Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Imamura's Coming from The Masters of Cinema in October

Previously releasing excellent editions of Vengeance is Mine (Fukushu suru wa ware ni ari) (1979), Profound Desires of the Gods (Kamigami no fukaki yokubo) (1968) and Pigs and Battleships (Buta no gunkan) (1962), The Masters of Cinema are coming out with two more by Shohei Imamura: Palme D'or winner The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama Bushiko) (1983) and A Man Vanishes (Ningen Johatsu) (1967).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Few Screenings of The Makioka Sisters (1983) in Los Angeles This Week

Janus Films is doing a limited run of Kon Ichikawa's The Makioka Sisters (Sesameyuki) (1983), which comes to Los Angeles this week on June 9th, 11th and 12th at both the Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica, only on the 11th and 12th at Laemmle's Claremont 5 in Claremont and Laemmle's Town Center 5 in Encino and an other screening the following week on the 14th at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Hollywood (too many times to read Laemmle, no?). Not as wide as a release as last years House (Hausu) (1977) or Kuroneko (Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko) (1968), but it's getting a release at a few theaters equipped with digital projection, so this won't be a 35mm print of the film, but a pretty close digital approximation.

Film Music by Toru Takemitsu Vol. 2: Films Directed by Masahiro Shinoda

In preparation for my next few articles dedicated to the films of Masahiro Shinoda (which rejuvenated my interest in his films after Criterion's fantastic release of Pale Flower (Kawaita Hana) (1964) last month), I decided to do another music upload. This time it's the second volume of JVC's Takemitsu film score compilations with this one being devoted solely to his soundtracks for the films of Masahiro Shinoda.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tearing Down the Fourth Wall in Youth of the Beast (1963)

While preparing my next article, here's a nice leftover from my article on Joe Shishido. There's a quick moment in Seijun Suzuki's Youth of the Beast (Yaju no seishun) (1963) where Joe Shishido walks by a Nikkatsu movie theater (the studio that made the movie) with a large marquee featuring Nikkatsu stars Yujiro Ishihara, Hideaki Nitani, Izumi Ashikawa and even Shishido himself!

UPDATE: Re-blogging on this blog isn't exactly what I want to do, but this is too incredible to not share. The next day after posting this small paragraph of an article on Facebook, I was informed by my Facebook friend Chuck Stephens that there's even a bit more to the movie theater story in Youth of the Beast. In the film, the yakuza use the area behind the movie theater's screen as their hideout leading to some surreal images of films playing in the background while Joe Shishido wields a shotgun. Well, that is a whole story in itself. The projected film shown in the scenes background is the Nikkatsu film The Man They Tried to Kill (Kimi wa nerawareteiru) (1960) which led to a whole story of former American Cinematheque programmer, Dennis Bartok, and the appearance of his mom, avant-garde filmmaker LeAnn Bartok, in the film. The whole story is too incredible to believe and must be read:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tatsuya Nakadai in Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962): Coming to Blu-Ray/DVD in September

Annouced via Masters of Cinema's Twitter, Masaki Kobayashi's anti-fuedalistic masterpiece, Harakiri (Seppuku) (1962), is getting a dual format release (Blu-Ray and DVD) in September. No specs have been announced yet, but for those not equipped with a region free player, this will surely be region B as the Japanese studios are notorious for always having their films always region locked.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For the Ladies: Japanese Actors in Commercials Pt. 2

I'm not exactly focusing on actors this time per se, but now it's notable Japanese actresses that grabbed my attention. Finding commercials starring great actresses was a little trickier as they seem to be a bit more scarce, but what I could find was very interesting. Maybe the difficulty of finding commercials may be in part of the classic gender roles of what's expected of women that what's expected from men. In a country that for years was incredibly male dominated, even work in a commercial for a female may have been difficult.

Let me start this with my favorite of these commercials starring the beautiful Mariko Kaga (Pleasures of the Flesh (Etsuraku) (1965)) with her large, cartoon like eyes struggling to wake-up before goofily squeezing out White Lion toothpaste and brushing her teeth intensely. A little bit on the Richard Lester tip in humor and with the dental equivalent of A Hard Day's Night's (1964) collage shots of The Beatles:

(Uploaded onto YouTube by user Vintage50D)