films seen
average score
Japan - 49 years old
Alive and kicking
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A wonderful collection of shorts, visually pleasing, fun to watch and from time to time refreshingly weird.

The Long Excuse

Nagai Iiwake
2016 / 124m - Japan
The Long Excuse poster

Dear Doctor

Dia Dokutâ
2009 / 127m - Japan
Dear Doctor poster

A small and subtle drama. The Japanese country side isn't all that exciting and Nishikawa takes her time to tell a moderately interesting story, but the sluggish atmosphere does have its perks. The direction is solid, the actors do a good job and the film left me fulfilled. Not the most dashing film, but a nice find nonetheless.


2006 / 120m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Sway poster

Wild Berries

Hebi Ichigo
2003 / 108m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Wild Berries poster

Under the Open Sky

Subarashiki Sekai
2020 / 126m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Under the Open Sky poster

Nishikawa's latest felt like she took it a little too easy. It's a decent drama no doubt, resting on the shoulders of a capable cast. The film does little to distinguish itself though, and with a 2-hour runtime it was simply too predictable and safe to make a strong impact. I think it's fair to expect more from someone with her reputation.

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Masao Mikami has spent the bigger part of his life in jail, most notably for Yakuza-related crimes. When he gets out after a 13-year sentence, he vows to better his life. There aren't too many opportunities for an ex-con though, and Mikami struggles to find a job to support himself with.

Having a veteran like Kôji Yakusho is a blessing, and he delivers. But the film seems just a little too content to put all the weight on his shoulders. The cinematography's a little plain, the drama is somewhat simplistic and there isn't quite enough meat here to support a 2-hour runtime. There's a base quality here and the film never derails, I just wish there was more to it. Not bad, but somewhat forgettable.


2005 / 118m - Japan
Drama - Anthology
Female poster

A somewhat disappointing anthology, especially when looking at all the impressive names involved. Five famed directors (apart from Nishikawa all male) each take on a female story. Few of them grabbed this opportunity to come up with something unique, which means you only get some decent but relatively standard drama. With these directors, I needed more.

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The first story is about a girl returning to her hometown, the second one sees two women bonding after one attempts to steal money from the other. The third short follows a woman on holiday with her employer, the fourth one has a young man fancy the friend of his mother, and the final one tells of a mistress waiting for her lover.

Matsuo's short is the best one, while Tsukamoto's short has the best individual scenes. Hiroki's film is probably the least successful of the bunch, but comedy isn't his strong suit. I just wish there were more memorable entries here. When you have less time to impress, you have to go bigger, even if that means failing spectacularly. In contrast, I'd rate all shorts here in the 3-3.5* range, which is not what I'm looking for in a good anthology.

Dreams for Sale

Yume Uru Futari
2012 / 134m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Dreams for Sale poster