Spine: #232 Edition: DVD
An aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunities with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all, in Yasujiro Ozu’s 1934 silent classic and his 1959 color remake.
1984 • 72 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #425 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
A unique, enthralling cinematic experience, Teshigahara’s Antonio Gaudí, less a documentary than a visual poem, takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture.
1962 • 113 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #446 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
Yasujiro Ozu’s final film was also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man’s dignified resignation to both life’s ever-shifting currents and society’s gradual modernization.
1960 • 150 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #319 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in director Akira Kurosawa’s scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect.
1958 • 98 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #645 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Filmed almost entirely on cunningly designed studio sets, in brilliant color and widescreen, The Ballad of Narayama is a stylish and vividly formal work from Japan’s cinematic golden age, directed by the dynamic Keisuke Kinoshita.
1967 • 91 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #38 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
When Japanese New Wave bad boy Seijun Suzuki delivered this brutal, hilarious, and visually inspired masterpiece to the executives at his studio, he was promptly fired.
1956 • 116 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #379 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
In Kon Ichikawa’s eloquent meditation on beauty coexisting with death, an Imperial Japanese Army regiment surrenders to British forces in Burma at the close of World War II and finds harmony through song, while a private disguises himself as a Buddhist monk.
1956 • 86 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #295 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
Adapted from the controversial novel by Shintarô Ishihara, and critically savaged for its lurid portrayal of the postwar sexual revolution among Japan’s young and privileged, Crazed Fruit is an anarchic outcry against tradition and the older generation.
1970 • 144 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #465 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s Dodes’ka-den follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Kurosawa’s gloriously shot first color film displays all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion.
1969 • 104 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #104 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
In Masahiro Shinoda’s striking adaptation of a Bunraku puppet play (featuring the music of famed composer Toru Takemitsu), a paper merchant sacrifices family, fortune, and ultimately life for his erotic obsession with a prostitute.
1948 • 98 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #413 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician.
1951 • 125 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #240 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko, but when she impulsively chooses her childhood friend, she fulfills her family’s desires while tearing them apart. Early Summer is a nuanced examination of life’s changes across three generations.
1978 • 105 minutes • 1.66:1 • Japan
Spine: #467 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
Set in a Japanese village at the end of the nineteenth century, Empire of Passion details the downfall of a married woman and her lover after they murder her husband and dump his body in a well. With eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution.
1966 • 86 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #269 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
High schooler Kiroku Nanbu yearns for the prim, Catholic Michiko, but her only desire is to reform Kiroku’s sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, Kiroku channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
1959 • 104 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #378 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
An agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II, Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain is a compelling descent into psychological and physical oblivion, and one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema’s most versatile filmmakers.
1964 • 90 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #298 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
In the shady black markets and bombed-out hovels of post–World War II Tokyo, a band of prostitutes eke out an existence, maintaining tenuous friendships and a semblance of order. But when a renegade ex-soldier stumbles into their midst, lusts and loyalties clash, with tragic results.
1953 • 89 minutes • 1.37:1 • Japan
Spine: #653 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
A winner of Academy Awards for best foreign-language film and best costume design, Gate of Hell is a visually sumptuous, psychologically penetrating work from Teinosuke Kinugasa.
1954 • 96 minutes • 1.37:1 • Japan
Spine: #594 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Godzilla is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama made in Japan at a time when the country was still reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing.
1959 • 93 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #84 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
Ozu’s hilarious Technicolor reworking of his silent I Was Born, But . . . , Good Morning (Ohayô) is the story of two young boys in suburban Tokyo who take a vow of silence after their parents refuse to buy them a television set.
1962 • 133 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #302 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus
Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property in Masaki Kobayashi’s fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system.
1958 • 139 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #116 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, DVD, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.
1963 • 143 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #24 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a diabolical treatise on contemporary Japanese society.
1977 • 88 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #539 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.
1959 • 574 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #480 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.