TOKYO CHORUS (Yasujiro Ozu, 1931)

Yasujiro Ozu’s silent Tokyo no kôrasu begins hilariously. Like his classmates, student Shinji Okajima (Tokihiko Okada, endearing) seems incapable of keeping in line—literally, I mean, quasi-militarily, on the college grounds. Ozu’s film leaps forward “several years,” where rhe comedy deepens. At the insurance company for which he works, Shinji confronts his boss over the baseless […]

BULLET BALLET (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1998)

Dazzling, gorgeous, pulsating, visionary, Shinya Tsukamoto’s black-and-white Bullet Ballet brilliantly fuses social criticism, ultra-violence, West Side Story’s street gangery, Tarkovskian science fiction, and film noir to wrestle a stunning life-affirmation from a compelling description of the nihilism of young Tokyoans who see violence, including murder and suicide, as the logical extension of what they perceive […]