JAPAN DAY; Filmmaker Choices of Japanese Films

Notes on Japan Day

Yosep Anggi Noen on The Pornographer

Imamura membawa kita ke diskusi kemanusiaan tentang moral, moralitas dan kewarasan. Imamura memaparkan tekanan-tekanan ekonomi di konteks masyarakat Jepang yang sedang mengenyam kemajuan dan beranjak modern. Cerita juga berkisar antara siasat atas kebutuhan ekonomi, namun juga masih menyisakan gagasan irasional, mitos dan tabu.

Mata kamera Imamura mengajak kita mengintip keluarga-keluarga Jepang dengan intrik-intriknya melalui jendela-jendela yang dibiarkan setengah terbuka. Mengintip menjadi semacam antitesis dari pernyataan judul, porn. Film yang berasal dari novel karya Akiyuki Nosaka ini juga dikenal dengan judul lain, An Introduction to Anthropology Through the Pornographers.

Immamura carries us to the discussion on moral, morality, and sanity. He describes the economic pressures in the context of Japanese society who are in the development phase and step up to be modern. The story also tells about strategy to fulfill economic needs; yet, irrational notion, myth, and taboo still exist.

The eyes of Imamura’s camera ask us to take a peek at Japanese families and their intrigues through half-opened window. Peeking becomes a kind of antithesis from the title’s statement, porn. The film, which was adapted from Akiyuki Nosaka’s novel, is also well-known with other title: An Introduction to Anthropology Through the Pornographers.

Riri Riza on Kids Return

Film ini liar, indah sekaligus naïf. Menontonnya dulu serasa sedang minum whisky bersama Takeshi Kitano.

This film is wild, beautiful, as well as naïve. Watching this was like drinking whisky with Takeshi Kitano.

Garin Nugrono on Seven Samurai

Gabungan antara dramaturgi yang berlapis, karakterisasi yang berlapis, karakterisasi yang kuat, artistik yang luar biasa dan spirit jepang, maka film terbaca sederhana namun kompleks.

A combination of layered dramaturgy and characterization, strong characterization, extraordinary artistic creation, and Japanese spirit, this film seems simple but complex.

Paul Agusta on Cure

It just seemed like the natural thing to do

Kalimat itu diucapkan oleh seorang guru SD setelah membunuh istrinya tanpa alasan atau provokasi.

Beberapa pembunuhan sejenis ini terjadi sepanjang film Cure karya Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Orang biasa, tanpa sejarah kekerasan, tiba-tiba menjadi pembunuh. Seorang detektif kebingungan mencari hubungan antara kejadian-kejadian tersebut.

Dalam film yang sengaja dieksekusi secara dingin dan berjarak secara emosional ini, Kurosawa mengajak kita menggali sisi gelap sifat dasar manusia atau human nature. Siapakah kita? Kegelapan apakah yang terkubur di dalam diri kita yang saking dalamnya kita pun tidak menyadari sisi itu ada?

Saya memilih Cure karya Kiyoshi Kurosawa ini karena cara dia mengurai thriller yang sangat rumit ini dengan visual-visual dan tata adegan yang halus, elegan, berjarak, dengan scoring atau musik yang minimum. Pilihan-pilihan tersebut membuat emosi dan kegelapan jiwa manusia yang ditampilkan muncul secara jujur dan langsung menusuk ke perasaan dan pikiran penonton.

“It just seemed like the natural thing to do”

The sentence was uttered by an elementary teacher after killing his wife with no reason or provocation.

This kind of murders occurs in the whole film entitled Cure by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. An ordinary man, without violence record, suddenly becomes a murderer. A detective gets confused with the relation between those incidents

In the film which was intentionally executed in a cold way and emotionally distant, Kurosawa invites us to explore the dark side of human nature. Who are we? What darkness is buried inside us so deep that we are unaware of? 

I selected Cure by Kiyoshi Kurosawa because of the director’s way to break down this complex thriller through smooth, elegant, and distant visuals and scene order, and through minimum scoring or music. These choices make the represented emotion and dark side of human soul appear honestly and directly stab the audience’s feeling and mind.

Eddie Cahyono on Tokyo Story

Yasujiro Ozu, seorang Master Sinema, sering disebut “most Japanese or too Japanese”. Film-filmnya selalu mengeksplorasi tentang benturan nilai-nilai tradisonal dan modern. Tokyo Story adalah salah satunya, salah satu film terbaik yang pernah dilahirkan sampai saat ini.

Yasujiro Ozu, a Master of Cinema, is commonly called “most Japanese or too Japanese”. His films always explore the clash of traditional and modern values. Tokyo Story is one of them, one of the best films ever produced.

Cure

Kiyoshi Kurosawa /111 minutes/1997/Japan/Fiction

Kids Return

Takeshi Kitano/107 minutes/1996/Japan/Fiction

Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa/207 minutes/1954/Japan/Fiction

The Pornographers

Shôhei Imamura /120 minute/1966/Japan/Fiction

Tokyo Story

Yasujirō Ozu /136 minutes/1953/Japan/Drama