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  • Murmur of the Hearts

    Murmur of the Hearts

    ★★★★½

    I just gets better on subsequent viewings. Beautiful, sensitive, poignant, powerful. This film probably won't appeal to those who don't give it the chance to be parsed and absorbed with multiple viewings.

    There is a complex interwoven story here, told with beautiful music and imagery. It has affected me deeply. Just yield to it.

  • Lava

    Lava

    ★★★½

    I totally missed the memo that said we can't like a sappy sentimental animated short. I tend to judge heavily on how a film makes me feel, as well as how a film's structural elements combine. At least three and a half stars for what it is.

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  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff

    ★★★★★

    Sansho the Bailiff, or as I like to say, How a mother's song found her children and cast upon them the magnetic pull of a mother's unconditional love, is perhaps Kenji Mizoguchi's greatest masterpiece.

    Zushio, how I long for you!
    Isn't life torture?
    Anju, how I long for you!
    Isn't life torture?

    Beautiful. Mythical. Haunting. And heartrending.

    I have seen Sansho the Bailiff perhaps three times, and those moments which are so emotionally affecting are never diminished. I cannot disagree with those who have come before me and declared this one of cinema's greatest treasures.

  • Yearning

    Yearning

    ★★★★★

    I've now watched Mikio Naruse's Yearning twice, and I'm hard pressed to say which of Naruse's later masterpieces is the greatest. Yearning is certainly a candidate. Like his other later films, he explores repressed love, unrealized love, love that is simply impossible.

    Hideko Takamine once again delivers a beautiful performance of emotion and restraint. It seems she can convey nearly anything with the tiniest movement of her eyelids or pupils. It was said that she and Naruse would sit down…