口史靖 監督)








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  • 若者たちをとりこにした反社会的青春映画

    [From May Issue 2010]

    Juvenile Jungle (Directed by NAKAHIRA Ko)

    This original story was written by the present governor of Tokyo ISHIHARA Shintaro, who is also a known novelist. Ishihara, who wrote the script, approved the making of the film on the condition that his younger brother, Yujiro, play the leading role. Shot on location in Zushi and neighboring Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, where the brothers spent their youth, the film depicts the lives of university students raised in a wealthy family, whose days are full of womanizing, fighting and sibling rivalry.

    TAKISHIMA Natsuhisa (ISHIHARA Yujiro) and his younger brother, Haruji (TSUGAWA Masahiko) are the main characters. In comparison, Natsuhisa is taller, more skilled at picking up women and at winning fights, while Haruji is more slender and serious, and tends to gets treated like a child among his brother’s friends. One day, on his way to one of Natsuhisa’s friend’s villa, Haruji finds himself attracted to a woman he sees at the train station.

    That same day, Natsuhisa and his friends plan an unusual party featuring a woman pick-up contest. Whoever brings the most attractive woman will be the winner. Haruji immediately thinks about the woman he met earlier that day. Then a few days later, while water-skiing, Haruji sees another attractive woman swimming just offshore.

    When Haruji realizes that the woman swimming is the same one he met a few days earlier, he gets nervous. Natsuhisa, in his suave manner, chats-up the woman and then carries her ashore. Later, by coincidence, Haruji sees her yet again at the station and, finally learning that her name is AMAKUSA Eri (KITAHARA Mie), he invites her to the party. Natsuhisa and his friends are surprised when the shy Haruji arrives at the villa with beautiful Eri.

    Haruji and Eri continue to date but he never learns her address because she keeps telling him that “My mother is quite strict.” One night, Natsuhisa discovers that Eri has an American husband, and threatens to expose her secret to Haruji unless she has sex with him. Natsuhisa is irritated to learn that Eri is still genuinely drawn to Haruji, with a pure heart, even after they had sex.

    One day, Haruji invites Eri to go camping. Natsuhisa gets to their meeting point earlier than Haruji and takes Eri to his yacht. After searching all night, Haruji finally finds them both. Haruji remains silent, but there is anger in his eyes. Eri, wanting to be with Haruji, jumps in to the water to swim to his boat, but without saying a word, he just runs her over. Then he rams into Natsuhisa’s yacht, breaking it to pieces, and just keeps going.

    Released in 1956, this movie greatly influenced many young Japanese people. With the earlier release of “Season of the Sun” (original story by Ishihara Shintaro) that same year, youth called “taiyouzoku” (sun tribes), who ignored common sense to live carefree lives, made Shonan Beach increasingly popular. Ishihara Yujiro, who became a big star following this movie, eventually married Kitahara Mie, who played his love interest.


    狂った果実(中平 康 監督)



    その日、夏久たちは、変わったパーティーを開く計画を立てる。それぞれがナンパした女性たちを同伴し、どの女性が一番かわいいかを競うというのだ 。春次の頭に昼間の女性が思い浮かぶ。数日後、春次は夏久とモーターボートを走らせて水上スキーをしている最中に、浜から離れて泳ぐ女性を見つける。





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