Kiyoshi Kurosawa Season and Biography

Genki Kiyoshi Kurosawa Season Banner

Regular readers will know that I keep ranting about four directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sion Sono, Takashi Miike. and Shinya Tsukamoto. The reason these four men are always mentioned is that they have made a lot of my all time favourite live-action films. I’ve grown up watching a lot of Japanese films from classics to the most contemporary but it’s these four who have blown my mind with their imagination and use of the medium of film. There are few other directors out there who can match them, in my opinion. Sion Sono and Shinya Tsukamoto have had a season dedicated to them but my most favourite of all, Kurosawa, has not… UNTIL NOW!!!

This is going to be a short season dedicated to the maestro, Kiyoshi Kurosawa because I have reviewed most of his films that are available in the west already. It has come about because I have recently watched three of his lesser known works and two of them are going to be released in the UK this time next week! We start with a biography! A long and boring and incoherent biography! WAIT, COME BACK! There are pictures!

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Séance Kourei こうれい 高齢 (2001)

This is a TV film made on a whim for Kansai TV execs who wanted to cash-in on the J-horror craze started by Hideo Nakata’s Ringu, it says a lot about the quality of its director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, that Séance uses intellectual and cinematic rigorousness to create a compelling character study light on scares and more about a seemingly normal couple buffeted by the supernatural and feelings of alienation and aimlessness borne from their frustrated ambitions and failed family life.

Junko Sato (Jun Fubuki) is a psychic medium who is married to a sound effects engineer named Koji (Koji Yakusho). After a university turns down the opportunity to test her abilities, Junko finds herself returning to normality doing occasional séances for others. When a girl named Yoko is kidnapped the police call upon Junko to assist their investigation. Meanwhile Koji is in the woods collecting sound effects, his equipment surrounding him. Also in the woods is Yoko who, whilst fleeing her kidnapper, locks herself in Koji’s equipment case. Koji returns home transporting the girl home with him. He leaves the case in the garage for some days and it isn’t until Junko senses Yoko that they find her unconscious. Fearing that the police would never believe the coincidence and sensing an opportunity to exercise her psychic abilities in a far grander manner, Junko hatches a plot to keep Yoko in their home whilst she feeds information and evidence to the police leading to Yoko’s eventual rescue. The plan soon goes wrong.

Jun Fubuki conducts a Seance

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