broad request for suggestions: recent Japanese films

Tom Mes china_crisis
Wed Sep 27 07:09:38 EDT 2006

>Kobayashi, et al. What am I missing and what should I be seeing?

Allow me to belatedly chime in on Lewis Cook's query for worthwhile recent 
films. Not with another list of titles, but rather with some recommendations 
for literature that will provide a basis from which to start exploring.

Let me first get the self-boasting out of the way by pointing you to the 
website Midnight Eye ( and the accompanying book The 
Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film (Stone Bridge Press, 2004).
Mark Schilling's pioneering Contemporary Japanese Film remains a worthwhile 
read, but for Lewis' purposes I especially recommend Keiko McDonald's 
recently published Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context (University of 
Hawai'i Press). It was meant to provide a solid textbook for courses on 
Japanese film, but thankfully its merits and appeal stretch far beyond 
classroom confines. McDonald chooses 16 films made between 1936 and 1997 for 
in-depth but very readable, insightful and informative analyses. There are 
no entries for the 1970s (though the ample context she provides for each 
film means she digresses into that decade in some of the other chapters), 
but the 80s and 90s are represented by such films as Oguri's Muddy River, 
Morita's Family Game, Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro and Kitano's Kids 
Return. One of her selection criteria appears to have been the availability 
of the films in subtitled versions, menaing that most of these should be 
easy to track down for classroom use.
Having all these films presented side by side I believe will provide you 
with exactly the arguments considering relative merits that you seem to be 
looking for.

Midnight Eye

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