films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


That Moment, My Heart Cried

Sono Shunkan, Boku wa Nakitaku Natta
2019 / 115m - Japan
Drama - Anthology
That Moment, My Heart Cried poster

A pretty peculiar anthology. This was marketed as something a bit more experimental, heralding new forms of film making and all that. The result: five pretty basic Japanese drama shorts, some of them with a little fantastical twist, but none of them really doing anything special or out of the ordinary.

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There's no clear concept here, apart from the fact that the primary focus lies on drama. Takashi Miike and Isao Yukisada were brought in to spearhead this film, the other three directors are younger and still have everything to prove. Again, that's par for the course, as most Japanese anthologies are set up this way.

Miike's short feels like a live action version of a Shinkai film, but the execution is a little flat, the 2nd and 3rd shorts aren't all that remarkable either. Horanai's film is the first to really show some promise, but it's Yukisada's 5th and final entry that finally delivers the goods. It's certainly not a bad collection of films, but I honestly expected more. There are no weak films, but no stand-outs either.

Pieta in the Toilet

Toire no Pieta
2015 / 120m - Japan
Pieta in the Toilet poster

Pure Japanese

Pyua Japanizu
2022 / 88m - Japan
Action, Drama
Pure Japanese poster

A peculiar little film, mixing action with a quest for a Japanese identity. I'm not entirely sure if the film was very successful in what it set out to do, but the result is pretty interesting regardless. Don't go in expecting a straightforward genre film though, it's more like a slightly overambitious blend of different styles and approaches.

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Tateushi is a young Japanese actor who returns from the US after he causes an accident on set. He goes to work in a samurai-themed village where he becomes a show fighter in a play. His past still haunts him and when he tries to help a local family who is being bullied by some local Yakuza he just makes things harder on himself.

The film works towards a showdown between Tateushi and the Yakuza, but also digs deeper into his US roots, even introducing some (semi)medical test that is supposed to tell someone how pure his Japanese roots are. The two elements never really come together that well, but there are some memorable scenes and the pacing is on point. Not bad, just oddly convoluted for what could and should have been a simpler film.