The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 3 (J-Horror, Kwaidan and House)

Part 1 Part 2 J-Horror and the Balance of Traditional and Modern Asian Music (House and Kwadian) The term J-Horror is often used within the critical evaluation of modern day Japanese film, usually to denote the success of two low budget horror films; namely Ringu (1998) and Ju-On (2002).  It is somewhat of a misnomer that the genre and its musical practices can be defined … Continue reading The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 3 (J-Horror, Kwaidan and House)

Yasujiro Ozu Collection – The Gangster Films (BFI)

The BFI have done wonders over the last few years in highlighting and promoting the work of Yasujirô Ozu to potential new viewers in the UK.  Their Ozu collection is gradually filling in the many gaps within his work available in Region 2 and he is now perhaps the most represented Japanese director in the Region 2 DVD market outside of Akira Kurosawa.  Ozu’s work … Continue reading Yasujiro Ozu Collection – The Gangster Films (BFI)

The Persistance of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 2 (Ozu’s Floating Weeds)

Click for Part 1. Asian Values and Floating Weeds (Music by Saito)[i] Ozu’s later films are perhaps more grounded in the traditions of the Japanese family unit.  Their drama comes from an apparent change in value systems (often a systematic change to more western values) or the opposite of this where characters are bound rigidly by Asian tradition and are desperate to escape.  The music … Continue reading The Persistance of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 2 (Ozu’s Floating Weeds)

The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 1 (Ozu, Tradition and Silent Film)

The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores. Introduction The scores and music produced for Japanese cinema highlight a constant change of values within the country; a relationship rarely mirrored so accurately in the cinema of anywhere else.  Whereas the film scores of other countries can be looked at as a product of the trends and studio directions, the evolution and changes found within the … Continue reading The Persistence of Modernity in Japanese Film Scores – Part 1 (Ozu, Tradition and Silent Film)

Kuroneko – Kaneto Shindo (1968)

Despite the horrific elements contained within, Kuroneko is ill served by being pigeon holed into the genre of horror.  The genre as a whole has a huge spectrum of intelligence and allegory but there’s more to Kaneto Shindo’s film than this, quite malleable, label.  It of course gives scares, and Japanese “horror” is well ahead of the western game in terms of sheer scare value but its … Continue reading Kuroneko – Kaneto Shindo (1968)

My Neighbour Totoro – Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

No other film produced by the Studio Ghibli animation company has come to define the studio in its creative aims and ideals more than its 1988 film My Neighbour Totoro directed by Hayao Miyazaki.  Not only is the company now represented by the images of the creatures found in the film, it is the perfect blend of naive idealism and alternative animation with the depth and … Continue reading My Neighbour Totoro – Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

Yojimbo – Akira Kurosawa (1961)

When talking about Japanese cinema, the era of its golden age dominates most discourse on the subject. Writers often discuss “the big three”- the three defining directors of the era that put Japan on the cinematic map as well as influence a large amount of creative’s outside of Japan. Yasujirō Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi are both experts in maverick filmmaking but approaching this canon of … Continue reading Yojimbo – Akira Kurosawa (1961)

Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)

Last week saw the passing away of one of Japan’s greatest and most forward thinking directors to appear in the country’s golden age of cinema.  At the age of 100 Kaneto Shindo was still going strong having only made his last film in 2010 as well as his much overdue retrospective starting at BFI Southbank being mere days later, it seems his life was one … Continue reading Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)

The Idiot – Akira Kurosawa (1951)

Dostoyevsky’s dark parable on human emotion is uprooted from its Russian Summer setting and manoeuvred to the cold, snowy straits of northern Japan in Akira Kurosawa’s bleak but majestic adaptation of The Idiot. Kameda, a shy and delicate man after living life in an asylum for being convicted of war crimes, travels to Hakaido to start his life afresh. The story revolves around the evolution of … Continue reading The Idiot – Akira Kurosawa (1951)