Dolls, Trains, Samurai and Ozu

Dolls, Trains and Samurai, not

to mention Ozu 

all have someone in common

 

Who is the link?

I bought some more dvds a while back.    Three of them form part of a set of films by Takeshi Kitano – Dolls, Zatoichi and the Takeshis`.   I also got Cafe Lumiere (from 2003) which is a homage to Yasujiro Ozu, director of Tokyo Story and certain other gems which I have already mentioned elsewhere in my blog.  I`ve been meaning to buy Cafe Lumière for a while (cos I could`t find it free online haha) and so I did. Well, these are three more gems for my Films worth a look page.

Cafe Lumière is a homage in terms of the slow pace and the distance between the parents and their now grown up only child though this relationship is portrayed in a more contemporary storyline here.  The only child is a young mother-to-be and has no interest in marrying the father  –  can you imagine that story back in 1950s Japan? There are other similarities (which they also share with the world at large) such as the kind of ordinary everyday things that people say to each other.  When the daughter visits her parents for a few days, the first question the mother asks is `was the train crowded` which is what parents all over the world seem to ask!!  In Tokyo Story, the old couple discuss who has died or who has had bad luck and so on which is what people of that age worldwide discuss.  Of course, there is also a train link, in that the last scene of Tokyo Story is of a train leaving the village with Noriko on her way back to Tokyo after the old mother`s funeral, and of course Tadanobu Asano`s character Hajime(-san) does some kind of research on trains and train sounds in Cafe Lumière (I don`t want to call him a trainspotter but if needs must, he`s not your average trainspotter).  He has a quiet but significant role in this.  I thought the director was the same guy who directed the film version of Norwegian Wood (which I thought was so-so) a few years ago but no this guy is Taiwanese Huo Hsiao-Hsien where as the NW director is Vietnamese (Tran Anh Hung).

Speaking of trains, I never got around to going to see The Railway Man at the cinema.   Telling the story of a now middle-aged man who had been a POW in a Japanese camp during World War II (in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, the famous death railway bridge) who has trouble recovering mentally from the trauma of suffering in that camp.  When his supportive wife finds out the identity and whereabouts of his one-time torturer in this camp, he is encouraged to go meet him.  Hiroyuki Sanada plays the now middle-aged Japanese man, who is working in the museum associated with the bridge at Kanchanaburi, and I read he is one of the best things about the film.

Back to my DVD spree, Dolls is a fabulous story about undying love (well three stories of undying love including fan love for an idol) and Zatoichi is pretty good too, very witty.  The dance number at the end is an updated touch (you can tell some of the actors are having a ball while a couple of others are kind of hoping it will end soon).  The tap dancing group that perform here also perform in Takeshis`, a film which is just weird.  A bit of a an ego trip for the director me thinks with gratuitous violence as you`d expect.

I`ve bought a couple of films since then, one Chinese and one Irish.  The former enjoyable, the latter quite sad.

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