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Rashomon
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accounts of a man's murder and the rape of his…
Seven Samurai
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira…
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Yojimbo
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 2
The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by…
Tokyo Drifter
In this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Tetsu's attempt to go straight is thwarted when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang. Director Seijun Suzuki's onslaught of stylized violence and trippy colors is…
Mystery Train
Part of the Series: Criterion American Independents Collection
Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams--which, in Mystery Train,from Jim Jarmusch, is Memphis. Made with its director's customary precision and wit, this triptych of stories pays…
In the Realm of the Senses
Still censored in its own country, In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no corrida), by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, remains one of the most controversial films of all time. A graphic portrayal of insatiable sexual desire, Oshima's film, set…
Ugetsu
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
"Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers," said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director's supreme achievement. Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this…
Throne of Blood
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa, sets Shakespeare's definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a hardened warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune gives…
Ikiru
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
Considered by some to be Akira Kurosawa's greatest achievement, Ikirupresents the director at his most compassionate--affirming life through an exploration of a man's death. Takashi Shimura portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer forced to strip the veneer…
Tokyo Fiancée
Based on Amelie Nothomb's bestselling novel, Tokyo Fiancee is an entertaining romantic comedy that will appeal to fans of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. The young, pixie-like Amelie is in love with all things Japanese, which…
Harakiri
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a…
Woman in the Dunes
One of the sixties' great international art-house sensations, Woman in the Dunes was for many the grand unveiling of the surreal, idiosyncratic worldview of Hiroshi Teshigahara. Eiji Okada plays an amateur entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified…
Audition
This disturbing Japanese thriller follows Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend (Jun Kunimura), Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued…
Kuroneko
Part of the Series: Criterion Favorites Collection
In this poetic and atmospheric horror fable, set in a village in war-torn medieval Japan, a malevolent spirit has been ripping out the throats of itinerant samurai. When a military hero is sent to dispatch the unseen force, he finds…
Floating Weeds
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashomon, Ugetsu). Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly…
The Hidden Fortress
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 2
A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan's princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile…
City Of Life And Death
On December 9, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army laid siege to the Chinese capital of Nanking, beginning a reign of terror that killed as many as 300,000 civilians -- an infamous tragedy now referred to as the Rape of Nanking.…
Double Suicide
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 1
Many films have drawn from classic Japanese theatrical forms, but none with such shocking cinematic effect as director Masahiro Shinoda's Double Suicide. In this striking adaptation of a Bunraku puppet play (featuring the music of famed composer Toru Takemitsu), a…
An Autumn Afternoon
Part of the Series: The Criterion Japanese Collection Vol. 2
Yasujiro Ozu's final film was also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life's ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living…
Stray Dog
A bad day gets worse for young detective Murakami when a pickpocket steals his gun on a hot, crowded bus. Desperate to right the wrong, he goes undercover, scavenging Tokyo's sweltering streets for the stray dog whose desperation has led…