47 RONIN (Kon Ichikawa, 1994)

A more melancholy, humane and emotional rendering of the same narrative material that Kenji Mizoguchi used for his 1941 version, Kon Ichikawa’s Shijushichinin no shikaku is formally beautiful, fatalistic and absorbingly entertaining. In all, there have been more than eighty film treatments of the story (including Hiroshi Inagaki’s 1962 backside-numbing Chushingura). It wouldn’t surprise me […]

THE WILLOW TREE (Majid Majidi, 2005)

Yousef, a 45-year-old university professor, has been blind since an accident when he was seven. A cornea transplant partially restores his sight. It turns out that blindness had given structure to his existence. Suddenly, while we are watching writer-director Majid Majidi’s Beed-e majnoon, the screen goes black.      A devout Muslim, Yousef has felt that his […]