Important Ryuichi Hiroki - Japan's Hidden Gem

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by sitenoise, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Ryuichi Hiroki - Awesome Dude

    This fucking guy was born on New Year's Day.

    Ryuichi_Hiroki.jpg

    I don't have anything to write about him at this time. I'm starting the thread as a guilt trip inducing reminder that I must write something soon. He's been pumping out 2-3 films every year of this century, give or take. I've seen nineteen of his films! I don't know for sure but I imagine it's the most I've seen from a single director.

    Of the nineteen films I've seen from him I've given only one a 5/5 star rating (which, obviously, would translate to 9.31337/10). It's a sweet little film shot on DV and pumped out in a couple weeks--Tokyo Trash Baby (2000)--which is "an understated look at a lonely woman who goes through the garbage of a neighbor she is obsessed with looking for mementos". I think it was released on the same day as another of his films--I Am an S+M Writer (2000). Who does that?

    The beauty of Hiroki is that he is a naturally gifted film maker who just makes movies. He never sets out to make a masterpiece. In the 1980s and 90s he made mostly softcore and porn. 2000 was the turning point for him towards the mainstream, but he continues to make sexually charged, sex-infused films alongside some of the sweetest Pure Love films you can imagine.

    Captured for Sex 2.jpg Love on Sunday.jpg
    More later.
     
    #1 sitenoise, Feb 28, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  2. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    What prompted me to try and embarrass myself into sounding the Love Alarm for Ryuichi Hiroki is ... I'm stuck in that limbo of having to wait (what could be years) for subtitles. Of the three films he released in 2017, the one I'm least interested in is the only one available with English subtitles. It's called:

    Policeman and Me.jpg Policeman and Me (P to JK) [2017]. It sounds like one of those only-from-Japan creepies about love between an adult and a high school student. I bet dollars to donuts Hiroki makes it into an adorable Pure Love story that doesn't creep any one out. Or maybe not. Here's the synopsis from AsianWiki:
    The one I really want to watch--picked by Kinema Junpo as #7 of the year, and by Mark Schilling as #2 best film of the year -- is:

    Side Job.jpg Side Job (Kanojo no jinsei wa machigaijanai) Her Life is Not at Fault [2017]. This is one of his sex-charged films, I think:
    And finaly, and I guess what really really prompted me to cry out this love in the center of the world, I just got wind of his latest 2017 release:
    Miracles of the Namiya General Store.jpg Miracles of the Namiya General Store (Namiya zakkaten no kiseki) [2017]. It looks like something along the lines of Il Mare/The Lake House:


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    #2 sitenoise, Feb 28, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  3. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    I want to start dropping some notes about all the films I've seen by Hiroki but can't decide if I should do it chronologically according to the film's release date, or chronologically in the order in which I watched them, or in order of how I rated them--best to worst (I do think he's made a bad film or two). I'm leaning towards the order in which I watched them because the watching of a certain film sort of prompted where I went next.

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  4. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    For anyone who is interested in following along:

    Hiroki's Film Page @ LetterboxD
    Hiroki's Film Page @ IMDb

    AsianWiki's list:

     
  5. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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  6. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Did I mention that my Volleyball Forum, InsideVolleyCountry, crashed and burned, so I'm kind of homeless. May have to start watching more movies again.
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  7. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    I think I recall liking Her Granddaughter more than you. The only other one I've seen is Sayonara Kabukicho, which I also liked.
     
  8. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    I think everyone liked Her Granddaughter a little more than me. I am, on principle, against films that, as I wrote back then, "I simply cannot get into a film where a guy with zero redeeming qualities wins the heart of a beautiful, intelligent woman."

    Sayonara Kabukicho is a very close second for me behind Tokyo Trash Baby. I bet if I re-watched them both today their ranking would flip.
     
  9. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    Wow....

    I haven't seen anything from him and I did a fast rundown of his filmography and some of the synopsis you listed and I'm leaning towards "bookmarking him for posterity".

    But I still have a lot of exploring to do, i.e. watch the trailers and read the synopsis of his never-ending list of movies so I'm giving him a try.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I see he has a film entitled "M" too. What's with you and the letter M? I'll call you Mr. M from now on. Hehe.
     
  11. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    I like to live in hope ...
     
  12. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    lollegs.gif
     
  13. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    That one is one of his weird sex flicks. I, me ... I actually thought this M went a little far into exploitation/abuse territory, but it's a powerful film 6.4117/10
     
  14. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Tokyo Trash Baby (Tokyo gomi onna) [2000] • Japan
    Directed by Ryuichi Hiroki

    Miyuki (Mami Nakamura) is a girl in love with her upstairs neighbor, a musician. Instead of trying to meet him she is content with stealing his garbage and foraging through it to find things that will give her insight into his personality. She collects many things like empty cereal boxes, cigarette butts, love letters, musical scores; she discards a used condom, and creates a shrine to her love in her apartment. The story falls a little flat after she does eventually meet the guy face to face, but Miyuki is still fun to spend time with. As are a few peripheral characters in the film.

    Tomorowo Taguchi plays the manager at a cafe where Miyuki works and is typical Taguchi-odd, but doesn't have much impact on the story. Kô Shibasaki plays co-worker, Kyoko, whose screen time is devoted exclusively to telling Miyuki stories of her sexual conquests, dreams and dilemmas ... and bumming smokes. Masahiro Toda plays a customer trying desperately to get Miyuki to go out with him but he's too boring to make an impact on her. His attempts at realizing love are face to face, but his loneliness prevents him from catching a clue. Both characters serve as juxtaposition to Miyuki and highlight my favorite theme of the film: loneliness. Kyoko has a very active social life but seems unfulfilled and lost. Miyuki (contrary to most observations on the film) isn't lonely. She is content and happy with her life. That's what makes her interesting. She controls her life, not her outside observers. Director Hiroki gives her the respect she deserves.

    Mami Nakamura's performance makes this one a big winner. She's engaging, endearing, amusing, and sympathetic from start to finish. That's what it takes for a small film like this to succeed, a film which says: "Here's an offbeat character, do you like her? Does she draw you into her life, entertain you, and invite you to wonder what will happen to her?" It takes a clever script and a good performance. Tokyo Trash Baby delivers on both accounts. It's part of the Love Cinema series of six straight-to-video releases which also includes Takashi Miike's Visitor Q. It's a low-budget affair shot on Digital Video. It uses all natural lighting and sometimes the glare from an open window distracts but never gets in the way. It's a testament to the strength of the story and performance that technical limitations do not derail the project at all.

    Tokyo Trash Baby.jpg
     
  15. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I love your review! sad2.gif I'll watch this.

    In case I don't find a copy, can I make a shameless request again???? biggrin.gif

    Edit: Its there on my convenience store.
     
    #15 plsletitrain, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  16. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    This one might be a little slow for you. Look for Kabukicho Love Hotel, maybe. Or Vibrartor--which is the one that made him famous. I was trying to think of which one I might recommend for you. Still not sure, but those two are his "most popularly" regarded.

    Here's my list in rated order, mostly: https://letterboxd.com/sitenoise/list/ryuichi-hiroki-japanese-gem/
     
  17. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    Thanks! I'll start with Kabukicho (its also there, thankfully) then move to Tokyo Trash Baby. Vibrator--man, the title sounds erm.......... wholesome??? I wonder how will my friends react if I tell them "Hey I just watched Vibrator!!!" Its not on my convenience store so if I like the first two, I might bother you with a copy of Vibrator. I still have to check though if the director appeals to me. I'll decide after I watch the first two.
     
  18. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Keep in mind that this guy makes films like that Pancreas movie, sitenoise movies, and sex movies. His sex movies are his best, I think, because they have the best characters. He started his career in porn and softcore.

    Kabukicho is a sex movie, and by sex movie I mean they center on a woman where sexuality is a large part of what occupies them. Almost all his movies are about a woman. Kabukicho is probably the most "ensemble" type movie he's ever made.

    More or less this is how I would break them down (of the ones I've seen):

    Sex movies: Vibrator, M, I Am an S&M Writer, L'amant, Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop the World (kind of--it's also a sitenoise movie)
    Sitenoise movies: River, Yellow Elephant, Tokyo Trash Baby
    Pure Love: Strobe Edge, Love on Sunday I & II, Wolf Girl & Black Prince, April Bride, Your Friends, New Type, Policeman and Me
     
  19. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    Thanks for the heads-up. I was about to start exploring on him already but was distracted over some things so I'll start watching his works in the coming days. I'm not at all against sitenoise movies as long as I can see there's a light at the end of the tunnel, some redeeming factors I also can't pinpoint. I'm all for pure love movies but the sex movies quite intrigue me. Are they clean or should I start another "Porn vs. art material" thread again. That's one aspect I quite want to engage in a discussion on, but I haven't seen the right amount of films to be able to come up with a thesis.

    Just the other day I watched Paolo B.'s latest movie (I'll write the review later) and there was one scene where I hit the buzzer. There's a scene where the lead girl, very beautiful and sexy, was in slo-mo shown sipping water from coconut, projected sexily, and she made a facial maneuver of someone who's licking a lollipop (or something like that) and while I believe the men are screaming "More! More!", I said its foul. I know I'm a grumpy old man, but the scene didn't call for it. Anyway, enough of the rambling. What I'm trying to say is, I'd like to dissect these sex movies if these scenes really are called for or are just made to pleasure the viewer.
     
  20. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Wow

    I just re-watched Kabukichô Love Hotel. It is such a brilliant fists-pumping-in-the-air "Oh no don't shoot hey great shot" 10/10 of a film I'm speechless.

    Oh wait, no I'm not.

    Don't shoot:
    The number of coincidental plot points Hiroki crams into the film is beyond eye-rolling.
    If you introduce your characters by them giving a three minute expository sob story of their whole life, you're doing it wrong.

    Great shot:
    Hiroki makes you feel real empathy for FIFTEEN unbelievable characters.
    The flick is filled with great actors/actresses and Hiroki gives the money shot to the J-pop girl from AKB48 who can't act her way out of a paper bag and she nails it.
     

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