Streaming platforms have changed the way of consuming cinema in the last five years, they have substantially modified the offer and, therefore, also habits. New horizons have been opened. And this I think is something to celebrate. Yes, the great offer is usually covered by the Hollywood billboard, and both the premiere and living close to the present are still two capital factors, which are even perceived as health markers of the different platforms. But it is also true that it has never been easier to access independent, classic or non-American production films. Fashions go beyond the more commercial products and even find unexpected audiences. The impacts of the magnitude of the parasites (Bong Joon-ho, 2019) caused South Korean cinema to enter fully into many Spanish homes, and suddenly films like Train to Busan (Yeon Sang-ho, 2016) experienced a second impulse of popularity. Now, if we go to offers like Filmin’s, all this discourse loses meaning, since that other side of cinema is its reason for being. But of course, the Spanish platform does not occupy, far from it, the same number of users. Therefore, that look at a less conventional cinema that occurs in spaces like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video seems to be something to celebrate.
That is the intention of today’s article, to look back at that other offer and give a little more visibility to the less conventional cinema that we can find on our most common platforms. And let’s start with Japanese cinema, a line in which Amazon Prime Video has always had interesting titles, and in recent times it has gained integers with the inclusion of many films by figures like Takeshi Kitano. We started.
We open with the other side of a Japanese icon who is doing wonders in American cinema right now. Godzilla is back in fashion, we have his side dedicated to anime present on Netflix, Warner’s newcomer monster, and shortly after Gareth Edwards brought us his vision of the mythical monster, this kind of Japanese reboot with Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion) at the helm. Shin Godzilla reconciles the monster with his ability to generate a speech about Japanese society. A monster movie with more tension than action, with an acid and mocking look at bureaucracy, a very particular sense of humor and an epic if possible more special. Essential if you are interested in the character and a good way to enter it if only the American versions are known.
A pastry shop in Tokyo
A patisserie with a somewhat peculiar owner, an old woman with an incredible hand for dorayaki, and a great desire to work, and the interesting relationship that is generated between these two characters. This was enough for Naomi Kawase to bring us in 2015 one of the most famous Japanese films to date outside of Japan. The director shows her sweetest face with the construction of two lonely characters but far removed from the clichés about Japanese society. One of those films that takes the building of relationships with serenity, takes advantage of the silences and is capable of making you smile through the look of an act. Tender and sweet like the best of dorayaki.
Tran Anh Hung, director of Vietnamese origin, is in charge of this Japanese production that aims to adapt nothing more and nothing less than Tokio Blues, the prestigious novel published by Haruki Murakami in 1987. The responsibility of the film is not small, and surely no one I hoped it could match the sensations of the novel. But it is not a bad way to meet Murakami if one has not approached his books. A small authorial film that begins with its protagonist listening to “Norwegian Wood” in a European airport and is transported to Tokyo in the 60s. A portrait of the youth of a bygone era, with calm, delicacy and great montage. You have to come prepared for the silences and be clear that it is not a pretty film, but if you delve into what it proposes, you will find Murakami in his speech, and that is always fine.
A family from tokyo
With one eye on Yasujiro Ozu and another on 21st-century Japanese society, A Tokyo Family works as a remake of the mythical 1953 Tokyo Tales. But Yoji Yamada assumes that role naturally and creates a film that can give Scared for his footage is nimble and fun. The story presents us with the journey of an older couple who leave their small island of residence to visit their children, who reside in Tokyo. Once there, the day to day goes beyond the coexistence of a family in which generational barriers can almost be felt. Lots of everyday life and a necessary look for western audiences, which shows that Japan is more than just honor and righteousness. Well scrambled drama and humor, which is how they work best.
A wonderful family in Tokyo.
We continue with Yamada and with our eyes fixed on Ozu, but now more carefree. A wonderful family from Tokyo puts Tales of Tokyo back into the equation, even going so far as to show the movie on screen. But here the director seems to move away from the tone of a Family in Tokyo and opts for something more festive, light and given to outlining smiles on the faces of the spectator. The look is lighter, but Yamada stops, in the same way, in the tangles of family crises. The mother’s divorce petition dynamites her stability, a starting point to talk about selfishness, shyness, jealousy, ambition or fatigue of living a life that has not ended as expected. Smiles and a lot of well-understood everyday life in a surprisingly fast-moving movie.
Sonata in Tokyo
Kyoshi Kurosawa is best known for his production within the Japanese thriller or horror, but nevertheless, this drama released in 2008 served to win an award at the Cannes festival. Tokyo Sonata is a devastating approach to the crisis that would soon show its claws to the world. A portrait of an uncompromising family, in which the desperate estrangement of a family is explored in which the father has just lost his job, the eldest son is absent, the youngest is unable to show himself as he is and the mother has no strength. to keep holding the people around you together. A story about the abyss that opens under four people unable to stop the change in their lives. Deliciously acidic.
If we talk about Japanese cinema, we cannot ignore the figure of Akira Kurosawa, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. And it turns out that, for quite some time, Amazon Prime Video has offered a small but well-stocked assortment of the Japanese master’s cinema. Six are the movies that we can find right now: The Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Live, The Hell of Hate and Yojimbo. We stopped at two of them.
Akira Kurosawa highlights timelessness as a criterion for good cinema. Yojimbo, released in 1961, is a fully functional film today, which, beyond its plastic beauty, its imitated photography or its mythical planes, has already put on the table codes that modern cinema continues to use today. Behind that black and white that automatically gives it an appearance of difficult digestion, hides a film much easier to see than some of those exhibited so far. The story places us in the footsteps of a samurai who had just arrived in a town in which two gangs fight for control of the territory. His skills with the katana are not long in coming to light, and the two gangs will try to seize his services to finish off his rival. Humor, epic and great characters in a film that demonstrates the durability of a job well done.
The hidden fortress
One of Kurosawa’s most named films, but more for its inspiration for George Lucas than anything else. But the truth is that we can apply the same attributes to the hidden fortress as to Yojimbo, despite having a notoriously more onerous character for Western audiences, Princess Yukihime. In the middle of the 16th century, two ramshackle soldiers find gold, but before they can celebrate it they run into the menacing figure of Toshiro Mifune, whose character will subdue them and use them to transport a large sum of money, in an impossible way. mission to keep the princess safe. A film that works perfectly as an adventure comedy. Good dynamics between the main group characters, a lot of humor and enough action to keep us glued to the screen for more than two hours.
Takeshi Kitano, another mythical figure of Japanese celluloid, although perhaps better known in Spain for Takeshi’s Castle (Yellow Humor). Comedian, director, screenwriter, actor and presenter. A creative force that has dozens of films behind it, both behind the camera and in front of it. Recently, Amazon Prime Video has seen fit to stock up on some titles that are a good sample to delve into one of the most popular figures in Japanese audiovisual fiction. Some of the available movies are as follows: Outrage Trilogy, Violent Cop, Boiling Point, Hana-Bi, Brother, The Summer of Kikujiro, and Zatoichi. We will stop in the last two.
The fiction begins with a nine-year-old boy, Masao, who is forced to spend the summer with his grandmother. Faced with deep boredom caused by the absence of his usual friends, the little boy sets out to look for his mother (whom he never met) with the only clues of a photo and an address. An acquaintance of the grandmother offers her husband as a companion to little Masao in this impossible mission, his name is Kikujiro and he is a yakuza. This is the starting point of a film that emphasizes one of the concepts most closely linked to the figure of Kitano, that of the yakuza, which he turns to build one of the most tender films we could see in 1999. One ode to friendship and redemption, which has a very particular humor, almost typical of silent movies. An endearing movie that is easy to fall in love with without really knowing what happened.
Samurai, geisha, rival gangs, a town ravaged by criminals, a tale of revenge, and a blind masseur who turns out to be a true katana master. This is the cocktail that Takeshi Kitano manages in this 2003 production that won him an award at the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. A samurai film typical of the incipient postmodernism of its time. Action, adventure, script twists and surreal humor go hand in hand in a story that starts from a classic approach, but which knows how to play its cards very well to keep the audience tense. Aesthetically stimulating, the film does not renounce explicit violence, but frames it in the figure of the romanticized samurai, and in the plastic beauty that surrounds each of the sequences in which the katanas go out for a walk. Essential if you are interested in the figure of Kitano and samurai cinema.
And so far the best Japanese movies present on Amazon Prime Video that we recommend from this house. As you can see, there have been many titles to discuss, several by Kurosawa, more by Kitano and some films that have not entered this small list. Even so, I hope that this text can help someone to get closer to another way of seeing and understanding cinema beyond Hollywood, like the Japanese. And remember, if once inside you want more material, Filmin is the way.
How “Psycho” (and the fear of spoilers) changed the way movie theaters forever
Much has been written about the impact of Psychosis, one of the most forceful works of the teacher Alfred Hitchcock and it is impossible to deny the actuality of the film in modern cinema. It has influenced filmmakers of all generations and has generated sequels, imitations and, of course, the fear of the shower and motels of those who experienced this mass phenomenon in 1960. But with his work, Hichcock not only impacted with what appeared on the screen. , but how did you decide change audience habits at the time. Or rather, how he ended the mania of being late to the movies when the movie had already started.
To understand the phenomenon, you have to know that at that time people entered the screenings when they wanted, it did not matter if the film was started. The patterns of this ritual were summed up in a once common motto that is now unknown to moviegoers of a certain age: “This is where we come in.” Throughout the classic Hollywood era, viewers flocked to a movie screening whenever they felt like it, paying no attention to the progress of the narrative. What they were doing was basically going to the middle of the movie and watching it through to the end, watching the previous newscast, the animated / comedy short that aired at the beginning, and starting the movie where they came from.
At that moment, the spectator whispered to his partner: “This is where we come in”, and then they left the room. It’s hard to believe, but it did. Until Hitchcock came along.
Some moviegoers were spellbound and immersed in the movie more than once. Although fans were already counting on the ticket price being an open access pass, many exhibitors (who wanted crowd control) and filmmakers (who wanted a captive audience from opening credits to finish) disapproved. . The directors hated that viewers barged in and they will break, or never experience, the spell and magic of the movie. Cecil B. DeMille was especially bothered by the fact that viewers, and not himself, were deciding how to experience his films.
In 1950, Twentieth Century-Fox producer Darryl F. Zanuck and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz realized how difficult it was to turn the clock on American viewers. Knowing that they had something special in their hands, they asked the exhibitors of the big cinemas that they wanted to reserve Naked eva to sign a contract that “no customer should be seated after the movie starts” and “at the end of each performance, the theater must be clear.” Since the beginning of this movie is the end, it would spoil any audience’s enjoyment not to see it from the beginning, it was clear.
But after just four days, Fox dropped the proposal. Why? Many cinemas generally attracted large numbers of pedestrians wowed by the lobby displays. Impulsive moviegoers simply they refused to wait for the next pass and they went to the nearby cinemas, which kindly let them in.
And then Hitchcock came along
It was the terrifying event of the year. 1960. Families, couples, friends, all filled the rooms, screaming and throwing themselves into each other’s arms. But this time it was going to be different. Hitchcock and the production team of Psychosis made a marketing effort (trailer and posters included) so that exhibitors they close their doors to late-arriving spectators. “No one … BUT NO ONE … will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance of PSYCHOSIS“He read the posters, which showed Hitchcock himself pointing to his watch as if warning students not to be late for class. Of the many “firsts” films attributed to Psychosis, the change in habits was surprising.
The idea was actually from Jerry Pickman, Paramount’s vice president of advertising, who I wanted to “protect the twist and end of the story” and create the best atmosphere for Hitchcock to scare people. “The enjoyment of the movie would be diminished unless the customers saw it from the beginning,” Pickman said. Hitchcock, who was always his best publicity accomplice, followed his colleague’s plan. “I realize this is a revolutionary concept, but we have found that Psychosis it’s different from most movies. It does not improve when it is seen in another way ”, explained the director.
If you know the movie, then you know the whole plot revolves around the twist where Marion Crane is murdered at the end of the first act, and the entire movie leads to her sister and her partner looking for her at the Bates Motel. This twist leads to the even more shocking revelation that Norman Bates dresses as his mother and is the one who is killing. And of course, if you went to the movies in the middle or at the end, you would have spoiled everything.
On June 16, 1960, after an exhaustive campaign, the DeMille and Baronet theaters in New York premiered Psychosis with the edict to see her from the beginning. Exhibitors pushed audiences in and out with military efficiency (staggered schedules, every two hours for the 109-minute film). Once Alfred Hitchcock lined them up, audiences knew that the middle of the movie was no longer the place to go. Sixty years after Psycho, the guards no longer had to block the movie theaters. And today, no one in their right mind would walk into a movie theater in the middle of a screening.
A pioneer against spoilers
But that’s not all, Hitchcock was also a pioneer in spoiler prevention. A few years ago, with the premiere of Avengers Endgame, the directors of the film, the Russo brothers released an official statement: “When you see Endgame In the next few weeks, don’t spoil it for others, in the same way that you wouldn’t want them spoil it for you. Remember, Thanos still demands your silence. Marvel even went ahead and bought an emoji for the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame.
But this has happened long before, at the hands of the same man who demanded to get to the movies soon. Alfred Hitchcock went out of his way to make sure everyone who saw him Psychosis they were aware that spoiling the movie for the rest was foolish. And what did you do about it? It introduced an anti-spoiler message directly into the marketing. “If you can’t keep a secret, stay away from people after seeing Psychosis“It was one of the mottos of the movie. Here you can see one of the advertising posters:
The director revolutionized film marketing with that horror play, and his efforts, of course, paid off, as the film was a huge success for Paramount. The stunts turned the thriller into an event theater, but more importantly, a director could be seen working overtime to protect the sanctity of the cinematic experience. And 61 years later, with movie spoilers rampant on the internet, Hitchcock’s pioneering efforts in 1960 can be seen today. Nobody wants to ruin the movie.
“There is no kink like Luke, I am your father.” ‘Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ director claims Tony Leung plays an original villain
‘Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ opens in a few months and, to this day, we had seen practically nothing. Wonderful He has taken advantage of the birthday of the main actor, Simu Liu, to surprise us all with the release of the long-awaited trailer. A cash advance that promises plenty of action, humor, excitement … and a great claim to a wacky Asian cinema as a server: the entry of Tony Leung in the Marvel Universe.
The real Mandarin?
A regular contributor to filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, Leung is portrayed as the hero’s father and also as a new wonder villain, leaving a first clue about the biggest conflict that Shang Chi will have ahead. Leung brings to life a character named Wenwu, a powerful warrior who has adopted many names over time, being also known as “The Mandarin”.
Recall that the Mandarin already jumped from cartoons to the big screen in ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013), causing a strong controversy among comic fans for the freedoms taken by those responsible for the film. Thanks to Ben kingsley Y Guy pearceMarvel and Shane Black created a huge surprise that divided the public. Now it seems that another version of Mandarin is coming to us, perhaps more faithful to the comics but it is still not so clear …
Or at least, they still don’t want to present it that way. Which is fine because the movie opens in September 3 And there’s no point in gutting it all now Destin Daniel Cretton, director of “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, Wenwu is an original character created for the film although, effectively, it is linked to the mysterious terrorist organization of the Ten Rings, already presented in the first ‘Iron Man’ (2008).
“Wenwu could easily have been a heartless one-dimensional villain. Tony opened up this character to be an antagonist who has a profound ability to love.Cretton declares. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige adds that they haven’t looked for a “twist like” Luke, I’m your father “. Shang-Chi knows who his father is and is determined to leave that world behind before he is dragged back. “
It is funny how Marvel returns to quote ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ although this time to discard the reference; the Russo brothers acknowledged seeing the classic “Star Wars” to orchestrate the devastating ending of “Avengers: Infinity War.” Whether or not he is the true Mandarin, it is unquestionable that Marvel has succeeded in signing Tony Leung, I am looking forward to seeing what he does with the character.
‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’: Impressive trailer for the debut of an Asian Marvel superhero
Wonderful It has been asked at the beginning of the promotional campaign of ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’, the first film of the study starring an Asian superhero -Chinese to be more exact-, but now we can finally take a look in the trailer and poster of this film directed by Destin Cretton, responsible for titles such as “The Crystal Castle” or “A Question of Justice”.
A long-term project
Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin In 1973, to try to take advantage of the popularity of kung fu, Stan Lee himself tried to make his leap to the big screen in the 80s with Brandon Lee as the protagonist, but it did not take off until recently with Simon Liu in the lead role.
The story of ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’ will begin in San Francisco following a seemingly normal person but without a fixed course in life. Of course, his past is much less ordinary, as he was trained by his father to succeed him in his criminal affairs, but upon discovering it, his son decides to follow a different path.
His father’s character has been created specifically for the film and will be played by Tony leung. Of course, be very careful with him, because from Marvel they already warn that he has received different names over the years and you may know that of The Mandarin, one of the most mythical villains of the company and whose name had already appeared previously. in the MCU….
Along with Liu and Leung we will also see in ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’ Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng. The September 3 We can check the result, since that is the date chosen by Marvel to release one of the most anticipated films of 2021.