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2019, 103 min, Dir: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose’s astounding take on Japanese jidaigeki, or “period drama,” is set in the year 1855. After decades of isolation, Japan has started receiving trade ships from the rest of the world; amidst the new arrivals is an American merchant captain who brings with him whiskey, photography and, most important, pistols. These weapons are seen as a threat to the ancient Samurai and their code of honor, so the Annaka clan devise a test to determine if their men are ready should battle be necessary: a marathon in which the winner may ask of the master anything he may desire. But the Shogunate is fearful of the Annaka daimyo (feudal lord) and awaits word from their spy to see if they need to deploy their full might to crush the clan to smithereens. The stage is set for one spellbinding confrontation and an awe-inspiring marathon race against time. With a mesmerizing score by Philip Glass.

2014, 118 min, Japan, Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima

After teenage daughter Kanako (Nana Komatsu) has gone missing, ex-cop Akikazu Fujishima (Kōji Yakusho) launches a search for the girl - and is shocked to discover that her secret life was far from her squeaky clean image. But Akikazu is no angel either; an alcoholic discharged from the force in the aftermath of a brutal beating, he has a violent streak that only escalates as he pursues leads deeper into the Japanese underworld. In Japanese with English subtitles.

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