Vision (2018)

Director: Naomi Kawase
Writer: Naomi Kawase
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Masatoshi Nagase, Takanori Iwata, Minami, Mirai Moriyama, Min Tanaka, Mari Natsuki
Seen on: 14.8.2019

Travel author Jeanne (Juliette Binoche) makes her way to Japan to find out more about a mysterious plant said to have healing powers. The plant – called Vision – is said to bloom only once every 1000 years, and only in one particular forest in Nara. When Jeanne and her translator Hana (Minami) arrive there, they meet the grumpy woodsman Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase). He gives them a place to stay, almost despite himself, but then Satoshi and Jeanne start to grow closer.

Vision sounds like a standard romance, but it is not. That didn’t really make it any more interesting to me, though, just more confusing.

The film poster showing Jeanne (Juliette Binoche), Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase) and Rin (Takanori Iwata) as cutouts along a tree trunk photographed from below.
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Mugen no jûnin [Blade of the Immortal] (2017)

Mugen no jûnin
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Tetsuya Oishi
Based on: Hiroaki Samura‘s manga series
Cast: Takuya KimuraHana SugisakiSôta FukushiHayato IchiharaErika TodaKazuki KitamuraChiaki KuriyamaShinnosuke MitsushimaKen KanekoYôko YamamotoEbizô IchikawaMin TanakaTsutomu Yamazaki
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 22.9.2017

Manji (Takuya Kimura) is a great samurai, but when he is unable to protect his sister, he is cursed with immortality. Hoping to regain his soul and mortality by fighting evil, he travels the lands until he encounters Rin (Hana Sugisaki) who looks a lot like his sister and needs help to avenge her parents. Manji promises to help and gets drawn deeply into the fight against Anotsu (Sôta Fukushi) and his master swordsmen.

It feels like Blade of the Immortal is one and the same scene repeated over and over again. It’s a good scene, but not that good that I wanted to see it that often and for that long.

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47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin
Director: Carl Rinsch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini
Based on: the history of the 47 Ronin (very loosely)
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Ko Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka, Jin Akanishi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rick Genest

Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the head samurai of Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), so when Asano dies due to Lord Kira’s (Tadanobu Asano) use of magic through a witch (Rinko Kikuchi), Ôishi becomes ronin. Against Shogun Tsunayoshi’s (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) express orders, Ôishi and the rest of the ronin decide to revenge their master. And for that they need the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a foundling who was taken in by Asano as a young boy who was always mistreated by the samurai but who has some incredible gifts. Kai agrees, mostly to save Mika (Ko Shibasaki), Asano’s daughter.

47 Ronin should have been a spectacle, close to I, Frankenstein in entertainment value and (lack of) intelligence. And while there were a few things that came close to spectacular and a few things that came close to pure stupidity, altogether it was pretty disappointing.


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