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Hadaka no Shima

The Naked Island
The Island

Japan 1960
produced by
Matsuura Eisaku, Kaneto Shindo for Kindai Eiga Kyokai
directed by Kaneto Shindo
starring Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto
written by Kaneto Shindo, music by Hikaru Hayashi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A family of four (parents Nobuko Otowa and Taiji Tonoyama, kids Shinji Tanaka and Masanori Horimoto) live on an island that's best described as a barren rock. They live from agriculture, but all their fields are on other islands, and their only way to get their is by rowboat, while the kids' school is on the mainland.

This film chronicles the hardships of the family, from planting their seeds to harvesting the crop, all done by hand, which is repeated in endless cycles. Everything culminates when one of the sons falls ill, and when dad is not quick enough to get a doctor from the mainland, he dies. Mom has a mental breakdown after this event, but soon has to realize she can't escape the vicious circle, so she and her husband just push on ...

 

From my synopsis, this film might sound like an early example of what has to become known as world cinema: An almost documentary look at a specific ethnic minority that celebrates the simple things and oneness with nature, and at the same time puts ethnological accuracy over proper storytelling.

However, this is everything The Naked Island is not: It does not celebrate simplicity and nature but makes thgem one of the sources for the family's hardships, it does not care about ethnological accuracy but makes everything it shows part of its narrative, it tells its story in a very cinematic way through interesting camerawork, proper editing, creation of atmosphere and the like rather than please people who want to see ethno-kitsch, and in its conscious decision to make the film entirely dialogue-less it gives the film a striking immediacy that couldn't have been reached by any amount of explanations.

Granted, the film is somehow (intentionally) slow-moving and lacks much in-your-face action, so it might not be for everybody, but those into exceptional filmmaking who are graced with a bit of patience will be richly rewarded.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD