Japanese Movie Listing - L

Strangely, as much as I believe that the letter L is the most perfect letter in the universe ;) there just aren't any movies in this L listing that stand out to me as must-haves. Let me know if you know of any other Japanese movies beginning with the letter L.

Lady Street Fighter (Onna Hissatsu Ken) (1974)
Etsuko "Sue" Shiomi, Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba

The Last Days of Planet Earth (1974) 90m
Air and sea are polluted, children attend school in gas masks, parents hallucinate. Preachy, laughably staged, atrociously dubbed. (Prophesies of Nostradamus: Catastrophe 1999) D: Toshiro Masuda

The Last Ninja (1983)
Made-for-TV movie. When terrorists take over a building full of scientists, a government agent seeks the help of an American art dealer who was raised by a Japanese family, and whom he believes is a ninja. Story by Ed Spielman, who also wrote the pilot for the original "Kung Fu" series. Michael Beck, Nancy Kwan, Mako, John McMartin, Richard Lynch.

The Last Warrior (1989)
Two marines, one American, the other Japanese are left on an Island in the closing days of WWII. What ensues is a tightly directed, action-packed fight to the death. Gary Graham, Maria Holvoe, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.

Late Autumn (1960) 127m
Widow seeks a husband for unmarried daughter. Solid drama, reworking of director Yasujiro Ozu's LATE SPRING.

Late Spring (1949) (Banshun)
D: Ozu Yasujiro. Ozu has been characterized as "the most Japanese" of film directors. His stories often depict the daily lives of ordinary people, or shomin geki (common people's drama). In Banshun, a young woman refuses to get married and leave her widowed father. Finally, the girl relents under deception, and marries. Sato Tadao comments that: "The peaceful setting of the family conveyed a feeling to the Japanese that an era of peace had truly come."

Latitude Zero (1970) 99m
Sci-fi adventure - underwater civilization of benevolent geniuses fighting legions of Malic (Cesar Romero) out to control the world. Action and suspense poorly handled. Joseph Cotted. D: Inoshiro Honda.

Legend Of The Eight Samurai (Satomi Hakkenden) (1984)
Princess Shizu leads her warriors into battle against a giant centipede, ghosts, and a nearly immortal witch. Dubbed into English. Hiroku Yokoshimaru, Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba, Hiroyuki "Henry" Sanada

Lensman (1990)

The Life of Matsu the Outlaw (1958)

The Life of Oharu (1952) (Saikaku Ichidai Onna)
D: Mizoguchi Kenji. Mizoguchi considered The Life of Oharu to be his masterpiece, and it was the film that first (and belatedly) established his international reputation (it won an International Prize at Venice in 1952, the first of a string of mature Mizoguchi masterpieces -- including Ugetsu [1953] and Sansho the Bailiff [1954] -- which astonished viewers and won major awards in the West in the mid-1950s). Mizoguchi diva Kinuyo Tanaka stars in the title role as a beautiful court lady gradually reduced by circumstances to prostitution and beggary. Adapted from a classic picaresque novel by Ihara Saikaku, the drama unfolds in a painstakingly recreated 17th-century Kyoto; the film's exquisite compositions and breathtaking sequence shots display the director's talents at their very finest. Most critics place Oharu with Ugetsu at the pinnacle of Mizoguchi's artistry. Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune, Ichiro Sugai, Hisako Yamane. B&W, In Japanese with English subtitles. 137 mins.[Daniel Richard]

Lightning Swords of Death (1971) 83m
D: Kenji Misumi Discredited samurai roams medieval Japan pushing young son in baby cart in this edited entry from SWORD OF VENGEANCE series. Unending action, beautifully staged fights, climactic battle. Very bloody. Baby Cart Series Info

The Love of Sumako the Actress (1947) 95m. (Joyu Sumako no koi)
The sixth of some fourteen films that the great actress Kinuyo Tanaka made for the master Mizoguchi was this historical biography of Sumako Matsui, one of Japan's first modern stage actresses and first emancipated women. The film details Sumako's famed relationship with noted stage director Hogetsu Shimamura, one of the founders of the shin-geki movement advocating Western-style theatrical realism. The two fall in love while rehearsing the first Japanese production of Ibsen's A Doll's House, in which Sumako is to play Nora. Shimamura abandons his wife and child for a personal and professional partnership with his star actress, and events soon take a tragic turn. Offering a fascinating, fact-based account of the rise of Western theatre in Japan, and unfolding as a rich, accomplished melodrama which makes artful use of the life-and-stage-as-mirrors motif, The Love of Sumako the Actress "represents a plateau of excellence in the work of Mizoguchi" (NoŽl Burch). The film is often cited -- with Victory of Women (1946) and My Love Has Been Burning (1949), both of which also star Tanaka -- as part of a Mizoguchi "Fighting Women" trilogy. A Teinosuke Kinugasa-directed version of Sumako's story, called Actress (Joyu), and starring Mizoguchi regular Isuzu Yamada, appeared the same year. Director: Kenji Mizoguchi. Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, So Yamamura, Eijiro Tono, Kikue Mori. B&W, In Japanese with English subtitles. [Daniel Richard]

The Lower Depths (1957) (Donzoko)
D: Kurosawa Akira. Kurosawa based this film on Maxim Gorky's play. The dark tradition of both Russian and Japanese literature results in a bleak view of life. This is one of several films in which the director portrayed the anguish and hope of the lower classes. Fine acting and direction, if a bit tedious to watch.

Japanese Movies by Title
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Japanese Movie Listing Main Page | Lisa's Favorite Japanese Movies | Japanese Movies By Director

Note that since each of these movies was seen by a normal human being, what you read here is just one person's opinion :) Your own opinion may of course be different! If you notice that a movie listing is missing or incorrect, please Contact Me (Really!! WRITE ME!!!) so I can update the list!

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