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Archive for May 31st, 2013

bakumatsu 2

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1957 110m) DVD2

Aka. The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa Era

I’d kill all the crows in the world

p  Takeshi Yamamoto  d  Yuzo Kawashima  w  Keiichi Tanaka, Shohei Imamura, Yuzo Kawashima  ph  Kurataro Takamura  m  Toshiro Mayuzumi  art  Shohei Imamura

Frankie Sakai (Inokori Sahaiji), Sachiko Hidari (Osome), Yoko Minamida (Koharu), Yujiro Ishihara (Shinsaku Takasugi), Izumi Ashikawa (Ohisa), Toshiyuki Ichimura (Mokubei), Nobuo Kaneko (Denbei), Hisano Yamaoka (Otatsu), Yasukiyo Omeno (Tokusaburo), Masao Oda (Zenpachi), Masumi Okada (Kisuke),

There were times when I felt that I was never going to see Yuzo Kawashima’s comic masterpiece.  There’s a bitter irony to the fact that Kawashima is neglected in the west while his protégée Shohei Imamura is rated by many as the greatest Japanese master of the post-war era.  Imamura made excellent films, but Kawashima, Oshima, Yoshida and Masumura were his peers and there are cases for Shindo, Yoshimura, Teshigahara, Wakumatsu and Ichikawa, too.  Kawashima was the biggest loss, however, as he died prematurely.  The year he died Imamura made his greatest film, The Insect Woman, starring Sachiko Hidari, who’d been so splendid in this, Kawashima’s most saluted film. (more…)

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MastersOfHorrorPaulLeni

by Jaime Grijalba.

File #7 – Paul Leni

Hey, look! Another director that is familiar in the ranks of Wonders in the Dark, at least, I think he is. I wanted to start right on topic just to sway a little bit into my usual wandering of ideas in this opening paragraph, because I know that this is much more a niche project than anything and I wish that those who enjoy it continue to do so, but at the same time I have to cover some ground regarding the times and the prospect of this project, and the thing is that it will become huge any moment now, and I need more time to write these retrospectives and watch the films (that is one of the main reasons as to why this particular post is coming up so late), so I’m having some ideas on how to solve that, they aren’t entirely constructed so I’ll keep it shush, but for now I’m just going to say that maybe we’ll only have two Masters of Horror every month and the other two thursdays will be used for something different, what is and how/when it will appear, I’m not sure, but you’ll find out eventually. So, back to the topic at hand, here we have another german director who directed silent cinema in Germany and went on to direct silent cinema in the US, gaining some fame and following as well as being tremendously influential to the studios and filmmakers of the time, he practically invented the (at that time) modern haunted house genre with hidden passageways, murders and mystery, all influenced by the mystery novels that were popular at that time, but adding the layer of supernatural entities and presences that may or may not be real, but the fear and the horror is there, and that’s what counts. He was also one of the most interesting people in terms of visual craft, as he worked as an art director and custome designer in many german films before having directed his first feature (and even after that he continued working on some german films), and he is, for all we can say, a worthy disciple of the visual school of german expressionism, mainly because he managed to bring it to the films of the US and we can say that his movies there influenced the likes of Tod Browning and James Whale when they started to make their own horror films with visual lavish and grandiose scope, he brought the over-complex image to the american screen, filling it with labyrinths and people, moving and always interacting with each other, people marching towards the camera or the camera itself moving to develope a visual wonder, it’s all there and he is most assuredly related to Richard Oswald (previously discussed in an earlier installment of Masters of Horror) than to the likes of romanticists like F.W. Murnau, in a sense I can say that those who fell into the expressionism and never truly left it (like Leni) failed to deliver more profound works of art if they evolved into a more romanticist point of view towards the visual language (like Murnau did). Besides all this, I can honestly say that I can’t wait for the first non-german Master of Horror (no offense here). (more…)

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