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Archive for May 11th, 2012

by Allan Fish

Not too long ago, I recall Sam sending me a link to an upcoming series at Manhattan’s Film Forum about the great Japanese actresses.  Various works would be highlighted accommodating the five women who they saw as the queens of Japanese cinema; Isuzu Yamada, Kinuyo Tanaka, Setsuko Hara, Machiko Kyo and Hideko Takamine.  One couldn’t argue with their description of these as greats, each one of them a shoe-in to any serious film lover’s Hall of Fame.  And yet I recall thinking “what a wasted opportunity“.

At the end of the day one could hardly blame the Film Forum management for going the obvious route.  Had the season been done a decade earlier Takamine wouldn’t have even been there as the films in which she was best showcased, for Naruse, Gosho and Kinoshita, were unavailable or even unknown in the US at the time.  The Forum had to make money, as who would come to watch films they have never heard of.  Yet it was a series that should have made me yearn to be Stateside and in the end it wasn’t.  The reason was that other Japanese goddesses were too noticeable by their absence.  (more…)

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