films seen
average score
Japan - 68 years old
R.I.P. (1954 - 2022)
more info


Man Walking on Snow

Aruku, Hito
2001 / 103m - Japan
Man Walking on Snow poster

Lear on the Shore

Umibe no Ria
2017 / 105m - Japan
Lear on the Shore poster

Masahiro Kobayashi's final film is a fine goodbye to cinema, though a little too theatrical in nature to be a true personal favorite. In that way, it's a bit like Drive My Car, only Lear on the Shore never really made it outside of Japan. Fans of Hamaguchi (and Kobayashi of course) should do well to seek it out.

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Kuwahata was once a famous actor, but life got the better of him. Old age and growing signs of dementia make it impossible for him to live by himself, so his daughter sends him off to a retirement home. The first chance Kuwahata gets he escapes from the place. The first one to find him is a daughter from another marriage.

The dialogues are quite construed and the drama is a little overdone in places, but the performances are strong and the cinematography & setting are surprisingly captivating. With a little extra tweaking, this could've been a film I truly loved, but Kobayashi did well here. A fine film to end a career on.

Haru's Journey

Haru Tono Tabi
2010 / 134m - Japan
Haru's Journey poster

A solid and heartwarming Kobayashi. It's been a while since I watched one of his films, expectations were relatively low, but it turned out much better than I'd hoped. Which, if I'd been paying more attention, isn't really all that surprising, because I've liked almost all of Kobayashi's films so far.

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The two main characters are truly golden. A grumpy grandfather (Tadao) and a submissive granddaughter (Haru) go on an improvised trip after Haru tells him she wants to go her own way in life. Finding a place for Tadao to stay proves harder than expected though, as the bonds with his direct family have soured over the years.

While the drama is quite overt and on the nose, the strong performances, subtle direction and delicate pacing make sure the film always feels genuine and pure. It's a bit long maybe and it might've benefited from some visual polish here and there, but overall this is another great film from Kobayashi. Well recommended for fans of Japanese drama.


2005 / 82m - Japan
Bashing poster


2005 / 154m - Japan
Crime, Drama
Flic poster

An intriguing film from Masahiro Kobayashi. What looks like a police procedural gets stripped down to the bones to reveal a thrilling, oppressive and mysterious drama. The slow pacing and excessive length are deliberate and functional, even so I think cutting 15-20 minutes could've made this into a personal favorite.

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Detective Murata became a recluse after losing his wife. When a young girl gets brutally murdered with a chainsaw in a hotel room in Tokyo, Murata is brought back from retirement to take on the case. Together with his partner he travels to Hokkaido, where the girl was born, to unravel the mystery.

The performances are superb, with a career defining role for Teruyuki Kagawa. Stylistically the film is pretty unique, sporting a very minimalistic take on Takashi Zeze's gritty crime and drama vibe. It is quite slow and rather long though, so make sure you're in the right headspace if you want to take on this film. Very good, stops just short of being great.

The Rebirth

Ai no Yokan
2007 / 102m - Japan
The Rebirth poster

A somewhat barren Kobayashi. He isn't the loudest or most expressive of Japanese drama directors, but he has a knack for elevating dry visuals into a more stylized package. A skill not fully on display in The Rebirth, I was sad to find out. There's still enough dramatic intrigue to keep things interesting, but I expected a little more.

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A middle school girl kills one of her classmates. A traumatic experience that leaves the victim's father all alone, and the mother of the killer with a tremendous feeling of guilt. The father moves away to start his life again, and the mother follows him around. Though they share a dark history, they never connect with each other.

The performances are good and the premise is pretty interesting. I also liked the minimalistic approach but would've loved a tad more attention to the styling. There's an almost documentary-like feel to the film that was just a little too bare-bones for my taste. Not a bad film, but far from Kobayashi's best.

Kaizokuban Bootleg Film

1999 / 74m - Japan
Crime, Drama
Kaizokuban Bootleg Film poster

Closing Time

1996 / 81m - Japan
Closing Time poster

Kobayashi's first is a little too on the nose. With all the direct references to classic directors, this is clearly the work of a budding arthouse director who hasn't really found his own voice yet. The rhythm of Closing Time isn't too bad and there are some interesting characters that pop up, but overall it's a little too shallow to be worthwhile.