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  • A Long Walk

    A Long Walk

    ★★★★

    This is a terrific film that shows how past traumas are a permanent part of life no matter how far one tries to run away from the lingering pain. The imagery of wings (as shown on the poster) is particularly poignant because of these individuals' longing to fly away from their troubles while fully realizing that they will only fall to the ground. In a constant state of restrained agony, Ken Ogata puts forth a wonderfully understated performance in one…

  • Again

    Again

    ★★★

    At first, this film starts out as one of those harmless teen romance films where a young love overcomes the grasp of strict authority figures. That would have been a perfectly fine movie in its own right even if originality be damned. However, things quickly take a turn for the worse to say the least. This young love doesn't even have time to confront oppression from the outside; instead, self-sabotage from one side of the relationship completely obliterates any chance…

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  • All About Lily Chou-Chou

    All About Lily Chou-Chou

    ★★★★★

    The mesmerizing music and stunning visuals make All About Lily Chou-Chou one of the most powerful viewing experiences in all its unbridled melancholy. This sentiment is only intensified upon repeat viewings once you become more immersed in the story's unconventional structure. There are sequences where one cannot help but feel deeply involved in the characters' emotional turmoil as they confront the unbelievably cruel world that surrounds them.

    At first, Iwai's narrative can feel too aimless and meandering (hence why a…

  • Bound for the Fields, the Mountains, and the Seacoast

    Bound for the Fields, the Mountains, and the Seacoast

    ★★★★½

    This is a statement that bears endless repeating: it's really a terrible shame that Ôbayashi is so underrepresented outside of Japan barring the modest popularity of House. As a result, it's so easy to just write him off as a director who only focuses on wackiness. His wackiness is undeniable, yet there is also an intense sincerity in his films that should not go ignored. Regardless of the subject matter, he always manages to extract so much warmth out of…