Through the years I have been asked to make recommendations on a "verified, authentic list" of Japanese films that one may want to see, as a way of introduction. Many times, I failed to come up with such a list because I don't think I have seen enough. I'm celebrating five years of blogging Japanese movies this coming March 2017 and I thought it would be nice to restart my ambitious 100 contemporary Japanese movie list.
'Contemporary' as many knows refers to movies produced and released recently - perhaps only as "old" as 1996. That means titles such as Tokyo Story, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, The Family Game, and even Harakiri and Cruel Story of Youth will not be included.
What makes Japanese movies different and why would you want to watch them? Hard question and I am not going to attempt to provide an answer.
In regards to this list, I find that there is a good way to narrow it down to just 100 by (1) how much I enjoy watching them, (2) how I fell in love with the story (or at least become very interested and curious) and the acting and (3) how I admire the filmmakers and his crew.
The 100 Japanese films on the list are more likely to be:
Memorable, haunting, and dramatic coming of age films;
Nature and slice of life;
Samurai action-thriller, with some drama and comedy on the side;
A few thrillers, sports drama, boybands, the yakuza, and Japanese 'noir';
Romance and love affairs;
All about cats and dogs and other pets;
LGBT and not particularly Yaoi (there's a big difference, actually);
Weird and bizarre (Only in Japan!).
Of course, that means we'll have plenty of live-action since many are based on favorite manga and anime through the years...
I'm particularly fond of the movies of Nobuhiro Yamashita because I love the way each of his movies creates its own moods and look and that no matter how ordinary the characters first appear to be, they always manage to become extraordinary in my eyes.
Of course, you'll notice the domination of several actors: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Yu Aoi, Masanobu Ando, Mao Inoue, Eita, Fumi Nikaido, Yuya Yagira, Shota Sometani.
In the next 2 articles, the focus will be on the filmmakers and the actors (Japan's 100 Best Actors and Actresses) just mentioned and more.