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  • The School of Spies

    The School of Spies

    Fiancée of a Spy

    I'm sure this will be a touchstone for Kurosawa's Pre-WWII espionage flick. Even putting the similar historical subject matter and its affinity with Kiyoshi-favorite Red Angel aside, this one would very comfortably fit in with his miraculous recent run of investigations into identity and spiritual life vis-à-vis marriage and the couple. Since it's Masumura, the conclusion is much more chilling and pessimistic – but even the most misanthropic, necrophiliac image here also contains a very human…

  • The Ball at the Anjo House

    The Ball at the Anjo House

    Gothic haunted house horror masquerading as drawing room comedy. Makes great use of the opacity of the Hara persona, setting her loose as protagonist/cipher in an Alice in Wonderland-esque maze of gargoyles, incestuous undercurrents and Western bric-a-brac. Plenty of simplistic stuff in Shindo's script, but the execution is always interesting. At the same time, nothing ever quite beats the opening shot/reverse-shot.

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  • The Enclosed Valley

    The Enclosed Valley

    Like all my favorite films, it takes the world apart, then puts it together again.

    An enormous and quiet vision of assembling.

  • The Big Mouth

    The Big Mouth

    Third time around with this, what on first viewing had seemed to be the Jerry movie. And that it still may be, though it’s hard to watch around others. It’s so mental, so direct a rendition of the architecture of Lewis’ mind, even in the long stretches when the Jerry character is not present, that every repetition, elongation, fumbled joke is charged, but only once you’ve surrendered to the film’s moody, anxious wavelength. In The Ladies Man, the house/head is…