Please add your recommendations for any films, documentaries, etc. along with commentary and suggestions for lessons. Thank you!

Movies From Japan:

1. Kuroi Ame - (Black Rain)- drama- director:Shohei Imamura. Portrayal of the lives of Hiroshima hibakusha- atomic bomb survivors, following the experience of a young woman who entered Hiroshima after the bombing and was then exposed to the "black rain" in the aftermath. This film is recommended for High School Seniors and older because of dramatic content. (review by Seth Davis, August 2009)
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2. Hada Ashi no Gen-
(Barefoot Gen)- Intense animated presentation of a boy's experience of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The creator of this film was a survivor of Hiroshima and the events portray his experiences.(review by Seth Davis, August 2009)

3.Juutai- (Traffic Jam)- A father, hoping to save on travel expenses, opts to drive his wife and two children from Tokyo to visit his parent on an island near Okayama during the days before oshogatsu. Juutai bakkari desu! This film is set in the backdrop of the season, and shows alot of how Japan feels during Oshogatsu. It is also a human drama that exposes the complexity of familial relationships. I would say that I like this film, more than students, however, I have found that I get a good response from 10th and 11th graders. (review by Seth Davis, August 2009)

4. Shall We Dansu? Nice entertaining movie about a sarari-man who secretly takes up ballroom dance, searching to fulfill a certain gap in his life. Students tend to enjoy this. Recommended for highschool.(review by Seth Davis, August 2009)

Movies About Japan:

1. The Last Samurai- (with Tom Cruise- (yikes!) and KEN WATANABE!) Historical Action/ Adventure /Drama. This film is a very exciting portrayal of what appears to be the Satsuma Rebellion which arose during the Meiji era of Japan. An American Civil War veteran is recruited to teach the imperial army modern warfare. He is captured by a rebel group of Samurai during a battle, and as their prisoner becomes enamoured of Bushido and their pure lifestyle. Students enjoy the film, which is filled with beautiful cinematography and great action choreography. It is also filled with historical inaccuracies. I had students watch this and then conduct research to examine the extensive historical misrepresentations in the film. My school requires each subject-teacher to have students write an MLA paper (in English) each year in order to get students to improve their writing skills. Anyway, it gets students thinking, and Cruise acually did some good work for the film.

Documentaries: