I love Japanese movies. Here's a few Sullypicks:
Ran - A beautiful, tragic, devastating film, possibly the best movie ever made. Kurosawa sets Lear in 16th-century Japan to craft a searing indictment of humanity. The final scene is almost unbearable.
Kagemusha - another Kurosawa samurai epic. .
Throne of Blood - Kurosawa's wonderful retelling of Macbeth.
Onibaba - a stark look at what people will do to survive. Haunting.
Heaven and Earth - A gorgeous (if inaccurate) depiction of the epic clash between the Takeda and Uesugi clans in the 16th century.
Tampopo - for a lighter flavor, check out this charming masterpiece from Itami Juzo. Fistful of Dollars meets Iron Chef. It's got everything: food, sex, family, friendship, food, murder, heartbreak, triumph, food, love, and food. Have something to eat handy - this movie will make you hungry.
The Funeral - more fun from Itami Juzo.
Cure - The Japanese make creepy horror movies. This one is excellent.
The Yakuza - Brooding 1970's tale of love, honor and revenge, starring legendary American tough guy Robert Mitchum and legendary Japanese tough guy Takakura Ken. Ken's extended sword duel at the end - masterfully interposed with Mitchum's gunfighting - is authentic kenjitsu.
Millenium Actress - This feature length anime shows what Japanese animation can achieve when it breaks out of the pop-bubblegum mode.
Ghost in the Shell - stunning full-length sf anime for existentialists.
Grave of the Fireflies - heartbreaking animated tale of two children adrift in postwar Japan.
Hanabi - Kitano Takeshi is one of Japan's great contemporary filmakers. This is a good introduction to his work.
Brother - more Kitano. Not as artful as Hanabi, but fun.
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