1990 • 120 minutes • 1.85:1 • Japan
Spine: #842 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Unfolding in a series of eight mythic vignettes, this late work by Akira Kurosawa was inspired by the beloved director’s own nighttime visions, along with stories from Japanese folklore.
1984 • 72 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #425 Editions: DVD, 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 • 1.37:1 • Japan
Spine: #446 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization.
1960 • 150 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #319 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
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, 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, 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 Edition: DVD
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.
Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
A young woman (Meiko Kaji), trained from childhood as an assassin and hell-bent on revenge for the murders of her father and brother and the rape of her mother, hacks and slashes her way to gory satisfaction.
1956 • 86 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #295 Edition: DVD
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.
1968 • 118 minutes • 1.85:1 • Japan
Spine: #798 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
Genius provocateur Nagisa Oshima, an influential figure in the Japanese New Wave of the 1960s, made one of his most startling political statements with the compelling pitch-black satire Death by Hanging.
1970 • 144 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #465 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
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 Edition: DVD
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
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 Edition: DVD
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 Edition: DVD
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 Edition: DVD
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
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 Edition: DVD
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, 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 Edition: DVD
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, iTunes
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: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, 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, iTunes
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.