films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
more info


Mountain Woman

Yama Onna
2022 / 100m - Japan
Mountain Woman poster

A stylish and polished Japanese period drama. It is somewhat reminiscent of Twilight Samurai, mixed with Tsukamoto's Killing, and an added touch of mysticism that gives the film its unique signature. Mountain Woman doesn't fall into the usual poverty porn traps, but a jolly film this is not. Something for the fans of arthouse cinema in other words.

Read all

A young woman grows up in a family that is looked down upon for something their great-grandfather did. All the villagers live in poverty, and when she takes the blame for stealing a little rice from the storage room, she decides to leave the village and live her life on a nearby mountain, where spirit creatures supposedly roam the forest. There she meets a mysterious man.

The cinematography is moody, the performances are strong and the pacing is slow but deliberate. The film could've used a more prominent soundtrack, the plot is a little too predictable and the couleur locale isn't quite as intriguing as suggested. In the end, there's something missing to make this a real stand-out, but fans of Japanese period dramas should definitely give it a go.

Ainu Mosir

Ainu Moshiri
2020 / 84m - Japan
Ainu Mosir poster

Part coming of age drama, part introduction to the indigenous Ainu culture. While that sounded like an intriguing premise, the film fails to find a clear focus and can't quite decide what it wants to be. I think it would've worked better as either a pure narrative or a full-on documentary.

Read all

Kanto is a young boy growing up in an Ainu village. He is taught about their customs and myths, but he's also drawn to the world outside their little commune. When the elders decide to revive an old Ainu ritual (which involves killing a young bear cub Kanto helped raise), he struggles with his origins.

Performances are decent, the setting is beautiful and the Ainu culture is intriguing, but the coming of age elements feel a bit fleeting and they're never properly explored. The pacing is quite slow, coupled with rather short runtime the film came off underdeveloped, even somewhat unfinished. It's a shame, as this topic deserved better.