Both Kinema Junpo and Eiga Geijutsu have released their “Best Ten” lists for 2015. Kinema Junpo’s number one film was Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s Koibitotachi (Three Stories of Love), while Eiga Geijutsu picked Haruhiko Arai’s Kono kuni no sora (This Country’s Sky). As Aaron Gerow pointed out on the KineJapan mailing list, given that Arai is Eiga Geijutsu’s publisher, the magazine’s number one pick is hardly a surprise (though This Country’s Sky appeared on Kinema Junpo’s list as well). Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nobi (Fires on the Plain) also appeared on both lists, as did Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kishibe no tabi (Journey to the Shore) and Masanori Tominaga’s Rolling. Interestingly, Eiga Geijutsu’s “worst” list included Hirokazu Koreeda’s Umimachi Diary, which appeared on Kinema Junpo’s “best” list. The worst of the worst was Harada Masato’s Nihon no ichiban nagai hi (The Emperor in August), which I definitely didn’t care for.
In upcoming releases, on January 30 director Yoshihiro Nakamura mixes mystery with horror in Zane: Sundeikenai heya (The Inerasable), based on the novel by Fuyumi Ono. That same weekend, Satoko Yokohama’s Haiyū Kameoka Takuji (The Actor), a follow-up to her much-praised 2009 film Urutora mirakuru rabu sutôrî (Bare Essence of Life), hits theaters. Opening on February 13 is Kôki Fukuyama’s Tetsu no ko (Children of Iron), the story of two step-siblings who make a “divorce pact” and attempt to drive their parents apart.
In the realm of classic Japanese films with subtitles, streaming site Fandor is currently giving subscribers access to Kaneto Shindo’s eerie 1968 ghost story Kuroneko (Black Cat) until January 24. New users can sign up for a two-week free trial, after that subscriptions start at around USD$10 per month.
Finally, Tetsuya Nakashima’s Kawaki (The World of Kanako) is currently available for viewing on U.S. iTunes. It’s gotten a lot of praise for its dizzying style, and Kôji Yakusho is excellent as usual, but if you’re a bit weary of films that heavily feature rape, gore, women being beaten, and endless scenes of unpleasant people shouting at each other (I definitely am), then you might want to give it a miss.