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Safran



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:12 am    Post subject: BRAVO Tony ! Reply with quote

sunny......Starring in a couple of " The 25 Most Influential Asian Movies Of All Time " - ranking Very Happy cheers

http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2017/the-25-most-influential-asian-movies-of-all-time/
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Re: BRAVO Tony ! Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing - they are all well deserved ! love salute Applause

I copy the ranking from Taste of Cinema below, for easier reading Very Happy

The 25 Most Influential Asian Movies Of All Time
25 October 2017
Features, Film Lists by Panos Kotzathanasis

The impact of Asian cinema in the international scene is a fact that cannot be doubted; either we are referring to filmmakers basing/copying/adapting/remaking films from the region, or adopting various elements of the style and aesthetics of the Asian masters of the medium. Evidently, the first that come to mind are the Japanese of the 50s and 60s, like Ozu and Kurosawa, but who could deny the influence of the likes of Satyajit Ray (Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, James Ivory, François Truffaut have stated his influence in their style) or John Woo or Park Chan-wook, and so many others.


This list, once more with a focus on diversity, will make an effort to present, by date, 25 of the most influential works of filmmakers like the aforementioned, acknowledging the fact that it could have a plethora of more entries. Nevertheless, one may add as many films as he or she likes, but the fact remains that the particular titles are as influential as any, either/or in their country of origin or internationally.

The reasons these films are so influential vary, and include, apart from the aforementioned, the introduction of styles and artists, the creation of trends, and even the impact at the box office.

25. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003, South Korea)

This film is the most widely known feature from the South Korean auteur and is currently one of seven Asian movies to be listed on the 250 top ranking movies on the Internet Movie Database.

An old monk lives with his little apprentice in a small and secluded floating temple. The unwavering teacher guides, perturbs, and punishes the young student when his immaturity and childlike naivety lead him toward violent acts against nature. As the seasons pass, the young pupil becomes an adult, while further embracing the different aspects of Buddhism.

However, when temptation appears in the form of a girl seeking solace in the temple, the youth appears very vulnerable, eventually becoming a prey to his own lust.

Through the life of the young student during the ever-changing seasons, Kim Ki-duk presents the Buddhist notion that physical and emotional violence can be tempered through meditation, which eventually leads to true enlightenment. Furthermore, through the lyricism of nature, Buddhist dogma, and the violence resulting from real life, he manages to communicate to the viewer a sense of peace and calmness.

Lastly, the film entails magnificent images of sceneries that transform through the seasons and the ages.

24. Still Walking (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008, Japan)

“Still Walking” is a distinct example of Japanese cinema, in both themes and technique, and is the one that established its director as the definite successor of Yasuhiro Ozu.

The son and daughter of the Yokoyama family return to their parents’ house in the country to commemorate the death of their brother, who accidentally drowned 15 years ago. The son, Ryota, has recently married a widow with a young son and has brought them along; the daughter, Chinami, has come along with her husband and their children. However, tensions that preexisted now move to the foreground.

Hirokazu Koreeda directs an ode to realism, a fact stressed by the tensions and the general feelings occurring between the members of the family, which are similar to the ones of every household. The camera use, which is situated extremely close to the set, makes the spectator feel as though he is present in the house where the movie occurs, participating in the discussions in the table and walking around with the protagonists.

Apart from the above, the pace is slow, the dialogues meaningful, the exaltation non-existent, the focus on detail great and the acting sublime, in a true Ozu fashion, however in contemporary terms. Hirokazu Koreeda’s style, which has been one of the most dominant ones in the Japanese scene for years now, finds its apogee in this film.

23. Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948, China)

The story revolves around a damaged house in a provincial Chinese town in 1948, following the end of the war and the bombing of the area by the Japanese. The owner, Liyan, a depressed and hypochondriac man, cannot afford to repair it, while his deteriorating relationship with his wife, Yuwen, adds to his emotional status. In this context, the arrival of an old friend of his, Doctor Zhan, feels like a great event, with Liyan welcoming the visitor warmly.

However, he does not know that the doctor used to have an affair with Yuwen, with his wife appearing to retain her feelings for him. However, as the two cannot entertain their passion, they start discussing a potential marriage between the doctor and Yuwen’s kid sister Xiu, with the rest of the story revolving around this quadrangle.

The film was only able to find its audience and had a resurgence in popularity after the China Film Archive made a new print in the early 1980s. Today it is considered one of the most significant Chinese classics, while in 2005, the Hong Kong Film Awards Association named it the greatest Chinese film ever made.

22. Pyaasa (Guru Dutt, 1957, India)

Guru Dutt directed and starred in the film as Vijay, an unemployed young man with artistic aspirations who runs away from his home due to his brothers’ lack of understanding. As he tries to become a poet, he is met with continuous rejections, and has to constantly face the harsh realities of the world. In his misery, a woman, Gulab, provides the only support in the life of a man who desperately seeks love and respect.

Dutt is outstanding in both his capacities, with “Pyaasa” being one of the most memorable movies of his career. In 2002, the film was ranked at No. 160 on the Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll of all-time greatest films. In 2005, “Pyaasa” was rated as one of the 100 best films of all time by Time magazine, which called it “the soulfully romantic of the lot.” Indiatimes Movies ranks the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films. On the occasion of Valentine’s Day 2011, Time magazine has declared it as one of the top 10 romantic movies of all time.

21. The Housemaid (Kim Ki-young, 1960, South Korea)

Dong-sik is a middle-aged composer struggling to take care of his pregnant wife and two kids. Eventually, he hires a housemaid to help him in the house, but the strange and sultry woman proves a true femme fatale, and immediately shows her will to seduce him. As her attitude is more than evident, the showdown with his wife becomes inevitable, with the two women using every trick in the book to gain the upper hand toward the unsuspecting lover.

Kim Ki-young directs a domestic noir that borders on becoming a thriller, as sexual obsession, manipulation and extreme ways become the centers of a game that eventually unravels a family.

The film’s script and ingenious narrative are still shocking more than a half a century later, with Koreanfilm.org referring to the film as a “consensus pick as one of the top three Korean films of all time.”

20. Project A (Jackie Chan, 1983, Hong Kong)

Dragon Ma is a member of the coast guard in Hong Kong, whose purpose is to neutralize the pirates’ activity in the area, which infest the seas. During preparations for a large expedition for this cause, the pirates succeed in detonating the majority of the coast guard’s ships, thus canceling the entire operation. Subsequently, the coast guard is dismantled and their members are forced to join the police, who were their rivals up to that point. Major Tzu is assigned the leadership of the project.

A bit later, Dragon picks up information from a former friend of his, Fey, a minor crook, concerning the treachery that aborted the expedition against the pirates, and the two of them proceed to solve the mystery in order to reinstate the coast guard.

All of the “Three Brothers,” Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung (who also co-directed), and Yuen Biao star in “Project A.” The inclusion of Dick Wei, as the leader of the pirates, makes obvious that the crème de la crème of Hong Kong action was present here.

Every action scene in “Project A” is sublime; the initial scene in the restaurant and the fight between the coast guard and the police, the one in the private club, the unrelenting chases through the streets of Hong Kong and the final battle are scenes worth watching again and again. Chan exhibited his best performance within the excellent action choreography.

“Project A” was an enormous success in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, with the emperor of Japan insisting that Chan shoot a second part, a request that was eventually met.

Finally, this was the first time in a Jackie Chan movie that the shooting of the various stunts was shown in the conclusion of the film, a practice that accompanied him, from then on, in all of his movies.

19. A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986)

This particular title is one of the foremost significant films of this industry, primarily for getting off the ground the careers of two of its most distinguished members, John Woo and Chow Yun-fat, and reinstating Lung Ti, whose career was in shambles after his departure from the Shaw Brothers. Also of note is the fact that it was one of the initial films of Tsui Hark’s newly created production company, and he insisted in the presence of the aforementioned.

The script revolves around the relationship of Tse Ho, a top triad member, with his adopted brother from the organization, Mark “Gor” Lee and his actual brother, Tse Kit, who has just graduated from the Police Academy.

Being evidently low budget, the film nevertheless entails a plethora of impressive shooting scenes, the majority of whom additionally encompass a vivid sense of humor, chiefly presented by Chow Yun-fat, who plays Lee. Despite the fact that the protagonist is Lung Ti as Ho, who definitely shows his talent, the aforementioned is the one who upstages the rest of the cast, with his smooth, humorous and enchanting style of acting.

“A Better Tomorrow” was a colossal box office success, additionally netting a plethora of awards from all over Asia. Furthermore, it was the one that established the gangster subgenre in Hong Kong.

18. A City of Sadness (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1989, Taiwan)

The script describes the life of Lin family during the turbulent period from 1945, when the Japanese army withdrew from Taiwan after 51 years, to 1949 and the secession from China. The eldest brother, Wen Heung, returns from the war and opens a restaurant he names “Little Shanghai” to honor the reunification with China. The second brother, Wen Leung, became insane during his tour of duty, and is being treated at the local hospital.

Eventually he is released, but due to the lack of job offers, he ends up in organized crime. The third brother, Wen Shun, was stationed in the Philippines but is currently missing in action. The youngest brother, Wen Ching, was excluded from recruiting because he is deaf-mute, and is running a photography studio. These are the central characters among a plethora of others, whose lives change radically after the 2-26 incident.

The film began Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s tendency to deal with a lack of communication, in all its forms. Accordingly, “A City of Sadness” portrays the chasm in communication between the Taiwanese, who yearn for their independence, and the Chinese, who consider them revolutionaries and arrest them.

It shows the cultural chasm between those who live on the mainland and those on the islands, which is intensified by the difference in language. Lastly, it shows the social chasm between the deaf-mute and the girl he likes. In essence, “A City of Sadness” is a social film, presented through the prism of the country’s history.

Tony Leung, who plays the youngest brother, is magnificent as a man who despite his inability, is the most intelligent, and the only one who truly understands the political situation.

It was Hou’s first work to find distribution in Europe, particularly due to its screening at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion, the Ciak d’Oro (audience award) and the Unesco Award.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

17. A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1971)

Hailed as one of the biggest epics of the wuxia genre, “A Touch of Zen” is a true masterpiece of the category that stands apart particularly due to its technical prowess and high symbolism. The script is based on a short story titled “The Magnanimous Girl” by Pu Songling, which was published in 1679.

Gu is a talented painter and scholar who still lives with his mother, who worries about him being unambitious, unmarried and his decline to apply for a civil servant position. Eventually, a young girl named Yang and her mother settle nearby in an abandoned house, which everybody considers haunted. However, Gu’s mother does not seem at all bothered by the fact and she proceeds in an effort to arrange a marriage between Gu and Yang.

The girl declines, but she and Gu strike a peculiar friendship after she explains that she and her mother are fugitives, running away from the corrupt eunuch Wei, who had her father assassinated for learning of his foul tactics and is set on killing the whole family.

Moreover, something that has been long inactive seems to wake inside Gu after he spends the night at Yang’s house, which transforms him into a cunning and ingenious individual, who subsequently devises a plan to conquer their rivals by exploiting the supposedly haunted ruins of the area.

King Hu directed a film that stands apart from the plethora of wuxia titles for a number of reasons, apart from the fact that it is a Taiwanese production instead of a Hong Kong one, as was the rule with the genre.

The first one is that the script does not solely exist to provide a background for the action, but is elaborately written and includes interwoven stories, conspiracies, treacheries, and in-depth analysis of the characters and the circumstances of the era. In that aspect, the first action scene does not take place until about 50 minutes into the film, because Hu wanted to present the story and the characters adequately.

The second one is that the main character, Gu, does not fight at all and even remains a wimp for the biggest part of the film. The third one is that apart from the well-depicted interiors, the film also entails wonderful outside shots (in contrast to the similar productions by Shaw Brothers, which focused on the depiction of the interiors but ignored the outside), with the environment and the character’s interaction in it being one of the points of excellence.

The fourth one is that Hu incorporated a number of symbolisms, as is the case with the spiderwebs that appear to symbolize Gu’s entanglement with Yang’s case and the fact that Wei wants to trap the last member of Yang’s family, as a spider does with its prey. Lastly, he also included the idea of Zen in the story, a task that is quite difficult, since Zen is perceived as something that cannot be described, only felt and intuited.

However, the aforementioned does not mean that the action is scarce. On the contrary, there are many long battles, all of which are artfully choreographed and include some of the most impressive ones ever presented in the genre.

16. Ringu (Hideo Nakata, 1998, Japan)

Based on the homonymous novel by Koji Suzuki, this film was the one that turned the global audience’s attention toward J-horror, creating a franchise that spawned two sequels, three spin-offs, a Korean and two American adaptations.

The script revolves around a videotape that causes anyone who watches it to die in seven days. Journalist Reiko Asakawa and her ex-husband investigate the case, only to stumble upon Sadako, a creature with a sad and mysterious story who still exists somewhere between nightmare and reality.

Hideo Nakata presented a social message regarding technophobia and fear of the media, while building a great story using horror as the main ingredient. Sadako’s exit from the TV is a clear example of the two, and is one of the most iconic (and horrific) images of the genre.

15. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai, 2000, Hong Kong)

In Hong Kong in 1962, in a building with rented rooms, Chow and his neighbor Su discover their spouses, who are frequently absent supposedly due to professional reasons, are having an affair with each other. The discovery leaves them unhappy but puzzled by the reason behind their infidelity.

However, it brings them very close as they try to understand what drove their significant others to adultery, to the disapproval of the conservative society at that time.

Wong Kar-wai directs a movie about two lonely individuals who experience isolation inside their marriage. Their response to their discovery is to attempt the same, in a nonconforming and cruel effort at a reenactment.

Wong focuses almost exclusively on his two protagonists, with the rest of the characters being mere shadows. Both Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung delivered in wonderful, art-house fashion, exemplifying their acting skills as much as their overall style.

The film netted a Best Actor Award for Tony Leung and the Technical Grand Prize for the magnificent cinematography of Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping Bing at the Cannes Film Festival, becoming the most renowned entry in the art-house filmmaker’s filmography.



14. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000, Taiwan)

One of the most celebrated films on the list in the West, Ang Lee’s magnum opus was nominated for 10 Oscars, eventually winning four.
In 19th century China, master warrior Li Mu Bai, who is secretly in love with Yu Shu Lien, the former fiancé of his deceased best friend and currently his associate, searches for a stolen sword named “Green Dragon.” His suspicions fall on an aristocrat’s daughter named Jen Yu, who in her desire to avoid her destiny has secretly trained in martial arts with the woman who assassinated Li Mu Bai’s teacher.

Lee managed to incorporate equal measures of themes including love, honor and recognition in a wuxia film, which are usually focused on action, reinvigorating a former genre while presenting an audiovisual poem.

However, he did not neglect the action, with Yuen Woo Ping presenting one of his most elaborate works, with scenes that have been included in the best choreographed and cinematographed of the genre.

All three of the protagonists, Chow Yun-fat as Li Mu Bai, Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien and Zhang Ziyi as Jen Yu, are astonishing in their respective parts, with the film functioning as a stepping stone for their later international careers.

13. Infernal Affairs (Wai-Keung Lau, 2002, Hong Kong)

Chen Wing Yan is an undercover agent who has been chosen since his days in the police academy to infiltrate the crime world, particularly the gang of the notorious Sam. The sole individual who knows his actual identity is Chief Wong. On the other hand, Sam has chosen Detective Lau Kin Ming to act accordingly inside the police force. While Sam prepares for a large operation, the two moles come face to face, realizing each other’s role. Unavoidably, one of them has to die.

Wai-Keung Lau directs a sublime urban noir thriller that retains the agony throughout its duration. Scenes such as the one involving Sam’s first meeting with the Thais are among the greatest ever shot in the genre, both technically and artistically, with every minute soaring with anguish.

Though the director may refer to the eternal battle between good and evil, he presents it in a unique fashion, mainly due to the nature of its protagonists, who have to constantly appear as something else than what they actually are, amongst terrifying pressure by their superiors to deliver. Furthermore, the action scenes are exquisite and the plot twists almost constant.

“Infernal Affairs” incorporates the crème de la crème of Hong Kong action cinema, including Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang, in a movie that spawned two sequels and the remake mentioned in the prologue.



12. Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003, South Korea)

This second installment of Park Chan-wook’s trilogy regarding revenge is the film that turned the global interest toward Korean cinema.
Based on the homonymous Japanese manga, the film focuses on Dae-Su, a content family man who, for no apparent reason, is abducted and forced to live in the same room for 15 years. When he is unexpectedly released, he is set on extracting revenge, although the sole evidence in his possession is the fact that he must accomplish this revenge in five days.

Although “Oldboy” has revenge as its central theme, Park directs a movie where the main concepts are humiliation and the ensuing catharsis, with the focus being on revenge not as an act, but the reasons that lead to it and its consequences.

“Oldboy” has a plethora of stylized violent scenes, sublime acting, and equally competent directing, in one of the masterpieces of global cinema. The film won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, among a number of additional local and international awards.

11. Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1952, Japan)

One of the greatest creations from Kenji Mizoguchi, “Life of Oharu” won the International Prize at the 1952 Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Lion.

Oharu is a lady in waiting at the court, until she falls in love with a young page. The two of them spend the night at an inn, but as their relationship was forbidden, he is sentenced to death, and she, along with her family, are banished, thus beginning her never-ending downward spiral toward tragedy.

In their exile, her father, who is deeply ashamed by her actions, prostitutes her, and she ends up as the mistress of a local lord, with a “mission” to bear him children. When she succeeds, she is returned to her house, where her father prostitutes her once more.

In one of the saddest films ever shot, Mizoguchi managed to avoid the reef of sentimentality, and subsequently, melodrama. Instead, he shot a film that makes a clear comment about women and their status in feudal Japan. Furthermore, he does not use pretentious climaxes to draw sentiment, as the drama chiefly arises from the fact that Oharu is misjudged by society and her family.

Kinuyo Tanaka gives a sublime performance as Oharu, and as her father, Ichiro Sugai manages to realistically portray a truly despicable human being.

10. Meghe Dhaka Tara (Ritwik Ghatak, 1960, India)

The film revolves around a family of six, the parents and their four children. The father is a schoolteacher and the mother a housewife. The eldest child, Shankar, is unemployed and aspires to be a singer. The second child, Nita, is studying for her M.A. (Master of Arts). She also teaches children on the side. The other two children are Gita and Mantu. Gita is studying in college, though she is not academically inclined. Mantu is a sportsman and is keen on proving his athletic abilities. Despite their education, they are always short of money.

Each character is almost a caricature of different types of people found in a family. The unemployed artistic brother, the girly sister, the responsible daughter, the hen-pecked husband, and the domineering wife. Each character has a signature habit, which not only sets them apart but makes them relatable as well.

The film is perhaps the most widely viewed film among Ghatak’s works; it was his greatest commercial success at home, and it coincided with an international film movement toward personal stories and innovative technique. Expectantly, it is considered as one of the greatest masterpieces of Bengali cinema.

9. Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955, Japan)

In postwar Tokyo, Yukiko is reacquainted with Tomioka, a former lover and associate from the war, who still lives with his wife and her mother. Tomioka explains to her that his wife is sick and cannot abandon her, but the two of them eventually go together to a hotel in the mountains, where Tomioka falls in love with the young wife of another veteran. The pregnant Yukiko abandons him, but not for long.

Naruse “teaches” how a melodrama should be shot, as he presents a bulk of sentiments that do not, however, force the audience’s feelings. His characters become incredibly familiar, even today, particularly because their drama mirrors the hard truth that society is built upon harsh rules, where nothing is gained without suffering.

The film is Naruse’s most popular film in Japan and was voted the second best Japanese film of all time in a poll of 140 Japanese critics and filmmakers conducted by the magazine Kinema Junpo in 1999.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8. Hidden Fortress (Akira Kurosawa, 1958, Japan)

The script revolves round two peasants, Tahei and Matashichi, who, through a number of extreme episodes, end up escorting the general of Akizuki clan, Makabe Rokurota, and Princess Yuki Akizuki, both members of a clan that lost a major battle not much time ago. At the center of the story lies the gold of the Akizuki clan, which the two peasants repeatedly try to steal.

The film won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 9th Berlin International Film Festival in 1959; however, its impact lies in a completely different place. George Lucas has acknowledged the influence the movie had on “Star Wars,” particularly regarding the technique of telling the story from the perspective of low characters, in his case C-3PO and R2-D2. At the same time, the original plot of “Star Wars” bears many resemblances with the one of “Hidden Fortress.”

7. Tetsuo (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989, Japan)

The extreme depiction of violence, which became one of the rules of Japanese cinema during the last few decades, was largely based on this film, which established Shinya Tsukamoto as an international cult filmmaker and resulted in two sequels.

A car accident victim sticks a metallic tube in his thigh, an impulse after which his body is taken over by a metal. Something similar also occurs with the perpetrator of the accident, and the action begins. Women raping with metallic phalli, sex with penises in the form of electric drills resulting in murder, hunting in dark corridors, bodily fluids, and a final confrontation between two beings that are more machines than humans, are only a few of the grotesque spectacles in “Tetsuo.”

Shinya Tsukamoto used a 16mm camera and shot a low-budget, black-and-white film that looks like a nightmarish video clip, an outcome intensified by the extreme noise music and the restless movement of the camera. The message concerning technophobia and the loss of humanity for the sake of technology is evident. However, even more apparent is the fact that the director aimed to shock through extreme violence, a purpose he completely fulfilled.

Lastly, the onerousness of the film is even more heightened by the acting of Tomorowo Taguchi and Kei Fujiwara, who manage to elaborately portray the terror, the despair, the paranoia, and the sexual drive of their characters.

6. Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995, Japan)

Continuing from where “Akira” left off, this anime established cyberpunk as one of the main themes of the genre, and pawned a huge franchise that continues to produce masterpieces. Moreover, it was a trademark of the industry in both its themes and technological advancement, involving a number of pioneering animation processes.

Based on the homonymous manga by Masamune Shirow, the anime takes place in 2029, when the world is connected through a vast electronic network that has access to all aspects of life. Motoko Kusanagi is a highly evolved cyborg who works for Public Security Section 9.
Along with her team of experts, she is on the hunt for the “Puppet Master,” a genius hacker whose alleged purpose is to stand against the contemporary oppressive society and its absolute dependence on the aforementioned network.

“Ghost in the Shell” proved to international audiences that animation could be addressed toward adults, not only due to the graphic depiction of violence and nudity, but also due to its sociopolitical and philosophical context. In that fashion, underneath the techno-action hides an effort to discern the meaning of life through the vast spread of technology, as well as themes of racism and politics.

One of the initial scenes, where Motoko jumps down from a skyscraper after killing her target, is one of the industry’s trademarks.

5. Godzilla (Ishiro Honda, 1954, Japan)

The “kaiju” genre started with this film, which signaled the first appearance of one of the most iconic characters of global cinema: Godzilla, a 400-foot dinosaur with distinct Tyrannosaurus Rex features and characteristics.

Godzilla is awakened by the explosion of an atomic bomb, and emerges from the sea to wreak havoc, initially on a few fishing villages and then to Tokyo. The monster seems to be drawn in by electricity, and is not particularly interested in humans, who are killed in scores as Godzilla passes through the city. The military seems unable to face him and the only hope lies with an invention from a scientist.

The film had a huge impact on Japanese audiences, who were largely intrigued by both the evident exploitation of recent memories of the A-bomb, and the concept of kaiju, which was unprecedented in Japan. The film entailed great special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, who created magnificent destruction scenes using manufactured models instead of computer graphics, and an all-star cast headed by Takashi Shimura.

Furthermore, the concept of the scientist who sacrifices himself found great appeal with Japanese audiences, with the concept of the kamikaze in World War II being equally recent with that of the bomb.

4. Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) The World of Apu (1959), Satyajit Ray, India)

The first part of the Apu Trilogy is the first from independent India to attract major international critical attention; it won India’s National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1955, the Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and several other awards, establishing Satyajit Ray as one of the country’s most distinguished filmmakers.

The trilogy tells the story of Apu, starting with his childhood in a small Bengali village in the beginning of the 20th century. His father is a priest and a poet, but does not make enough money to support the family, with the burden falling on his mother, who also has to deal with the old aunt living with them.

In the second film, Apu is 10 years old and lives in Benares, until he moves into a small village with his mother and aunt. Being a very good student, he eventually wins a scholarship for a college in Kolkata, but his mother finds it very hard to let him go.

In the third part, Apu has left his school days behind him and dreams of becoming an author. When a friend from college invites him to a wedding in a village, his life changes forever.

The Apu Trilogy is considered one of the most influential works of all time, with the depiction of the lives of the Bengali being impressively realistic, to the point of occasionally functioning as a documentary.

One of the films’ biggest traits is their black-and-white cinematography from Subrata Mitra, a still photographer who did his first work in cinema on this film, even having to borrow a 16mm. Despite his inexperience, his cinematography is extremely effective, particularly in natural environments, like forests, rivers, in a pond, the monsoon and more.

Among the many impressive scenes that take place in the three films, despite the shoestring budget, one definitely stands out as a true classic moment: the one where the mother is watching over her feverish child, while rain and wind hit the small house from all sides, with the threat becoming evident from every aspect, in a truly agonizing sequence.

3. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950, Japan)

“Rashomon” is considered the film that introduced Japanese cinema to the global stage, with Kurosawa netting an Honorary Award from the 24th Oscars and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, among a plethora of others. Currently, it is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made.

A villager and a priest find solace from the rain under the Rashomon gate and soon after, another passerby joins them. Waiting for the hurricane to pass, they busy themselves by discussing a heinous crime that occurred in the nearby forest, where a samurai was tortured to death and his wife was raped. The main suspect is a notorious criminal.

The three men try to reach the truth, using their memories of the testimonies of the woodcutter who discovered the body, as well as those from the accused Tajomaru, the raped widow, and the deceased’s spirit through a medium.

Kurosawa directs a movie that revolves around the way humans perceive and interpret reality by using a number of unprecedented techniques, as with the various characters providing alternative and even contradictory versions of the same incident.

Lastly, the film presented a direct shot of the sun, an action that was considered taboo up to that point, in a sequence that exemplifies the wonderful cinematography of Kazuo Miyagawa.

2. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)

Yasujiro Ozu’s magnum opus is considered one of the most genuine Japanese films of all time, and in 2012, filmmakers voted it the best film of all time, replacing “Citizen Kane” at the top of the “Sight & Sound” directors’ poll.

Set in Tokyo eight years after the end of World War II, the film revolves around a visit an elderly couple pays to their children, who live with their families in the ever-growing metropolis. Their children, however, do not seem to want to associate much with them, and eventually abandon them at an inn at a tourist resort.

Ozu directs a film that has an evident predilection toward the traditional values of Japanese society, in contrast to the new values resulting from the raging modernization of Japan in the decades after the war. In that fashion, the elderly couple seems happy and filled with love, compared to their kids’ families that seem tortured by issues caused by modern society.

However, Ozu avoided melodrama by focusing on images rather than dialogue, in order to express his view. There are three main characteristics of Ozu’s cinematography. The first is the placement of the camera three feet above the floor (the eye level of a Japanese person seated on a tatami mat), in order to eliminate space and make a two-dimensional space.

The purpose of this technique is to make the audience feel as if they are actually participating in the film, thus becoming more receptive to the characters.

The second is that he almost never moves the camera, since every shot is intended to have a perfect composition of its own. In fact, in “Tokyo Story,” it only moves once. The third is that, during the dialogues, Atsuta places his camera between the people conversing, to make the audience feel like they are standing in the middle of a conversation.

All of these techniques are implemented in this film, in the most wonderful fashion.

1. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)

Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece is one of the most influential films of all time.

The black-and-white movie revolves around seven wandering samurai who are hired to defend the seedy inhabitants of a small village, who are threatened by bandits, while their payment is simply rice.

Kurosawa entailed all the aesthetics of the Golden Age of Japanese cinema, including form, pace, character depiction, and magnificently choreographed action to present a film that excels in all departments.

Along with his cinematographer, Asakazu Nakai, he managed to portray images of astonishing detail and elaborateness, which are chiefly evident in the action sequences, as Kurosawa guides the camera splendidly.

The magnificent cinematography finds its apogee in the ending sequence, where the samurai fight the bandit. The use of a telephoto lens, along with the quick cutting, stresses the chaotic and claustrophobic feeling the scene emits.

“Seven Samurai” became the basis for many films, with John Sturges’ “The Magnificent Seven” being a direct adaptation.


Author Bio: Panos Kotzathanasis is a film critic who focuses on the cinema of East Asia. He enjoys films from all genres, although he is a big fan of exploitation.
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Safran



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your effort, dear Yitian ! flower
Ratings and rankings are always a tricky thing....nevertheless I was very happy to see "our" dear Tony even several times on this list love Applause
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for the info. Yitian Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ham wrote:
Thanks so much for the info. Yitian Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

We should thank Helga for the discovery Very Happy
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