Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Japanese Films at Ames Public Library

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A-C  |  D-J  |  K-Q  |  R-Z

In Japanese with English captions, unless otherwise noted. 

A (358.38 DVD A) In English. 136 min. 2006. 

Here are the inside activities of Japan's religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, who released sarin gas into Tokyo's subway system in 1995. Not only was the daily life captured, but also the media frenzy, vicious tactics of undercover cops, and anger of local residents.

After Life (DVD FOREIGN AFT) 118 min. 1998. 

In Kore-eda's thought-provoking vision; the newly deceased find themselves in a way station between Heaven and Earth. With the help of dedicated caseworkers, each soul is given three days to choose one cherished memory for their life that they will relive for eternity. As the film reveals, recognizing happiness and finding a life's worth of meaning in a single event is no simple task.

All About Lily Chou-Chou (DVD FOREIGN ALL) 146 min. 2001. 

Eighth grader Yuichi worships singer Lily Chou-Chou to escape his own brutal life. At home, he rarely leaves his room, chatting on Lily Chou-Chou's fan website. Yuichi's life becomes unbearable when he falls prey to teen prostitution, petty theft, and murder.

Assault on Iwo Jima (940.5426 DVD ASS) In English. 50 min. 2002. 

On February 19, 1945, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions stormed Iwo Jima's heavily defended shores in what was supposed to be a three or four day battle, instead, the siege went on for 36 days.

At the Edge of the World (333.9595 DVD AT) In English. 90 min. 2011. 

Follow the controversial Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign against a Japanese whaling fleet with an international volunteer crew, who are under-trained and under-equipped but develop innovative tactics with which to stop the whalers. First they must find the Japanese ships, a far more difficult challenge than ever imagined. Activist Paul Watson and first-time captain Alex Cornelissen use an array of strategies in the hopes of finding an elusive adversary in the Ross Sea. 

Audition (DVD FOREIGN AUD)  115 min.  1999. 

Aoyama, a middle-aged widower, is urged by his son and film producer friend Yoshikawa to start dating again. Yoshikawa plans a phony audition for a non-existent film. After interviewing 30 hopefuls, Aoyama falls for the actress Asami, a former ballerina with a suspicious past.

Autumn Afternoon (DVD FOREIGN AUT)  113 min.  1962. 

After living alone with his daughter for years, a widower must learn how to let her go, letting her be free to move on with her life by arranging a marriage for her.

The Bad Sleep Well (DVD FOREIGN BAD)  150 min.  1960. 

A grieving son seeks revenge for his father's murder as he infiltrates the corrupt construction company that was responsible for his father’s death.

The Ballad of Narayama (DVD FOREIGN BAL)  130 min.  1983. 

In a village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 is banished to the top of Mt. Narayama to die, so as not to be a burden on the village and bring disgrace upon their family.  Orin is 69 and, despite being in good health, her time is coming.  First, though, she has things to do and a score to settle.

Battle Royale (DVD FOREIGN BAT)  122 min.  2000. 

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary 'Battle Royale' act. 42 Students, Three Days, One Survivor, No Rules.

Black Rain (DVD FOREIGN BLA)  123 min.  1989. 

A woman caught in fallout during the bombing of Hiroshima returns to her village, where she is ostracized and considered unsuitable for marriage.

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi/Sonatine (DVD FOREIGN BLI)  2 discs.

  • The Blind Swordsman:  Zatoichi  116 min.  2003.  Japanese screen legend Beat Takeshi stars in an action-packed, award-winning film that has been compared to Kill Bill Volume One.
  • Sonatine:  94 min.  1998.  Beat Takeshi stars in a fast and furious gangland thriller with an edgy Pulp Fiction attitude.

Branded to Kill (DVD FOREIGN BRA)  91 min.  1999. 

This delirious film takes the elements of "B"-movie crime drama and transforms them into something bizarre and poetic. The film's story centers on Hanada, a.k.a. "No. 3 Killer," the third-best hit man in Japan. His fortunes change when he encounters Misako, a mysterious woman who brings him a difficult mission. In a famous moment indicative of the film's eccentric sensibility, a butterfly lands on his gun's sight at the exact moment he pulls the trigger, causing him to miss the shot. This failure means that he becomes the target, running for his life from his former employers, and the "No. 1 Killer."

Bright Future (DVD FOREIGN BRI)  93 min.  2002. 

Yūji and Mamoru are good friends who work at the same factory. Mamoru murders the factory owner and his wife and then commits suicide in the jail. Mamoru's father visits Yūji, and they explore their futures, keeping a jellyfish Mamoru left.

The Burmese Harp (DVD FOREIGN BUR)  In Japanese and Burmese, with English captions.  116 min.  1956. 

In July 1945, Japan's army is on the run. A platoon in Burma sings to keep its spirit up, inspired by their lute player, Mizushima. Awaiting repatriation at war's end in Mudon prison camp, Mizushima is sent to convince a Japanese company to surrender. The British attack and his companions fear he has been killed, but he has survived, disguised as a Buddhist priest. En route back to Mudon, overwhelmed by the frequent sight of dead Japanese soldiers, he vows to live a life of prayer, burying bones and bodies rather than returning to Japan.

Café Lumière (DVD FOREIGN CAF)  104 min.  2003. 

Yoko, a freelance writer, becomes pregnant and chooses, against tradition and her parents' wishes, to raise the baby alone. In her loneliness and confusion, Yoko befriends the owner of a bookstore, who silently falls in love with her as she contemplates her choice.

Chaos (DVD FOREIGN CHA)  104 min.  1999. 

After a Japanese businessman's trophy wife vanishes, ransom demands arrive and the police are summoned. As the truth unfolds, this film transforms from a precision neo-noir to a macabre thriller and ultimately into a sexual gothic.

Charisma (DVD FOREIGN CHA)  104 min.  1999. 

A disgraced Tokyo detective is embroiled in a tense struggle revolving around a gnarled, forbidding tree in a remote forest where the other trees are dying or dead.

Chushingura (DVD FOREIGN CHU)  207 min.  1962. 

Their lord having been tricked into committing suicide by a corrupt official, a group of 47 samurai have been forced to become ronin. They nurse their anger and outrage, becoming personifications of the samurai spirit, until the time to avenge their dead lord’s honor.

The Clone Returns Home (DVD FOREIGN CLO)  110 min.  2009. 

An astronaut dies on a mission, but he has a clone that has been imprinted with his memories. Unfortunately, the upload malfunctions and the clone fixates on a tragic memory from the dead astronaut's youth, setting off a chain of events that will result in tragedy and a profound exploration of what it means to be human and have a soul.

Cold Fish (DVD FOREIGN COL)  145 min.  2010. 

When Shamoto`s daughter is caught stealing, a middle-aged man helps to resolve the situation. The man and his wife offer Shamoto`s daughter a job at their fish store. Shamoto soon discovers the truth of the couple, who force him to get his hands dirty in their brutal business. Inspired by true events, Cold Fish is a bloodcurdling suspense drama that unveils an ordinary man’s insanity.

The Cove (599.53 DVD COV)  In English.  92 min.  2009. 

In a lagoon off the coast of Japan is a highly guarded secret. During the night, Taiji fishermen hunt for thousands of dolphins. Their work is so horrifying, they will stop at nothing to keep it hidden from the world. When a team of activists, filmmakers, and free-divers embark on a secret mission to penetrate their cover, the shocking discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg.

Crazed Fruit (DVD FOREIGN CRA)  86 min.  2005. 

In the post-war sexual revolution, two brothers compete for the amorous favors of a young woman during a seaside summer of gambling, boating, and drinking.



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