Here are some Japanese movies that we think are way cool.
First is House (Hausu), a sugar-coated, mind-melty horror film from 1977. It's about a girl who brings six of her schoolfriends to visit her aunt during the summer holidays. Things very quickly take a turn for the bizarro, however, and the girls start disappearing one by one. Sounds like a pretty standard horror movie, I guess, but in this one a piano eats a person, a disembodied head bites a girl on the bottom, a man gets transformed into a pile of bananas, and there's a cat with laser eyes. The director, Nobuhiko Obayashi, uses pretty much every camera effect available to him at the time, continuously, and the soundtrack is wildly overbearing and unusual. It's awesome.
The Taste of Tea (Cha no Aji) came out in 2004 and is a beautiful and very funny film about an odd family. There's not much of a plot to speak of, but each character has their own little strand of story that sprawls out in its own direction. It's more like a connected series of unusual moments, some weird, some awkward, most pretty hilarious. Our favorite bits are when the uncle tells the story of when he "took a shit outdoors for the first time", the grandfather's songs ("Why are you a triangle?! Why oh why?"), the boy's frantic, spastic bicycling, and any part where the little girl is being stalked by the giant version of herself. It's very quirky, but the end is surprisingly touching.