Friday, April 1, 2011

April is Japanese Cinema Month!!

In my infinite power of creation I have declared April to be Japanese Cinema Month.  Well, at least as far as my movie viewing habits go.  My goal is to watch (mostly) Japanese films in the month of April.  I will (of course) still be keeping current on new releases and I do plan on watching a few non-Japanese films this month (such as my new Criterion Blu-Ray copies of Senso, Black Orpheus and Topsy Turvy) but for the most part - it is going to be all Japan, all the time!!

I have already kicked off this proclamation a few days early (March 30th to be exact) by watching Seven Samurai on the big screen at Midtown Cinema and will end it a few days late (exact date being May 7th) at Film Forum in New York with a restored 35mm screening of Kon Ichikawa's The Makioka Sisters.  Inbetween there will be at least 40 other Japanese films.  Many of these films are part of Film Forum's month long Japanese Divas Series.  I will also (finally) be watching the rest of my Kurosawa 100th Anniversary Box Set - a thing I should have done long ago, but kept putting off in favour of other films - as well as a few other Japanese odds and ends.  A tentative list of what I plan on watching this month - this Japanese Cinema Month - follows.  A few of these are films I have already seen, but due to my lack of knowledge and exposure to Japanese Cinema (the non-Kurosawa variety at least) most will be first-time viewings.  An asterisk represents a film I have already seen.

Dragnet Girl (Ozu, 33)
Sisters of Gion (Mizoguchi, 36)
*Osaka Elegy (Mizoguchi, 36)
Women of the Night (Mizoguchi, 48)
Street of Shame (Mizoguchi, 56)
Carmen Comes Home (Kinoshita, 51)
Twenty-Four Eyes (Kinoshita, 54)
Drunken Angel (Kurosawa, 48)
Stray Dog (Kurosawa, 49)
Scandal (Kurosawa, 50)
Wife! Be Like a Rose (Naruse, 35)
*Life of Oharu (Mizoguchi, 52)
*Ugetsu (Mizoguchi, 53)
*Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi, 54)
Early Summer (Ozu, 51)
Pitfall (Teshigahara, 62)
*Woman in the Dunes (Teshigahara, 64)
The Face of Another (Teshigahara, 66)
The Idiot (Kurosawa, 51)
The Lower Depths (Kurosawa, 57)
The 47 Ronin (Mizoguchi, 41)
Repast (Naruse, 51)
Okaasan/Mother (Naruse, 52)
Floating Clouds (Naruse, 55)
Flowing (Naruse, 56)
Yearning (Naruse, 64)
Early Spring (Ozu, 56)
Tokyo Twilight (Ozu, 57)
Equinox Flower (Ozu, 58)
Late Autumn (Ozu, 60)
The End of Summer (Ozu, 61)
*Rashomon (Kurosawa, 50)
*Throne of Blood (Kurosawa, 57)
Yojimbo (Kurosawa, 61)
Sanjuro (Kurosawa, 62)
*Late Spring (Ozu, 49)
*Tokyo Story (Ozu, 53)
Red Beard (Kurosawa, 65)
An Inn in Tokyo (Ozu, 35)
Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa, 75)
*Kagemusha (Kurosawa, 80)
Madadayo (Kurosawa, 93)
Princess Yang Kwei-Fei (Mizoguchi, 55)
Tokyo Olympiad (Ichikawa, 65)

I will toss in a few other things, such as some early rare Ozu silents, the original Japanese version of Godzilla and maybe some Shimizu.  Perhaps I will also toss in a Takeshi Kitano or two, to give the month at least a tiny bit of modern flair. 

As you may have noticed, other than a few latter day Kurosawas and a trio of films from Hiroshi Teshigahara, everything on this list is pre-new wave cinema.  I figure if I were to put in Imamura and his new wave pals or too much of modern Japan (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Takashi Miike, Miyazaki etc) I would have to extend this to a two-month celebration.  As it is, my month of Japanese Cinema is already going to go a week long, so I suppose modern Japan is another story for another time - perhaps in the Fall. 

And btw, I will be writing about a few of these films here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World.  Not all of them of course (that would be crazy!!) but a few of them, when the spirit strikes me, will find their way into the annals of said blog.

Tonight I will kick off this momentous month-long (+) occasion (aside from the aforementioned Kurosawa precursor) with a screening of Ozu's silent gangster flick, Dragnet Girl.


MP said...

I like this initiative of yours! Maybe you could call it a blog-a-thon and ask for reviews of a film per day and share the links on your Blog!
You still have some pretty interesting Kurosawas to see! Especially, Drunken Angel and Red Beard are somptuous strong films. I'm looking forward to read your thoughts on those films!

Kevyn Knox said...

I had contemplated a blogathon, but I was afraid collecting and posting everything would be too much of a task right now. I know how much work others have put into such endeavors and I have great respect for them and all their hard work. I am afraid it work take time away from actually fulfilling my viewing goals.

As far as the Kurosawa you mentioned, I am really looking forward to Drunken Angel and will probably watch that one right away.

I will be posting a piece on Seven Samurai soon - followed by some others throughout the month.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic!

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Angel charls said...

As it is, my month of Japanese Cinema is already going to go a week long, so I suppose modern Japan is another story for another time - perhaps in the Fall.
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