1) Bakumatsu Taiyoden / 幕末太陽傳 (1957) – by Yuzo Kawashima / 川島雄三
In spite of its relative obscurity in the West, domestically this film is classed as a masterpiece no less important than, say, Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, and it has remained my No.1 film over many years. The title of the film has also been translated as Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate and A Sun-Tribe Myth from the Bakumatsu Era. This film is a Fellini-esque tragicomic drama set in a brothel in Shinagawa in the last days of the Edo era. The main character is an anti-hero who sponges on the brothel. It is impossible to sum up the story in a sentence. Nothing much seems to have happened and yet a lot has happened – it is like a intriguing dream. Just about every frame in the film is poster quality – you can take a screencapture, enlarge it, print it out, hang it on a wall and it would make an unforgettable picture as it is.