I think movie reviews of Japanese films are the least popular subject I cover on my blog. So far I've watched six films via the Criterion Collection: Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Kwaidan, Samurai I & II & Good Morning. Then I've got three scheduled in September: High and Low, Rashomon & The Seven Samurai. Then I've got three scheduled in October: Double Suicide, The Hidden Fortress & Samurai III. Yeah. I spread them out because they are so very, very unpopular. The Ozu review (Good Morning) got 17 page views. 17. That is embarrassing. The most popular review is Yojimbo, published in June, with 84 views.
I figure... maybe it is because I'm not doing Japanese cinema justice, that I am ignorant. The same goes for many of the discrete areas of world cinema: Italian neo-realism would be another example. I don't see any value to watching these movies other then them being great art. It truly seems like not a soul I know in the world could give two shits about Japanese film, but does that mean I ignore it?
Last time I was in Los Angeles I went to a few used books stores to look for a cheap, college-level text that provided summaries of the different genres of World Cinema. I found A History of Film by Jack C. Ellis, published by Prentice-Hall, which I believe is an educational house. Each chapter ends with a list of the important films, and I think it is quite a useful resource for what I'm doing.
Another interesting aspect of Japanese films on Criterion Collection/Hulu Plus is that they are 100% streaming. There are some countries where it is almost 100% the other way- films from the U.K.- for example- very few of those titles are available streaming.
Ultiimately though I think one of the things you do if you are actually into Art vs. just being a poser who likes to hang out with cool people, is you take it on yourself to learn about new kinds of art with which were previously unfamiliar. And Japanese cinema fits that bill. So the fact that it is unpopular to readers of this blog is irrelevant.
Here is the list for Japanese films between 1950-1973 (Date of review)
Rashomon (Kurosawa) (September 11th, 2013)
Ikiru (Kurosawa) Criterion Collection #221 !
The Life of O'Haru (Mizoguchi) Criterion Collection #664 !
Gate of Hell (Kinugasa)Criterion Collection #653 !
Tokyo Story (Ozu) Criterion Collection #217 !
Ugetsu (Mizoguchi) Criterion Collection #309 !
Chickamatsu Monogatari (Mizoguchi)
The Bailiff (Mizoguchi) Criterion Collection #386 !
Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)(September 18th, 2013)
The Harp of Burma (Ichikawa) Criterion Collection #379 !
The Lower Depths (Kurosawa) Criterion Collection #239 !
The Throne of Blood (Kurosawa) Criterion Collection #190 !
Fires on the Plain (Ichikawa) Criterion Collection #378 !
An Autumn Afternoon (Ozu) Criterion Collection #446 !
The Human Condition (Kobayashi) Criterion Collection #480 !
Onibaba (Shindo) Criterion Collection #226 !
Woman of the Dunes (Teshighara) Criterion Collection #394 !
Red Beard (Kurosawa) Criterion Collection #159 !
Death by Hanging (Oshima)
Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (Oshima)
Double Suicide (Shinoda) (October 7th, 2013)
Dodeska-den (Kurosawa) Criterion Collection #465 !
The Ceremony (Oshima)
Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa)
Realm of the Senses (Oshima) Criterion Collection #446 !
! = Available on Hulu Plus