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Film Review: Hiroshima (1953) by Hideo Sekigawa

Both a landmark and a source of much controversy, “Hiroshima” is one of those films where the background is as significant as the picture itself. Let us take things from the beginning, by quoting Joseph Anderson and Donald Richie’s “The Japanese Film”. “In 1953, the Japan Teachers Union decided to go in with Kaneto Shindo and make a film version of the bestselling “Children of the Atom Bomb” (Genbaku no Ko) by Arata Osada. Shindo made a faithful film version, using the name of the book, and showed the aftermath of the bomb without any vicious polemic. (…) The Union was not at all satisfied, saying that he had “made [the story] into a tear-jerker and destroyed its political orintation.” They decided to back another version which would this time “genuinely to help to fight to preserve peace.” They found their man in Hideo Sekigawa, who turned out “Hiroshima”. (…) The picture was financially
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Throne of Blood's Best Shots - A Visual Index

After realizing that we'd never featured an Akira Kurosawa on Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we obviously had to. Ran (1985) was tempting but it gets a lot of attention already. So we opted to watch his other Shakespeare inspired masterpiece, Throne of Blood (1957) which is still the best Macbeth movie even if its more Macbeth-inspired than traditionally adapted.

If you've never seen it, give it a shot. It's gorgeous and haunting and unlike most Shakespeare films grippingly compact at only 110 minutes.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot(s)

Throne of Blood (1957)

Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai 

Click on any of the 11 images to be taken to its accompanying article

Throne of Blood teaches us how to watch it. 

-Antagony & Ecstasy

The minute we see Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji in this cold spare room, we know exactly where things will go...

-Scopophiliac at the Cinema 

One of my
See full article at FilmExperience »

10 Essential Movies Guillermo Del Toro Demands You See

Warner Bros. Pictures

The words “From the visionary director of” are some of the most overused and well-worn featured on movie trailers, but few filmmakers working today have earned it as much as Guillermo del Toro.

His latest release, Crimson Peak, sees him return to the Gothic horror and dark fantasy stylings of earlier movies The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth – visually opulent ghost tales with an eye on the folklore of the past. Influenced by romantic paintings, Gothic Revival architecture and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s literary ghost writing, it represents something of a synthesis of ideas which have fascinated del Toro throughout his career.

Unsurprisingly, Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic influences reach far and wide throughout movie history, and a look at some of his favourite films of all time offers a fresh perspective on how his own work has been shaped over the years. It
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

New DVD Blu-ray: 'The Act of Killing,' 'Throne of Blood,' 'The Wicker Man'

Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week

"The Act of Killing"

What's It About? In director Joshua Oppenheimer's compelling, disturbing documentary, Indonesian gangsters like Anwar Congo recreate their crimes against humanity in the style of the movies they love. Besides the horrific actions they committed in the '60s as part of Indonesia's Pancasila Youth, what's particularly shocking is their crimes are completely open knowledge, and even celebrated in Indonesia.

Why We're In: "The Act of Killing" is short-listed for the Oscars, but it's definitely not for the squeamish.

Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week

"Throne of Blood (Criterion)"

What's It About? Kurosawa's take on "Macbeth" takes place in feudal Japan, and stars the legendary Toshiro Mifune as an ambitious warrior looking to take over Spider's Web Castle. Isuzu Yamada appears as his Lady Macbeth-style wife.

Why We're In: Like all Criterion releases, this is jam-packed with extras, like two
See full article at Moviefone »

'Throne of Blood' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

I first watched Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) six years ago. It was only the third film from Kurosawa I'd seen and I actually wrote a piece (which was really nothing more than an extended synopsis) after my first viewing right here, which is a rather interesting read six years removed. I remember not entirely enjoying Throne of Blood, when I first watched it and reading the piece linked above I see I found it largely interesting due to the fact it's an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" while I also take issue with the length of some scenes, a complaint I read now and realize how much my taste has changed since writing that post. If you were to ask what I remembered of Throne of Blood before rewatching Criterion's newest Blu-ray upgrade, I'd say it would be 1.) the ghostly white spirits in Spiders' Web forest; 2.) the smoke-filled visuals
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Review: Criterion Releases Jules Dassin's "Rififi" (1955) And Kurosawa's "Throne Of Blood" (1957)

  • CinemaRetro
“French Burglars And Shakespearean Samurais”

By Raymond Benson

Two of the superb releases recently issued by The Criterion Collection are classics from the 1950s international scene. One is arguably the best caper/heist movie ever made, and the other is perhaps the best Shakespearean adaptation ever produced.

First up—Rififi, released in 1955 and directed by American director Jules Dassin—who had exiled himself from America due to the blacklist. It’s a film noir made in France with French and Italian actors and a French crew. As the lyrics in a cabaret number, sung by Magali Noel in the film, reveal, rififi means “rough and tumble.” In other words, Rififi is about riff-raff, tough guys, and would-be gangsters. In this case, the protagonists are a quartet of jewel thieves who plan a big caper together—to break into the safe in a notable jewelry store in Paris. Led by Tony
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Throne of Blood

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 7, 2014

Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Toshiro Mifune gets the point at the climax of Throne of Blood.

A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, the 1957 action drama Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan.

As a tough warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada (Black River) as his ruthless wife.

A classic of international cinema, Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Presented in Japanese with English subtitles, Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo includes the following features:

• New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray

• Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck

• Documentary on the making of Throne of Blood,
See full article at Disc Dish »

Pick Up Criterion’s January Titles It’S A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Extended Cut, Michael Mann’s Thief, Kurosawa’s Throne Of Blood, and More

Criterion has announced its January titles, and there are some great films heading our way. The releases include a five-disc dual format Blu-ray/DVD of the 1963 comedy classic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World complete with new commentary tracks and an extended 197-minute version of the film, director Michael Mann’s 1981 feature debut Thief with a new commentary from Mann and star James Caan, filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 Macbeth adaptation Throne of Blood, British filmmaker Terence Davies’ 1992 autobiographical feature The Long Day Closes, and many more. Hit the jump for the full list of titles, including extras details and box art. And click here for some great Criterion Blu-ray deals on Amazon. Throne Of Blood-Dual-format Blu-ray And DVD Edition A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan.
See full article at Collider.com »

Movie Poster of the Week: Mizoguchi’s “Mountain Pass of Love and Hate”

  • MUBI
Not long after I published my piece on the poster for Ozu’s Lady and the Beard a couple of weeks ago, I got a message from Nick Wrigley alerting me to this beautiful poster for a 1934 Mizoguchi film, The Mountain Pass of Love and Hate. Nick, as his twitter bio states, was the “founder and overseer of The Masters of Cinema Series” from 2004–2012 and is “now doing other things.” One of those things would seem to be digitizing some glorious ephemera of early Japanese cinema. On his Tumblr feed Enthusiam.org he recently posted 214 rarely seen photos of Ozu from a Japanese book on the director. He’s looking for translations to the captions so if I have any Japanese readers please take a look and help out if you can.

Likewise, it turned out that the Mizoguchi poster was also from a Japanese annual devoted to the director
See full article at MUBI »

The Noteworthy: Locarno, Mini Cinema, Hoberman on Siodmak and "Hitchcock Presents"

Above: David Lynch photographed by Richard Dumas, via everyday_i_show's gallery including Claire Denis, Haruki Murakami, Jim Jarmusch and more.

News.

Joaquin Phoenix is poised to take cinema by storm with roles in the latest works from Paul Thomas Anderson and James Gray. Via The Playlist, pictured above is Phoenix on the set of Spike Jonze's next, as of yet untitled, feature. We lost two great performers in the past few days: Ernest Borgnine and Isuzu Yamada, both of whom passed away at the age of 95. David Hudson has rounded up some words on both over at Keyframe Daily.

The 2012 Locarno Film Festival has announced its lineup. Included are new films by Soi Cheang, Quentin Dupieux, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jean-Claude Brisseau, Bertrand Bonello, Heinz Emigholz, Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Jean-Marie Straub, and the aforementioned Leviathan. Also incredibly exciting is the retrospective on Otto Preminger, presenting the director's entire filmography.

Finds.
See full article at MUBI »

Isuzu Yamada obituary

One of the greatest female stars of Japanese cinema

Isuzu Yamada, who has died aged 95, was among the greatest female stars of Japanese cinema. In a career that lasted more than half a century, she shone in both Jidai-geki (period films) and Gendai-geki (films with modern settings) and was renowned for her appearances in films by such leading directors as Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse and Akira Kurosawa.

Yamada's range was remarkable. She was fortunate to have emerged at the time that Mizoguchi, whose focus was always on persecuted women, was changing his attitude towards them from being destroyed victims of male society to characters vital enough to fight, often in vain, for survival against the social system.

She played fallen women in her first films for Mizoguchi. These included the title roles in The Downfall of Osen (1935), in which she played an ex-geisha who pays for the education of a
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

What’s All The Hulu-baloo About? [This Week In Criterion's Hulu Channel]

It’s the time again, my friends. When I go through Hulu’s Criterion page and give you what’s new, what’s exciting and what might be a hint at a future release within the collection. There’s even a ton of new supplemental material from various films that are worth getting into. If you like this series of article, please sign up for your own Hulu Plus account. Every little bit counts and is much appreciated.

Let’s just get right to it then. Remember, all the links will be included with each listing. We make it as easy as possible for all of you. First up is a film that isn’t in the collection but I can easily see it being welcomed with open arms.

La Cérémonie (1995), a Claude Chabrol film, is about Catherine (Jacqueline Bisset) who hires a new maid by the name of Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire), an illiterate woman.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Five Japanese Divas

  • MUBI
Nick Pinkerton in the Voice on Five Japanese Divas, running from tomorrow through April 21: "Rarefied Ozu, bold Kurosawa, saturnine Naruse, magisterial Mizoguchi. The Great Men are here, and then some, but Film Forum's 23-feature series foregrounds other names in the credits: Yamada, Kyo, Tanaka, Hara, Takamine — the women of Japanese cinema's ridiculously fecund postwar Golden Age, when on-screen drama addressed an upended social reality for a national audience that suddenly included many females cashing their first paychecks."

Time Out New York's David Fear offers a "quick primer" on Setsuko Hara ("The Girl Next Door"), Machiko Kyô ("The Chameleon"), Hideko Takamine ("The Icon"), Kinuyo Tanaka ("The Martyr") and Isuzu Yamada ("The Technician").

"Considered a bold feminist statement for 1936 Japan as well as a turning point in his own career, Kenji Mizoguchi's Sisters of the Gion is a perfect showcase for his early muse, Isuzu Yamada," finds Joe Bendel.

"Of
See full article at MUBI »

Movie Posters of the Week: 5 Japanese Divas

  • MUBI
Starting today, and for most of April, Film Forum in New York will be honoring five of Japan’s greatest actresses in a portmanteau retrospective entitled 5 Japanese Divas. The divas in question are Setsuko Hara, Kinuyo Tanaka, Isuzu Yamada, Machiko Kyo and Hideko Takamine who, collectively, starred in some of the greatest Japanese films of the 1950s golden age (there are more masterpieces per square foot in this retrospective than in any other theater in town). Takamine died last December at the age of 86 (and was featured on Movie Poster of the Week earlier this year), but, remarkably, three of these goddesses—Kyo, Hara and Yamada—are still with us, aged 87, 90 and 94 respectively.

I love the Japanese posters of the 1950s with their crowded montages of faces (I can never be sure if they are photographs or hyper-realist illustrations) in which the actors are paramount, more because I love the
See full article at MUBI »

Vincere proves that behind every great dictator, there's a great woman

… but, wonders John Patterson, which other demagogue better halves might give good film?

Marco Bellocchio's new drama about Benito Mussolini's first wife, Vincere, offers an extreme example of the things that can go wrong when a nice young girl gets involved with a wannabe dictator. Ida Dalser's marriage to Mussolini was entirely scrubbed from public records during the Italian fascist period, erasing the fact that she had supported him when he was an unemployable socialist agitator, and bankrolled his party newspaper. Her reward – after he returned from the war inflamed by a brand new passion called fascism, and encumbered by a brand new wife – was to be trailed, harassed, and then forced into a mental institution for the rest of her life.

Hey, it's an Italian story, so it's more melodramatic than most, but if you dig around in the private lives of your other totalitarians and their womenfolk,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Epic Dreamer: An Akira Kurosawa Profile (Part 3)

Trevor Hogg profiles the internationally renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in the third of a four part feature... read parts one and two.

“Since the time I was a young man I have always kept a notebook handy when I read a book,” stated filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who has a great appreciation for literature. “I write down my reactions and what particularly moves me. I have stacks and stacks of these college-style notebooks, and when I go off to write a script, these are what I read. Somewhere they always provide me with a point of breakthrough. Even for single lines of dialogue I have taken hints from these notebooks.” A novel which left a lasting impression on the director was one written by author Maxim Gorky, which served as the basis for Donzoko (The Lower Depths, 1957). “Gorky’s setting was Imperial Russia but I changed it to Japan, the Edo period,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Interview with THE VANGUARD's director Matthew Hope and crew

[As The Vanguard will be released on R1 DVD September 30th, we present to you an interview projectcyclops did a ways back]

Dead By Dawn, the Edinburgh horror film fest, comes once a year and I eagerly headed to the Filmhouse to meet Matthew Hope, director of apocolyptic zombie survival film The Vanguard. Matt was there with actors Ray Bullock Jnr and Farhan Kahn and director of photography David Byrne, all of whom I am happy to say are awesome guys with a lot of talent. Matthew agreed to field some questions from myself and other quietearthers about his first feature.

Matthew Hope - The Vanguard

I read that part of your inspiration for The Vanguard came from musing over how somebody from an urban environment might cope with survival in the wilderness, then added zombies. How did your cast and crew cope with life in the wild during production?

The cast and crew coped very well considering I made it clear from the start that we would be shooting come rain
See full article at QuietEarth »

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