Official Nominations: Kapo. La Verite. The Virgin Spring. Macario. The 9th Circle.
I’m afeard that for this category I can only mention the movies I have seen. Time in the Spac Hole is… different; on one path I built I world where 26 hours a day I could spend watching movies, reading books, listening to music, and playing games but the gateway to that place has been severed and so my watching and reviewing time is now limited. Out of the official nominations The Virgin Spring is the only one these eyes have seen, and it is a deserved winner.
My Winner: The Virgin Spring
My Nominations: However, mine eyes have seen many which were not nominated:
Peeping Tom: A classic British thriller, this ranks alongside The Wicker Man and 28 Days Later as one of the most evil British exports.
The Bad Sleep Well: This lesser known Kurosawa film abandons many of his trademarks and instead is a condensed look at family, revenge, and corporate corruption. Mifune ditches the Samural guard, but is no less fearsome as the young man plotting the downfall of the men responsible for his father’s death. This is Japanese noir at it’s finest, and while American counterparts always have some biting humour and a fiendish vixen, Kurosawa’s is a raw, bitter sword slash against massive corporations whose collapse will inevitably bring down everyone involved, and whose continuing existence relies upon that very fear.
Breathless: See Best Picture Nominations
Jigoku: In a stellar year for Japanese cinema, Jigoku is surely the oddest release. While Asian horrors of the time focused on typical Noh inspired visions of spirits and the afterlife, Jigoku is much more visceral and violent in its depictions of death and what comes after. Nakagawa was a master of J-Horror long before it became known as such, the groundbreaking and terrifying visions of hell above and below are startling, innovative, and inspiring for film makers. This alone would not make a great film, but the sometimes incomprehensible plot sees parallels in later works by the likes of Lynch in which sights and sounds and what is felt rather than spoken of become the primary in the story. This is bleak, brilliant, and just as true today as it was in 1960.
Late Autumn: This quiet film from Yasujiro Ozu has more bubbling under than at first seems apparent; The male dominated world of Japan in an age when women were struggling for power in the West is depicted as cold and loveless, especially when dealing with issues of love, relationships, and marriage. In the end it is the women who make the choices and the men who cause trouble even when they may have had the best intentions.
Night And Fog In Japan: Oshima’s political film deals with the bridge between fiery youth and leaving that age behind but more importantly is his commentary on the student uprising in the 1950s and the struggles with Stalin, Communism, and political defeat in the aftermath of World War II.
The Young One: Bunuel’s forgotten film was another controversial piece, dealing with rape and racism. The US was not ready for such themes and such clear depictions- Europe (and South America) was years ahead.
The Virgin Spring: See Above
My Winner: The Virgin Spring. One of the more accessible of Bergman’s film yet one which still covers his favoured themes of religion, faith, solitude, family, redemption, sex. Von Sydow commands the screen as the father to a murdered daughter who seeks and finds revenge, while assorted family mambers and friends have their own struggles to work through. For all the darkness in the plot this one is light at times and ends with a glimmer of hope.