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Tokyo Olympiad (1965)- A Magnificent Documentary by Kon Ichikawa

August 21st, 2016
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    “None of this, however, was what the Olympic Organizing Board wanted,” continues Richie. “Not only had Ichikawa refused to monumentalize the games, he had humanized them. In the uncut version (never publicly screened), the camera turns time and again from the major events to capture details: the spectators; athletes at rest; those who came in, not first, but third – or last. Japanese victories are not favored. At the end, the celebrations over, the stadium is empty. A man with a ladder crosses the field, from far away comes the sound of children at play. The games were, after all, only games. They are over and life goes on. Much of this footage has never been publicly screened, and among examples of film vandalism, the case of Tokyo Olympiad must rank as especially regrettable.”

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    I remember Ernest Hemingway telling me once that the unnoticed things in the hands of a good writer had an effect, and a powerful one, of making readers conscious of what they had been aware of only subconsciously. A parallel adage suggests that a great photographer can take a picture of a familiar street and tell you something about it you never knew before. After watching the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad, one can surely say that Ichikawa is of that tradition. (Geoorge Plimpton)

    Tokyot Olympiad Criterion

    See the Marathon clip..

    1akonfencing
    (Via)

    Soseki Natsume – Kokoro

    February 9th, 2015
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    Film still from Kokoro.

    Kon Ichikawa directed Kokoro with Masayuki Mori (a prominent actor from Rashomon, Ugetsu Monogatari, Uki-Gumo, A Woman Ascends the Starirs)

    Kokoro means “Heart” in Japanese.

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    Michiyo Aratama from Kokoro

  • Natsume Soseki was born on February 9, 1867

    Politics, Philosophy, and Myth in
    Natsume Soseki’s First Trilogy

    The role of the literary artist in Japan ‘s long history is an honored one in large measure due to the power of language and literature to lift consciousness through imagination. Among Japan ‘s most gifted literary artists is Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), regarded by Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo as Japan ‘s “national writer”

    Kojin Karatani and Natsume Soseki Natsume Soseki (previous post)

  • R.I.P Kon Ichikawa

    February 13th, 2008

    Sasame Yuki -(Makioka Sisters – adapted from a novel by Junichiro Tanizaki)

    The great Japanese director, Kon Ichikawa, died today of pneumonia. He was the man behind such films as The Burmese Harp, Fires on the Plain, and Tokyo Olympiad. (via)

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  • Kon Ichikawa (image source)
    More on Kon Ichikawa from previous post.

    The Burmese Harp

    John Hutnyk

    A place maker for a future review of Kon Ichikawa’s great funny poignant anti-imperialist film “A Billionaire”, as soon as I find a copy.
    We screened a series of his films at Goldsmiths two years back. The big famous ones are deservedly praised, but A Billionaire was just great – especially the student who built her own atom bomb upstairs in her flat.

    Kon Ichikawa

    November 20th, 2006

    Kon Ichikawa Kon Ichikawa (image source)

    Ichikawa’s films are marked with a certain darkness and bleakness, punctuated with sparks of humanity.

    It can be said that his main trait is technical expertise, irony, detachment and a drive for realism married with a complete spectrum of genres. Some critics class him with Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu as one of the masters of Japanese cinema. (via wiki)

    Six of his most famous films are featured here at Filmref.
    Two are anti-war films, one about a pacifist Buddhist, “The Burmese Harp” and another of harsh, brutal realism “Fires on the Plain”.

    The Burmese Harp 1Toruburmeseharp

    Two are adapted from the novels of Junichiro Tanizaki, The Key and the Makioka Sisters.

    We don’t want to forget Tokyo Olympiad and Ototo (Her Brother) not included in the above list.

    Yahoo Trivia: To achieve the specific period look they intended for the film, director Kon Ichikawa and cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa were inspired by the use of color in Moby Dick (1956) (which was dye-transfer Technicolor added with a B/W layer) and experimented on a process that is now called “skip-bleaching”. It was the first time in film history that this process, now a rather commonly-used one, was applied for a motion picture film

    Rottentomatoes rated Tokyo Olympiad 100%.

    Sasame Yuki – (The Makioka Sisters)Makioka Sisters

    Pauline Kael’s ecstatic review of the Makioka Sisters (adaptation of Junichiro Tanizaki).

    This Kon Ichikawa film has a triumphant simplicity about it. You don’t just watch the film-you coast on its rhythms and glide past the precipitous spots. Ichikawa celebrates the delicate beauty of the four Makioka sisters-the four heiresses of an aristocratic Osaka family, who move as if always conscious that they must be visual poetry-and at the same time he makes you feel that there’s something amusingly perverse in their poise and their politesse. Set in 1938, the film is based on Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel, orginally titled A Light Snowfall, and it’s like a succession of evanescent revelations; the images are stylized and formal, yet the quick cutting melts them away. The venerable Ichikawa is doing what so many younger directors have claimed to be doing: he’s making visual music. And he’s doing it without turning the actors into zombies, and without losing his sense of how corruption and beauty and humor are all rolled up together. The themes are worked out in shades of pearl and ivory for the interiors and bursts of color outside-cherry and maple and red-veined burgundy.

    Itami Juzo, the director of Tampopo and Taxing Woman appeared as an actor in this ensemble of wonderful Japanse actors assembled here. Itami played a husband of the first daughter. Sayuri Yoshinaga delivered a memorable performance portraying a mysterious third sister.

    Intriguing photo collection of 10 Black Women from Flickr.

  • EPSON MFP image
    Mishim Yukio visiting the set of Enjo ..photo with Raizo Ichikawa, Kon Ichikawa and Nakadai Tatsuya from left to right.