I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese samurai films and not too keen on period pieces in general. A big part of classic Japanese cinema is taking place in that timeframe of Japanese history, however. So, if you like films and Japan you probably watched your fair share of Samurai flix already.
During the times of home-office and isolation, it’s the time for trying out new streaming services and getting on top of your new year resolution to finally read more in 2020. (same applies to me, I would love to get some film, book, manga suggestions). When you’re out daily grinding at work, long hours every day it’s not the time where most people want to watch an intellectually challenging film in the evening. Most of you (including me) will probably just switch on YOU (on Netflix) or snack some Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the PS4 (which I just started and really enjoy). If you haven’t heard about the Criterion Collection before check out my love letter that I’ve written about that amazing company.
Now is the time to check out the Criterion Channel and brush up on your film-knowledge, discover new truly inspiring films and just dig a little deeper what’s out there to discover. Just browse through their vast online selection or check out some of my favorite films that are ready to stream:
High & Low – A suspenseful crime thriller, that is witty and gripping that the 2.5h run-time feels like an hour. My favorite film by Akira Kurosawa and one of my favorite films in general.
Ghost World – A coming of age story like no other. Wonderfully weird and unique.
Hardcore & Mishima – Both by Paul Schrader, one thriller and LSD soaked dreamy picture. Both very much worth your time. You may have realized by now that I suck at describing films. Regardless of that: Please give all these a chance :)
Criterion UK released (or rather Sony did) that 23 Zatoichi-film spanning book/boxset and made its way over to Europe in late November. I have seen a couple of the films included, a couple of Hanzo the Razor and few other classics in the same vein as Sword of Doom (which is recommended). Still, I’m not the biggest fan even if I tried a few times to fell in love with the genre.
Recently I made another order at wowhd for some Criterion Blu-Ray discs. During their “secret sales” (when items just appear randomly to be reduced) I usually just went ahead and bought 4-5 films from my wish-list. Unfortunately, they’re now adding a VAT on top of the price which makes using them a lot more expensive and will probably drive me back to UK-Criterion only releases for a while.
I snatched An Actor’s Revenge after watching the Criterion trailer. A highly stylized one and after watching the film I can attest to you: It’s a stunner. The cinematography is breathtaking, the storytelling actually on point (a rarity with the samurai flix) and the tale itself is off the beaten path – which makes it so interesting. A Japanese Geisha-Drag-Queen is out for revenge, that’s all you need to know. And what I always found fascinating throughout the whole film – nobody could resist the charm of that master swordsman (or swordswomen). No matter if boy or girl everybody wanted a piece of that tasty Drag-Geisha out for blood.
Regardless if you were disappointed with these kinds of films before – give An Actor’s Revenge a try. It’s a must for every film aficionado.
Like always, the Criterion packaging is pure joy. I took a couple of pictures for you guys to enjoy it together with me. But first, a trailer. Not the best quality one (and you should head over to Criterion to view theirs as well)
Please share your current film, manga, book and tv-show favorites with me. I’m also pretty big into audio-books so please share your hidden-gems. Always more than appreciated.
Stay healthy and stay home.