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Archive for December 10th, 2013

Banka 2

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1957 117m) not on DVD

Pictures from Angkor

Jiro Kaga, Yoshishige Uchiyama  d  Heinosuke Gosho  w  Toshio Yasumi  novel  Yasuko Harada  ph  Junichi Segawa  m  Yasushi Akatagawa

Yoshiko Kuga (Reiko), Masayuki Mori (Katsuragi), Mieko Takamine (Mrs Katsuragi), Tatsuo Saito (Reiko’s father),

You won’t even find much evidence for Banka online; even on the IMDb it credits only four cast members and no cinematographer, composer or editor (thankfully the DVDR I viewed did include two of those) and no character names for the cast they did list.  It was as if they had been erased.  That in itself opens up an interesting concept; what if the director’s name wasn’t credited either.  For those who could read Japanese, of course, it’s there on the credits, but could one guess who had directed from just watching the film?

There are familiar elements, not least in the casting.  The presence of Masayuki Mori playing another of his dallying married men, and the presence of a Takamine in the cast, one could be forgiven for thinking it a Naruse film.  Naruse students would probably notice stylistic differences that make it stand out from that master’s work, and yet some of his themes and his recognisable motifs (not least the presence of rivers) are very much in keeping with Naruse’s oeuvre.  Yet there is another motif that stands out in Banka which recalls the work, or at least one famous work, of Heinosuke Gosho; smoke. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The enthusiastically greeted Greatest Romantic Films of All-Time countdown is now set to commence in April of 2014, sometime around mid-month.  The four months until that launching will be the time to view and re-view films in that genre, and to ponder the selections.  Each voter (e mails will be send to the same group who participated in the just-completed western countdown as well as a few new members who will surely want to be involved with this one) will again be asked to submit a numerical list (1 to 60) of what they favor as the greatest (translated: favorite) romantic films in cinema history.  The definition of what a romantic film is will be left up to the individual voter, but there will understandably be some overlaps from the previous comedy and especially musical countdowns.  But I figure that overlap to be very modest.  Ballots will not be accepted until January 15th, but then will be accumulated all the way up until April 1st.  Once again Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. will be negotiating the results.  Because the scope of this genre is a wide one, we will be going with a Top 70, as we did with 2011’s spectacularly successful musical countdown.  I will be sending out extensive lists to the voters, but everyone is free to choose whatever films they feel qualify.  The list is just to help gather your memories.  I will soon be in touch with the e mail chain.  To be sure there are many non-American films in this equation–France, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Hong Kong and numerous other countries have promising entries…..

One firm rule: No writer who previously took on one of the films that will place in the Romantic countdown in one of the previous countdowns can again do the same film.  For example: I did The Sound of Music for the musical countdown.  Should that film make it in again, someone else must handle the essay.

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