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Archive for May 15th, 2017

By Bob Clark

The careers of most celebrated anime directors, generally speaking, begin on television, and one might say that if they’re lucky, they remain there. Sure, filmmakers like Miyazaki and Takahata are renowned and beloved the world over for their feature works, but there’s a liveliness and spontaneity to the workmanlike stuff they did for Japanese television in the early parts of their careers that often matches, sometimes even exceeds their most critically acclaimed (or to put it more honestly, critically approved) works. Like many, they did time producing adaptations of long running manga series where they first got a chance to sharpen their skills as directors. Miyazaki’s first feature film “Castle of Cagliostro” was an extension of his highly entertaining years on the action-packed thief comedy series “Lupin the 3rd”, and plenty of other directors have followed suit beginning their career translating comics to the small and big screen. Occasionally, you’ll even get somebody who began on original work retreating into existing material, like Hideaki Anno did after the emotionally exhausting double-header of “Nadia” and “Evangelion”, turning on a dime away from existential sci-fi to adrenaline-injected high school rom-com in “His and Her Circumstances”. There, having already sharpened his skillset and developed his authorial voice, he inevitably wound up butting heads with the original mangaka and eventually had to quit and cede control to his collaborator Kazuya Tsurumaki, a turn of events that Mamoru Oshii would face after his second directorial feature, “Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer”.

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Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in staggering Terence Davies masterpiece “A Quiet Passion”

by Sam Juliano

The Allan Fish Online Film Festival is cruising along to its fifth day with a scheduled, though as usual secret piece due up on Monday.  So far Jamie Uhler, Sachin Gandhi, Dean Treadway and Roderick Heath have presented spectacular pieces, fully attuned to Allan’s method of discovery and bringing some fabulous works to the site’s readers.  The project will continue on until May 26th.  One again writing quality reigns supreme at Wonders in the Dark.

Once again I served as a chaperone for the Lincoln School 8th grade Washington D.C. class trip, and this year we fell victim to an all day driving rain on the second day (Thursday) that necessitated rain gear in awkward mode.  Our kids laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and visited the usual spots: the memorials for Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King, World War II Veterans, Koean and Viet Nam, Air Force and Iwo Jima.  We partook in the Capital Tour, the outside of the White House, two Smithsonians, a full guided tour of the Pentagon and on the way down a stop in Philadelphia to tout the First Continental Congress Building and the Liberty Bell.  The lodging at the Marriott in Bethesda, Maryland was impressive.

A fabulous children’s book author/illustrator panel event was staged at Books of Wonder in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, where an impressive gathering braved a driving rain to take in a presentation that included our very good friends Wendell Minor, Florence Friedmann Minor and Jerry Pinkney, who talked about their new magnificent 2017 releases. Lucille and Jeremy joined me for this fascinating show: (more…)

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