by Chris MaGee
Here's something that the folks at Wildgrounds posted to cap off 2008: a list of the 100 greatest Japanese films of all time according to Kinema Junpo. Okay, when you say "according to Kinema Junpo" it's kind of like saying "The Ten Commandments according to the stone tablets that Moses carried down from Mt. Ararat". Like I explained in my report on Yojiro Takita's "Departures (Okuribito)" being named the top film of 2008 Kinema Junpo is about as venerable a source for information and criticism on Japanese cinema as you can find, so when they start compiling a list like this you have to take notice.
What really struck me about this list (compiled a decade ago in 1999), though, was just how many of the films on it I haven't seen or in some cases have never heard of. It just brings home how few Japanese films are available to lay viewers like myself here in North America.
To whet your appetite check out the top ten from the list below and then click here to read the rest.
1. Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa (1954)
2. Floating Clouds - Mikio Naruse (1955)
3. A Fugitive from the Past - Tomu Uchida (1965)
4. Tokyo Story - Yasujiro Ozu (1953)
5. The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa Era - Yuzo Kawashima (1957)
6. Rashomon - Akira Kurosawa (1950)
7. Endless Desire - Shohei Imamura (1964)
8. Battles Without Honour & Humanity - Kinji Fukasaku (1973)
9. Twenty-Four Eyes - Keisuke Kinoshita (1954)
10. Tales of Ugetsu - Kenji Mizoguchi (1953)