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Films in Japanese

After Life (1998) - In Kore-eda's thought-provoking vision, the newly deceased find themselves in a way station somewhere between Heaven and Earth. With the help of dedicated caseworkers, each soul is given three days to choose one cherished memory for their life that they will relive for eternity. As the film reveals, recognizing happiness and finding a life's worth of meaning in a single event is no simple task. DVD.

All About Lilly Chou-Chou (2001) - Yuichi is in the 8th grade and worships Lily Chou-Chou, a chanteuse whose music is lush and transcendent, the perfect tool to escape the pain and anxiety that fills his brutal life. At home, Yuichi rarely leaves his room, spending all his time in the chat room of Lily Chou-Chou's fan website. Little by little, the reality of Yuichi's offline life becomes unbearable when he is ensnared in a nightmare of teenage prostitution, petty theft, and murder. DVD.

Angel Dust (1994) - A mysterious killer strikes every Monday at 6pm. The victims are young women, all murdered with a lethal injection on the subway system. A psychiatrist, Setsuko Suma, is called in to assist the police. The trail leads to another psychiatrist, Dr. Rei Aku, who Setsuko used to date. As she gets closer to the solution, her paranoia escalates as she begins to suspect Rei as the murderer. VHS.

Audition (1999) - A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition for a phony film, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all and the widower becomes drawn into her sadistic and vengeful world. DVD.

Branded to Kill (1967) - The number-three ranked killer in the Tokyo underworld carries out three impeccably imaginative hits, but bungles a fourth. Then both the women in his life try to kill him. The next thing he knows, he is playing a cat-and-mouse game with the very dangerous No. 1 killer. VHS.

The Burmese Harp (1956) - Following the defeat of the Japanese in Burma, a closely knit unit of soldiers surrenders to the British, but are separated from their harp playing comrade, Private Mizushima. Mizushima, profoundly affected by the destruction of war, becomes a Buddhist monk and vows to remain in Burma until all Japanese dead have been buried. VHS.

Chushingura (1962) - A young lord attempts to combat the official corruption endemic to the Shogunate, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. He refuses to bribe a Chancelor who is responsible for teaching him the etiquette to receive the Shogun's envoys. The Chancelor goads him into drawing his sword when the envoys are present, a crime punishable by death. The young lord's vassals are ordered to break up his estate, and his samurai to disband. To obey the Shogun, they must follow orders, but to be loyal to their master and to elemental fairness, they must revenge him. VHS.

Dodes'ka-den (1970) - A group of Tokyo slum dwellers overcome adversity while retaining their hopes and dreams. VHS.

Double Suicide (1969) - A married shopkeeper is in love with a prostitute. The only way they can be free is to enter a suicide pact. VHS.

Dr. Akagi (1998) - Set on a small Japanese island near the end of World War II, this is the story of a doctor's obsession to retain his decency and stamp out a deadly disease. DVD.

Early Summer (1951) - The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko, but she has ideas of her own. DVD.

The Eel (2001) - Finding his wife in bed with another man, Takuro Yamashita murders her, serves an eight year prison sentence, and then moves to a small town to begin life anew as a barber. When he hires a young woman as his assistant, her past collides with his to the detriment of all. DVD.

Fall Guy (1982) - Ginshiro is a vain and selfish actor whose stardom is threatened by rising star Tachibana. In a desperate bid to bolster his image, Ginshiro compels a devoted member of his entourage, Yasu to marry Ginshiro's pregnant mistress, Konatsu. To support his new wife, the devoted Yasu becomes a stunt man, performing increasingly dangerous stunts. Konatsu is torn between Yasu and Ginshiro, who has compled his loyal follower to perform a death-defying stunt that could save the film and Ginshiro's career. DVD.

Fighting Elegy (1966) - High schooler Nanbu Kiroku yearns for the prim, Catholic Michiko, but her only desire is to reform Kiroku's sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, Kiroku channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence. DVD.

The Funeral (1986) - An old man's unexpected death creates hilarious havoc with his family. The traditional three-day undertaking becomes a sly comedy of manners as the younger generation struggles with the complex rituals of the Buddhist ceremony. DVD or VHS.

Gate of Hell (1953) - The story of a samurai who falls in love with a married woman he guards during a palace uprising. She is horrified by his attentions and his love leads to tragic consequences. Based on a real crime committed in Japan in 1159. VHS.

Good Morning (1959) - Two small boys take a vow of silence after their father refuses to buy a television set. An uproar ensues in their apartment complex when neighborhood gossip misinterprets the boys' refusal to speak. VHS.

Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) - Loosely based on the Korean black comedy, Quiet family, this extraordinary genre-bending remake tells the story of a modern dysfunctional family and their shared dream of opening an inn in the country. Despite all their best efforts, the inn has the unfortunate habit of attracting guests who all turn up dead in the morning. DVD.

High and Low (1963) - A complex crime thriller in which a wealthy shoe manufacturer's chauffeur's son is kidnapped in mistake for his own, and he faces a moral dilemma -- should he pay the ransom anyway and risk losing his position? DVD or VHS.

The Hidden Fortress (1958) - A princess must escape across enemy lines with the royal treasure, guarded only by a loyal general and two greedy peasants. DVD or VHS.

Ju-on (2004) - An eerie tale of a family who is brutally killed in their own home, leaving behind an evil spirit lurking in the shadows. When an unknowing homecare worker enters the spirit is awakened and a terrifying chain of events begin. DVD.

Kwaidan (1965) - Four tales of the supernatural adapted from the works of Lafcadio Hearn. VHS.

Maborosi (1995) - Haunted by the mysterious loss of her grandmother many years before, a beautiful young mother (Makiko Esumi as Yumiko) struggles to come to terms with the sudden loss of her husband. Yumiko remarries and with her young son moves to her new husband's home in a remote village on the wild, untamed Sea of Japan. There, with time, she awakens to find love, understanding, happiness and a sense of peace. DVD.

The Most Terrible Time in My Life (2004) - Detective Maiku Hama navigates the Yokohama underworld with super cool threads and two-fisted street smarts. But when he comes to the aid of a Taiwanese waiter at a local parlor, the unflappable Hama has no idea what he's in for. Though seemingly a luckless immigrant on the threshold of Yokohama's gutter, Hama's client holds the secret to a ferocious gangland revenge triangle that soon has bullets, fists, and severed fingers flying. DVD.

Onibaba (1964) - An impoverished mother and her daughter-in-law eke out a lonely, desperate existence. In order to survive in feudal Japan, they are forced to murder lost samurai and sell their belongings for grain, then dump their corpses down a deep, dark hole. DVD.

Onmyoji (2003) - During the dark ages of demons and ghosts, the Heian Emperor relies upon the Imperial Order of the Onmyoji to protect the kingdom. However, as the birth of the emperor's heir approaches, political intrigue and jealousy will lead to the most dangerous of betrayals - from within the Onmyoji and the Emperor's family itself. It will be up to the most talented of the order to face his master and the dark magic that threatens to destroy them all. DVD.

Pale Flower (1964) - A story of drugs, crime, and passionate love. Muraki, who has just been released from three years in jail for killing a yakuza, meets a beautiful young girl in a gambling house and falls in love. DVD.

Rashomon (1950) - Four people involved in the murder of a gentleman in feudal Japan and the seduction of his wife report differing views of what actually happened. DVD or VHS.

Ran (1985) - In 16th century Japan, an aging ruler attempts to divide his kingdom among his three sons, who turn against each other and betray their father, triggering events that ultimately shatter the kingdom, destroy the family, and drive their father insane.. DVD.

Rikyu (1989) - The story of Sen-no Rikyu, a Buddhist priest, who four centuries ago brought the art of the tea ceremony to perfection. Living in one of the most turbulent moments in Japanese history, Rikyu gained unexpected political influence as the confidant and cultural mentor to the powerful warlord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The film illustrates the classic struggle between art and politics and between the impulse to create and the impulse to destroy. DVD.

Ringu (1998) - A mysterious video has been linked to a number of deaths, and when an inquisitive journalist finds the tape and views it herself, she sets in motion a chain of events that puts her own life in danger. DVD.

Sada (1998) - This film is based on the true story of Sada Abe, a Japanese Geisha, who murdered and castrated her lover in 1936. Explore Sada's past; her rape at 14, her descent into prostitution, and the crime of passion that turned her into a media celebrity. DVD.

Samurai Trilogy Part I, Musashi Miyamoto (1955) - Follows the formative years of Musashi Miyamoto, Japan's most famous swordsman, as he goes off to a civil war in search of glory but finds defeatand shame instead. He returns to his village a crazed outlaw, but is redeemed by the love of a girl and the spiritual healing of a Buddhist priest. VHS.

Sanjuro (1962) - A skilled but slovenly ronin comes to the aid of a group of naive young warriors fighting their corrupt clan leaders and manages to keep them out of trouble and alive in spite of their high ideals. DVD.

The Sea is Watching (2002) - O-Shin, a beautiful young geisha in 19th century Japan, meets a samurai named Fusanosuke, who is on the run for killing a man. She assists him by cutting his hair. Despite the protests of O-Shin's friend, the two fall in love. Eventually he leaves O-Shin, only to return later and reveal that he is engaged. O-Shin, eventually, falls in love again - to Ryosuke, who is also a samurai. DVD.

Seven Samurai (1954) - This epic masterpiece is about a group of 16th century samurai who are hired to defend a small Japanese village that finds itself annually raided by an army of bandits who steal the meager crops harvested by the peasants. Tired of relinquishing their food supply but woefully inept in combat skills, the villagers decide to hire a band of samurai to protect them. In addition to the primary conflict between the villagers and the bandits, much of the tale revolves around young Katsushiro's coming-of-age, both sexually and emotionally. Kikuchiyo's search for acceptance forms the other major storyline. Indeed, everyone in Seven Samurai is searching: for adventure, for experience, for freedom from their oppressors. DVD or VHS.

Shall We Dance? (1995) - A middle-aged workaholic's incredibly dull life takes a funny turn when he signs up for a ballroom dance class--just to meet the sexy dance teacher. But when he finally muscles up the nerve for lessons, he winds up with a different instructor and her colorfully eccentric class of beginners! And now he'll have to step lightly and do some fancy footwork if he expects to keep his new secret passion from his family and friends. DVD or VHS.

Sonatine (1993) - A seasoned mobster goes to the island of Okinawa on a "peacekeeping" mission, even though he suspects his boss is secretly trying to eliminate him. Determined not to go down without a fight, he and his gang know exactly what they have to do. DVD or VHS.

Stray Dog (1949) - A bad day gets worse for rookie detective Murakami when a pickpocket steals his gun on a hot, crowded bus. Desperate to right the wrong, he goes undercover, scavenging Tokyo's sweltering streets for the thief, whose desperation has led him to a life of crime. With each step, the cop and the criminal's lives become more intertwined and the investigation becomes an examination of Murakami's own dark side. DVD.

The Sword of Doom (1965) - This is the thrilling tale of a man who chooses to devote his life to evil. A gifted swordsman plying his trade during the turbulent final days of Shogunate rule, Ryunosuke kills without remorse, without mercy. It is a way of life that ultimately leads to madness. DVD.

Tampopo (1986) - "Tampopo" follows a young widow who runs a small noodle restaurant in Tokyo and Goro, a cowboy hat wearing truck driver, as they attempt to devise the perfect bowl of top ramen. VHS.

A Taxing Woman (1987) - Comedy about a tireless, single-minded investigator for the Japanese Revenue Service, and her confrontation with a businessman who thinks he knows all the angles when it comes to cheating the government. VHS.

A Taxing Woman's Return (1989) - A follow-up to the 1987 hit, A Taxing Woman. She investigates a corrupt fundamentalist religious order. VHS.

Throne of Blood (1957) - A samurai lord kills his master and usurps his power in fulfillment of a witch's prophecy. DVD or VHS.

Tokyo Drifter (1966) - Tetsu, an ace fighter and hit man, is out of his time. He is a wanderer stoically awaiting his own extinction. He is called back to Tokyo to help in the struggle between his old employers, the Kurata gang and the rival Otsuka gang. Then he is on the run, pursued by "Viper" Tatsu, through snow covered mountains to a final showdown. VHS.

To Live (1952) - Discovering that he is in the terminal stages of cancer, a clerk spends his last months in search of the meaning to life. After his pursuit of pleasure has failed, he finds self-realization in bringing about the building of a children's playground in the slums and dies quiety fulfilled. DVD.

Unagi (2001) - Finding his wife in bed with another man, Takuro Yamashita murders her, serves an eight year prison sentence, and then moves to a small town to begin life anew as a barber. When he hires a young woman as his assistant, her past collides with his to the detriment of all. DVD.

Violent Cop (1989) - Detective Azuma is a Dirty-Harry style rogue cop who often uses violence and unethical methods to get results. While investigating a series of drug-related homicides, Azuma discovers that his friend and colleague, Iwaki is supplying drugs from within the police force. After Iwaki is murdered and Azuma's sister is kidnapped, he breaks all the rules to dish out his particular form of justice. DVD.

Yojimbo (1961) - In the year 1860, a wandering samurai-for-hire turns the war between two clans fighting for control of a small town to his own advantage. A satire on greed, violence, paranoia and human weakness. Includes theatrical trailer. DVD.

Yume (1990) - Eight episodes exploring many aspects of humankind and man's need to harmonize with nature. Based on Akira Kurosawa's actual dreams. DVD.

Zatoichi (2003) - A blind, master swordsman wanders into a town controlled by sinister gangs and becomes involved with two geishas who seek to avenge their parents' murders. DVD.

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