Directory of World Cinema: Japan (IB - Directory of World by John Berra

By John Berra

From the respected classics of Akira Kurosawa to the trendy marvels of Takeshi Kitano, the movies that experience emerged from Japan characterize a countrywide cinema that has won around the globe admiration and appreciation. The listing of global Cinema: Japan offers an perception into the cinema of Japan via studies of vital titles and case experiences of prime administrators, along explorations of the cultural and business origins of key genres.


As the inaugural quantity of an bold new sequence from mind documenting global cinema, the listing goals to play an element in relocating clever, scholarly feedback past the academy by way of development a discussion board for the examine of movie that depends on a disciplined theoretical base. It takes the shape of an A–Z selection of experiences, longer essays, and study assets, observed via fifty full-color movie stills highlighting major movies and gamers. The cinematic lineage of samurai warriors, yakuza enforcers, and atomic monsters take their position along the politically charged works of the japanese New Wave, making this a really finished volume. 

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A series of bank doors create a labyrinth for access to laundered money. Shoji screens are opened to reveal a married couple’s true relationship. The door between a company president and his personal aide provides both proximity and separation. And a heavy vault door in a bombed-out munitions factory is used to imprison and taunt. Many elements make Yojimbo (1961) just as rewarding today as it was the nearly fifty years ago: the irreverent morals and black humour, the artistry of cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa and the contemporary-sounding score of Masaru Sato.

After making Red Beard, it would take five years for his next film, Dodeskaden (1970), to reach the screen and the following twenty-eight years would yield but seven films. If, as it is sometimes suggested, the films under discussion here fall short of the masterworks that preceded them – Rashômon, Ikiru (1952), and Seven Samurai – they fall short by only a small margin. Along with Stray Dog, Throne of Blood, Ran (1985), they represent the next tier of Kurosawa classics, depending on personal preference, ranging from very good to great.

While mainly working in manga, Kon occasionally did design the layout for various anime projects throughout the early 1990s, among them the Patlabor: The Movie 2 (1993). In 1995, he wrote his first anime script, Magnetic Rose, a Madam Butterfly-deconstructing episode in another Otomo project, the anime omnibus Memories (1995). The story of several space travellers that follow a distress signal and stumble into a holographic simulation of a long-dead opera singer’s fantasy world already featured many of the themes central to later Kon projects: the centrality of memory for the – often illusory – construction of identity, a plot revolving around a woman whose degree of reality is in question, and the inability to distinguish subjective ‘reality’ from so-called objective ‘reality’.

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