Japanese cult cinema thread

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by HungFist »

Guro Taku wrote: 19 Oct 2019, 09:28 Happinet is releasing a lot of Nikkatsu action/yakuza films from at least January 2020 through March 2020. The full list is here:

http://www.happinet-p.com/jp3/releases/category/moviej

This isn't a genre/era I am too familiar with, so someone else can figure out what's essential and what's not so hot.
Well noticed. The keyword here is Tetsuya Watari.

I made a very quick list of the new releases, omitting all re-releases (e.g. Velvet Hustler, the Gangster VIP series)

2020/01/08

新宿アウトロー ぶっ飛ばせ (Step on the Gas) (1970)
Dir. Toshiya Fujita
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Meiko Kaji, Yoshio Harada, Mikio Narita

白鳥 (Hakuchô) (1966)
Dir. Katsumi Nishikawa
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Tetsuya Watari

昭和やくざ系図 長崎の顔 (Showa Yakuza Family Tree-Face of Nagasaki) (1969)
Dir. Takashi Nomura
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Noboru Ando, Tatsuya Fuji

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2020.02.04

赤いグラス (Akai glass) (1966)
Dir. Ko Nakahira
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Jôji Ai

燃える雲 (Burning Clouds) (1967)
Dir. Takashi Nomura
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Joe Shishido, Hideaki Nitani, Ryo Ikebe, Ryôhei Uchida

野獣を消せ (Savage Wolf Pack) (1969)
Dir. Yasuharu Hasebe
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Tatsuya Fuji, Tamio Kawaji

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2020.03.03

星よ嘆くな 勝利の男 (The Man of Victory) (1967)
Dir. Toshio Masuda
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Ruriko Asaoka, Meiko Kaji, Hideaki Nitani

わが命の唄 艶歌 (Waga inochi no uta enka) (1968)
Dir. Toshio Masuda
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Kei Sato

夢は夜ひらく (Unfolding Night of Dreams) (1967)
Dir. Haruyasu Noguchi
Cast: Mari Sono, Tetsuya Watari, Hideki Takahashi

青春の海 (Seishun no umi) (1967)
Dir. Shogoro Nishimura
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Tetsuya Watari

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I don't know much about these films either, Step on the Gas (a bit disappointing) and Savage Wolf Pack (pretty good and very violent!) being the only ones I've seen. Great to see one Shogoro Nishimura coming to dvd, too. He was a shit Roman Porno director, but made some really cool mainstream films before that.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by DenPryan »

The Nikkatsu website says that the release of these films is timed to the date of 55 years of career in the cinema Tetsuya Watari.
A total of 20 DVDs will be released, some films have previously been released on DVDs, but there are many such that will be for the first time.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Oh, nice, I hadn't noticed that.

From the 20 DVD releases, the DVD debuts (10) are listed in my post above. The rest (10) are re-releases.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Experience (経験) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 3/5
Sweet-talking lady killer kid Hayato Tani hustles with bargirls and girlfriends, and everyone is having good time even when getting an abortion. This has the common Toei youth film characteristic that it doesn't quite seem to be taking place on this planet, most evident when Tani and Tsunehiko Watase have a friendly fist fight to save a girl's face - with neither one dying or even getting a skull fracture from the 50+ received head-punches. Insignificant, but sort of fun film; the final reel especially has a good swing. Imagine Delinquent Girl Boss or Three Pretty Devils minus the gang stuff and double the disco swing and you’re close. Reiko Ohara (does a shower scene with body double), Mieko Tsudoi and Yoko Mihara play the gals, Reiko Oshida does musical cameo as a disco singer, and Tani is energetic in the lead - I'm starting to see where his popularity (with the ladies) stemmed from.

Caps from Amazon Prime. Toei DVD is also available.

Tani and Ohara
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Reiko Oshida
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Tsunehiko Watase
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by Guro Taku »

DenPryan wrote: 19 Oct 2019, 15:54 The Nikkatsu website says that the release of these films is timed to the date of 55 years of career in the cinema Tetsuya Watari.
A total of 20 DVDs will be released, some films have previously been released on DVDs, but there are many such that will be for the first time.
And that is immediately being followed in April by a batch of releases celebrating the 65th anniversary of actress Izumi Ashikawa's debut. Nikkatsu actually took requests (deadline: November 2019) for which films of hers fans would want to see get a DVD release. The results:

Shirobanba (しろばんば) (1962) dir. Eisuke Takizawa

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Where Is Happiness (しあわせはどこに) (1956) dir. Katsumi Nishikawa

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Story of Four Loves (四つの恋の物語) (1965) dir. Katsumi Nishikawa

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There'll also be re-releases of Glass-Hearted Johnny (硝子のジョニー 野獣のように見えて) dir. Koreyoshi Kurahara and Marriage Consultation (結婚相談) (1965) and Temptation (誘惑) (1957) both dir. Ko Nakahira.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Violent Gang Re-Arms (暴力団再武装) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 4/5
Fundamentally honourable but occasionally ruthless yakuza (Koji Tsuruta with darker shades than usual) is set in charge of a port business by a syndicate who are complete arseholes in suits and to whom nothing but money matters (including extremely menacing Tetsuro Tamba). The port workers (lead by Asao Koike and Tomisaburo Wakayama, both wonderfully cast against type) retaliate with strikes and by establishing a union. The police (Fumio Watanabe as the head, another excellent piece of casting against type) are more beneficial to the yakuza than the common man. This is one of director Junya Sato's best pictures, a strong, political piece of filmmaking disguised as a yakuza film. There is a dynamic depiction the corruption in society and the socio-political network comprising of all kinds of people coming in touch with the yakuza, an area Sato did better in his films than Kinji Fukasaku.

Caps from the Toei DVD

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Here's a little Fukasaku round up with some reviews I've posted in the past 6 months, with stills and screencaps, because I think many people don't realize what a good director he was already in the 60s before his famed 70s classics.

High Noon for Gangsters (白昼の無頼漢) (Japan, 1961) [DVD] - 4/5
An excellent early Fukasaku picture, a racially and sexually charged heist thriller. Seven people gather in a mansion, four of them blackmailed by gangster Tamba who has compromising information on them. And the four are all foreigners (a black G.I., a racist white American and his wife, and a Korean). "$300 000 for me, $200 000 for the six of you, that's $50 000 a head" Tamba says, and remarks after being told his math is off "school math won’t cut in, at least two of you are gonna die, that’s $50 000 a head". There's terrific tension throughout and some witty dialogue in both Japanese and English (Tamba interpreting his Japanese lover for the American wife: "She said you're pretty charming for a pig"). The foreign cast is passable, and the white American actually speaks fluent Japanese while Tamba speaks understandable English. The heist itself is a bit rushed and there's an uninspired twist here and there, but only noticeable because the film is damn good overall!

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League of Gangsters (ギャング同盟) (Japan, 1963) [VoD] - 3.5/5
Part 7 in the Gang series. Takes a little while to get rolling, but the film is packed with energetic performances (Ryuhei Uchida, Rinichi Yamamoto, Harumi Sone etc.) and moments that play completely against genre conventions, as well as two real stand-out sequences. The 1st one is a brilliant 8 minute, two part kidnapping sequence timed to two jazz songs and executed with the preciseness of clockwork. The other is a massive, climatic gun battle that that was years ahead of its time. Another very good Fukasaku’s contribution to the series (his 1st one was Gang vs. G-men (1962)).

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The Threat (脅迫) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 4/5
Brutal, extremely intense Kinji Fukasaku thriller about a family man (Rentaro Mikuni) forced to help two criminals (Ko Nishimura and Hideo Murota) in a kidnapping/blackmail plot after they invade his house and take his family as hostage. Fukasaku once said he's proud of his filmography from the early 70s on, but closer inspection shows he already directed various small, but highly effective pictures in the 60s. This one is almost as hard hitting as his 70s classics, sharing their editing rhythms and documentary style street cinematography. The cast is terrific, Nishimura (the old priest from Lady Snowblood) in particular as the main bad guy.

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Ceremony of Disbanding (解散式) (Japan, 1967) [DVD] - 3/5
"What are we, the yakuza, without honour and humanity?" A rare ninkyo effort from Fukasaku, one that embraces the genre's old fashioned form to the point of becoming unrecognizable in the director's filmography. There are several lyrically melancholic scenes with Tsuruta witnessing his old yakuza pals consumed by greed and abandon the traditional way of the yakuza, a beautifully depicted honour/duty play with rival clan ex-bodyguard Tamba, and mature performance by Junko Miyazono as a woman from the past. It’s a shame the scrip as a whole isn’t quite as accomplished, failing to give some wonderful scenes the context they deserve. Note: not to be confused with Gambler: Ceremony of Disbanding (1968), also directed by Fukasaku.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Masato Harada’s debut movie and a love letter to cinema, Farewell, Movie Friend: Indian Summer (aka Goodbye Flickmania) (さらば映画の友よ インディアンサマー) (1979) will be released on DVD in Japan by DIG on September 2.

The film stars beloved Toei superstar Takuzo Kawatani as a man who sees 365 movies a year. Also features Hideo Murota, Yoshio Harada and Renji Ishibashi. The music is by Ryudo Uzaki. The film’s title is a reference to the Charles Bronson film Farewell, Friend.

I have not seen this but it looks lovely!

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0060JwldoA

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https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B088YX4YYW
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Probably everyone already knows, but here I did not find an ad. I mean the new releases of Arrow Video.
June 23 -
(1962) Koiya koi nasuna koi / 恋や恋なすな恋 / The Mad Fox (Tomu Uchida)
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And August 24th -
(1962) Kuro no tesuto kaa / 黒の試走車 / Black Test Car (Yasuzo Masumura)
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(1963) Kuro no hokokusho / 黒の報告書 / The Black Report (Yasuzo Masumura)
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I really hope they will continue on the "Black Series"
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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For once I like the new artworks!

I have actually not seen these. I'd love to see Arrow release Masumura's Yakuza Masterpiece (1970), which is indeed a masterpiece!
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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I have a copy of this movie recorded last year from Neko’s TV channel
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Evil Dead Trap 1 & 2 [2020/09/25]

Japanese BDs coming September 25, 2020.

Both with English subtitles.

These are a result of the crowd funding campaign last year.

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https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B08CY6JJ83

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https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B08CY6KKHY
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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HungFist wrote: 06 Oct 2020, 11:52 Toei will be releasing a Toei Action Film Collection with the Yakuza Deka films (4 movies) and the Yakuza Wolf films (2 movies) on DVD 2021/1/13. Oddly enough, it will be a single 3 disc set with two movies on each disc...

And yes, on DVD for heaven's sake! No BD! Despite all of these films streaming in HD on Amazon, and on TV in HD as well.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B08KK3CTZQ/
And in March there’s gonna be an 8 film DVD set with Tatsuo Umemiya’s Youth of the Night (夜の青春) films. That's great news because many of those are on my want-to-see list, though as Mako Midori films rather than Umemiya films.

ひも (1965)
いろ (1965)
ダニ (1965)
かも (1965)
夜の悪女 (1965)
夜の手配師 (1968)
夜の牝犬 (1966)
赤い夜光虫 (1966)
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Bullet Wound (弾痕) (1969)
Interesting, bloody counter-espionage thriller set in 1969 Tokyo during violent, anti US student protests. Yuzo Kayama is an American-Japanese operative working for the US to uncover an arms deal between an American seller and Chinese communists, and to take out both parties. After almost getting assassinated himself, he takes a wounded civilian (Kiwako Taichi) with him despite living in a world where no one can be trusted. This is a loosely linked companion to Kayama’s other sniper / professional killer films Sun Above, Death Below (1968), The Creature Called Man (1970) and Target of Roses (1972), but with a more political approach. And there is no lack of nihilism, as proven by the unnecessarily long torture / interrogation scene. The film’s first half runs at leisure pace and ought to have been cut down, but the second half is tight, suspenseful and action packed. The era is captured well, and Kayama is great at channelling lonely tough guy vibes as a man with no true homeland, looked down upon by Americans and Japanese alike.

Screencaps from the Toho DVD which is still in print. I really wish we could get there "Toho New Action" films on BD, though. These Kayama film, the Kiyoshi Nishimura films etc.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Another DVD set coming from Toei: Chiezo Kataoka's Tarao Bannai series ( 片岡千恵蔵主演 多羅尾伴内シリーズ). 6 films on 3 discs. The release date is 2021/05/12.

1. 「多羅尾伴内シリーズ 片目の魔王」 (1953年8月公開)
2. 「多羅尾伴内シリーズ 隼の魔王」 (1955年1月公開)
3. 「多羅尾伴内シリーズ 復讐の七仮面」 (1955年7月公開)
4. 「多羅尾伴内シリーズ 戦慄の七仮面」 (1956年1月公開)
5. 「多羅尾伴内 十三の魔王」 (1958年1月公開)
6. 「多羅尾伴内 七つの顔の男だぜ」 (1960年4月公開)

Note: there are seven films in total in the series. It says part 2, 曲馬団の魔王 (1954), is omitted because the print is missing (or damaged beyond repair, I'm not sure which one is the intended meaning of 原版消失).
- https://www.allcinema.net/soft/1066050

This is not the first time Toei has lost their belongings. I have the New Seven Color Mask (新 七色仮面) (1960) TV series box set, which only contains episodes 1-13 out of 26 because the rest are missing according to the back cover.

I guess it's been like that for a while, since the 90s VHS releases of Tarao Bannai and New Seven Color Mask likewise included the same films and episodes.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by Guro Taku »

Last September Happinet released two horror films by Morihei Magatani, including the long-banned Blood-Sword of the 99th Virgin (九十九本目の生娘) (1959), possibly the most controversial Japanese horror film this side of Teruo Ishii's Horrors of Malformed Men. This black-and-white Shintoho production is about a mountain village full of freaks who kidnap and ritualistically murder dumb city folk. The citiziens of a nearby town are eventually also drawn into the fight and ultimately a baby-faced Bunta Sugawara (only 26 at the time) as a policeman leads a raid on those evil backwoods degenerates. I thought the film holds up really well, with some striking cinematography, some nasty business that's still effective and an amazing score by Teizo Matsumura that kind of reminded me of Basil Poledouris at times.

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Here's a somewhat hilarious video of film critic Mark Schilling trying to... carefully... very carefully... discuss why the film was deemed so controversial at the time of its release:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeHZDZETy6U

Kind of a bummer that this got a bare-bones DVD (save for the trailer) instead of a BD release stacked with extras that put it and the controversy it caused into historical perspective but I guess we should be glad we are allowed to watch it at all after all those decades!

The second film released in tandem with it was The Serpent's Lust (蛇精の淫) (1960) but I have yet to watch that one.

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And of course a whole bunch of other titles also released under the Shintoho Cinema Nostalgia banner. I'm not an expert on those olden films, so someone else write those up:

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The line is ongoing, with new releases announced up to April 2021.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Thanks for the recommendation. Gotta see Blood-Sword of the 99th Virgin.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by Guro Taku »

Just noticed that this line also gave us a DVD release of Yoshiki Onoda's (who apparently is still alive at 95 years old, nice!) Female Slave Ship (女奴隷船) (1960), also starring Bunta.

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Your review a while ago (from a TV broadcast, I assume?) made it sound kind of fun, so I should probably check that out. Can't hurt to support this line!
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Guro Taku wrote: 14 Feb 2021, 12:37 (from a TV broadcast, I assume?)
I have to admit that was a webrip download. I was writing a Sasori article and needed to see every WiP film I could find asap, and this one wasn't easily available (no rentals, no stream, and I think the old DVD was like 20 years OOP and probably priced around 20 000 too).

I guess time to atone and but the new disc.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Hey,
Where can I see subbed Shuji Terayama movies? He was referenced in the new Mamoru Oshii written/directed anime series, "Vlad Love", now I'm curious.
Thanks in advance.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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EvaUnit02 wrote: 04 Mar 2021, 13:54 Hey,
Where can I see subbed Shuji Terayama movies? He was referenced in the new Mamoru Oshii written/directed anime series, "Vlad Love", now I'm curious.
Thanks in advance.
I'm not really the right person to answer this, I've barely seen any of his films. I think a lot has been custom subbed, but I don't know about official subbed releases. Maybe someone else knows better?
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Drug Connection (極東黒社会 DRUG CONNECTION) (1993)
Toei V-Cinema antics disguised as a theatrical film. Opens with a close-up of bare breasts, in a New York drug lab full of topless men and women processing narcotics, moments before the police raid the place and shoot half of the people dead. The mafia then decides to seek new markets in Japan. Cut to Shinjuku where small time smuggler (Koji Yakusho) is caught between Japanese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong crime syndicates (the latter lead by ruthless Jimmy Wang Yu!) fighting for drug dominance. Enter N.Y. undercover cop (Sho Kosugi!) who has followed the trail to Japan, and a gaijin woman who shows her boobs. Good film! There's a bit of Fukasaku, a hint of mid 90s Miike, and perhaps even a passing resemblance to John Woo here. The action is never quite as catchy as you'd wish, and there is excess length at 110 min, but the great cast and the sheer amount of sex and violence in theatrical wrapping makes this worth a watch. The film's box office failure, they say, sank Toei ever deeper into V-Cinema where the audiences for stuff like this were.

The screencaps are from Toei Channel, but this is also available on Toei DVD.

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Yakusho
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Wang Yu
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Kosugi
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Wang Yu the mean
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Where can I see "In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World" (Kono Sekai no (Sara ni Ikutsumo no) Katasumi ni) with English subs? It's a 30 mins longer version of "In This Corner of the World"(Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni), directed by Sunao Katabuchi. AFAIK no Western distributor has picked up this newer version of the film.

I can't find fansubs on nyaa.si or subscene.com. I'm surprised because the original version of the film was critically acclaimed in the West. Was the popularity of this film just astroturfed by critics and actual audiences just didn't give a shit?

EDIT:
Actually yeah, I really think the popularity is astroturfed. 51k ratings for "In this Corner..." vs. 960k ratings for similarly critically acclaimed film, "A Silent Voice".
Last edited by EvaUnit02 on 02 Apr 2021, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by Guro Taku »

Wild Zero is getting a BD release from Rapid Eye Movies in Germany on May 28th. No English subs.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Guro Taku wrote: 02 Apr 2021, 15:03 Wild Zero is getting a BD release from Rapid Eye Movies in Germany on May 28th. No English subs.

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Oh cool, Guitar Wolf. I saw them live a few years back and bought their vinyl.

Here's a playlist of videos that I took.

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