In the 1950s, many Japanese directors made films that urgently reflected the postwar realities of their country, from economic struggle to nuclear fallout. Another common theme was the influence of American culture on Japan, as seen in films by Nagisa Oshima, Shohei Imamura, and Masaki Kobayashi, to name a few. Kobayashi’s Black River is among the most startling of these, a grim tale that takes place in the neighborhood around a U.S. military base. Here thrive lawlessness and generally amoral behavior, as personified by the yakuza kingpin wannabe Killer Joe, played by a smoldering Tatsuya Nakadai in one of his first major roles. But Kobayashi also provides a glimmer of hope, in the form of a romance between a newly arrived bookseller (Fumio Watanabe) and a sweet-souled local girl (Ineko Arima)—though Killer Joe wants her for himself, leading to a dangerous love triangle. Watch how Kobayashi, an effortless visual storyteller, introduces the U.S.-occupied setting and all three of his main characters in the film’s opening minutes.
10 Things I Learned: Town Bloody Hall
The producer of our edition of Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s landmark documentary shares what she learned about the galvanizing figures at the center of the film.
10 Things I Learned: The War of the Worlds
As Criterion producer Karen Stetler learned while working on our new edition, this adaptation of H. G. Wells’s sci-fi novel was a career milestone for a wide range of talent, from director Byron Haskin to feline performer Orangey.
10 Things I Learned: Scorsese Shorts
The films showcased in our new collection of early works by Martin Scorsese are deeply influenced by the director’s life in New York City and the experiences of his family and friends.
The Grand Budapest Hotel Lobby Travels Back in Time
Watch the lovingly crafted setting of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel transform from its faded glory in the 1960s to its peak opulence in the 1930s.