Each week members of the CAMERA JAPAN team pick their favourite Japanese films to watch at home on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, MUBI and YouTube.
Francesca BOI (Programmer) picks House/Hausu (ÔBAYASHI Nobuhiko, 1977)
As ÔBAYASHI Nobuhiko passed away a few days ago (on April 10), I would like to pay homage to this great visionary director by recommending his debut movie House (Hausu). This classic from 1977 revolves around Gorgeous (IKEGAMI Kimiko) and her classmates, who decide to spend their summer holidays at Gorgeous aunt’s house in the countryside. Nothing special, except for the fact that the house is haunted by a ghost which will start to devour the girls one by one in the weirdest possible ways.
With its lysergic scenes, made of debatable special effects, pop-art colours and irony pushed to the limit, Obayashi’s opera prima cannot be considered a pure horror movie, but rather a fantasy-comedy-horror. By watching it we can see how this visionary touch, quite typical of Mr Obayashi’s filmography (at least until his penultimate movie Hanagatami) has been his trademark from the very beginning. If you like to scream and laugh, this is the movie for you.
Click here to stream House on iTunes
Alex OOST (Festival Director) picks Whispering Star (SONO Sion, 2015)
SONO Sion is mostly known for his over the top violent and bloody films, which may be why this slow-paced sci-fi has been overlooked by many. It was probably disappointing for many of the director’s fans since there isn’t any gore, and it might have been ignored by others because of the director’s reputation. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful film, shot in black and white and almost completely set inside a spaceship manned by an android (played by SONO’s wife KAGURAZAKA Megumi), who travels around the galaxy delivering packages to what is left of mankind. With its dry, absurd humour, beautiful cinematography and subtle social commentary, it was one of my personal highlights of the 2016 edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Click here to stream Whispering Star on Spamflix.com
Third Window Films has released Whispering Star on blu-ray as well, which is now for sale at half price (Easter sale until the 22nd) on the Arrow Films website.