Kenji Mizoguchi

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#226 Post by ando » Thu May 08, 2014 11:50 pm

Got a buddy to take my shift so I'm there. Really, there was NO way I was missing this showing which comes around (even in New York) every ten years - if that. I've never seen a great print of Five Women, particularly that opening sequence. It's a wash out in every version I've ever seen. But I won't carp - I'm psyched about finally getting to see it in a theater.

Crucified Lovers, which I've never seen, looks like another must see. Apparently, the weekend screenings (Sat/Sun) are free with admission on a first come/first served basis.

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#227 Post by ando » Mon May 12, 2014 5:48 pm

If you can, try to make a trip to Astoria, Queens for this retrospective. Give yourself an hour before the screening to take in the museum exhibits. I was continually stunned at how unwieldy some of the early film equiptment must have been - and heavy, my God. Some of those early cameras were made in cast iron! And those lights... must have required two or three people to just to maneuver one in place, much less an entire set. Small wonder so many of those lots burned down.

As for Mizoguchi, the 35 mm experience in a full house, as you might imagine, provides another level of appreciation. What seems merely maudlin or melodramatic in Utamaro on a small screen or a laptop/android device, for example, particularly the ending, is actually operatic in a large theater: it plays that strongly and effectively. I was genuinely surprised. Just wish screenings of his stuff came round more often.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#228 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon May 12, 2014 9:52 pm

ando wrote:Just wish screenings of his stuff came round more often.
Just thank your lucky stars they happen at all! ;~}

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#229 Post by ando » Mon May 12, 2014 10:31 pm

Bah. We can do better than that. Mizoguchi Week, for starters...

Bard College (in New York but up the Hudson a bit) apparently had a retro last year- cool poster.

Same folks (NFC and Japan Foundation) are behind all these exhibitions.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#230 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 13, 2014 12:38 am

I note that some incomplete/abbreviated films aren't included (for instance, Tôkyô kôshinkyoku) -- but otherwise this looks like everything.

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YnEoS
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#231 Post by YnEoS » Wed May 14, 2014 3:26 pm


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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#232 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu May 15, 2014 10:56 pm

YnEoS wrote:Excellent new article on Mizoguchi from David Bordwell.
Indeed!

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#233 Post by ando » Fri May 16, 2014 12:51 pm

Agreed. I love close readings of this kind. Here's an interesting review of Mark Le Fanu's Mizoguchi and Japan (that I've been toting with me), where Freda Freiberg discusses both Le Fanu's and Bordwell's approach to the filmmaker.

On tap tonight at The Museum:

Image

May brave the threatening monsoon for this one.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#234 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 16, 2014 1:03 pm

My recollection of the Le Fanu book is that it mostly ranged between mediocre and somewhat poor.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#235 Post by ando » Fri May 16, 2014 1:52 pm

Know of better one written in English? Perhaps you could give it a go.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#236 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 16, 2014 2:45 pm

If you go to the very botton of Bordwell's essay, you will find a list of Mizoguchi resources. Unfortunately, by the time I tried to find Keiko McDonald's Mizoguchi book, it wasn't finable (at an affordable price), so I have yet to read it. The best materials I have found in English are Kirihara's Patterns of Time and the various chapters and blog posts by Bordwell. The problematic translation of Sato's book is probably worth checking out, despite its issues. After you have checked these out, then look at Le Fanu, if you like.

I really need to find out which of the French books are most useful (Two of my most useful books on Ozu and Naruse are in French).

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#237 Post by ando » Fri May 16, 2014 3:36 pm

No, I meant perhaps you could write one. Thanks for the references, though as I mentioned, I already own the Le Fanu.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#238 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 16, 2014 3:47 pm

Not every book _I_ tote with me actually gets read.... ;~} (Currently toting the VERY heavy Piketty book on Capital -- trying to read it as fast as possible lest I eventually develop some sort of sprain or strain).

I have mixed (to negative) feelings about Mizoguchi as a person, which might make it hard for me to write anything comprehenssive about him. But I can certainly be enthusiastic about many of his fuilms, on a case-by case basis.

I would rather do a book on Shimizu or Shimazu or Imai or Uchida -- who are all far more unknown.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#239 Post by Drucker » Fri May 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Not every book _I_ tote with me actually gets read.... ;~} (Currently toting the VERY heavy Piketty book on Capital -- trying to read it as fast as possible lest I eventually develop some sort of sprain or strain).
I haven't read it yet, but from what I understand
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#240 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 16, 2014 4:02 pm

Correct -- unless one _does_ something to interfere.

Going back to Mizoguchi. I'll be happy to field any random questions (for what it's worth).

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Gregory
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#241 Post by Gregory » Fri May 16, 2014 4:10 pm

Worth noting, and not mentioned in Bordwell's guide to materials, is the BFI Film Classics volume on Sansho Dayu by Dudley Andrew (author of Kenji Mizoguchi, a Guide to References and Resources) and Carole Cavanaugh.
(Sadly there have been extremely few entries in that series on Japanese films. Seven Samurai and In the Realm of the Senses were two others—both by Joan Mellen. :| )

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#242 Post by whaleallright » Fri May 16, 2014 4:37 pm

the BFI Sansho Dayu book is good (Cavanaugh's half especially), and Donald Kirihara's book on Mizoguchi's 1930s films has its merits (it's a fairly rigorous formal study, not a breezy read).

surprised no one's taken on Ozu for the BFI series (I'm sure a Tokyo Story volume would be welcome). perhaps no one feels there is much left to say after Richie and Bordwell.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#243 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 16, 2014 4:52 pm

Gregory wrote:Worth noting, and not mentioned in Bordwell's guide to materials, is the BFI Film Classics volume on Sansho Dayu by Dudley Andrew (author of Kenji Mizoguchi, a Guide to References and Resources) and Carole Cavanaugh.
(Sadly there have been extremely few entries in that series on Japanese films. Seven Samurai and In the Realm of the Senses were two others—both by Joan Mellen. :| )
Also BFI volumes on Throne of Blood (Watson), Spirited Away (Osmond), Actor's Revenge (Breakwell). A rather quirky selection of titles.

BFI doesn't tackle Ozu, but Cambridge Film Handbooks has a volume on Tokyo Story (Desser). Probably LOTS more can be said about Tokyo Story (and Ozu), but I don't imagine publishers would see much need.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#244 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat May 24, 2014 1:04 am

Saw Yoshie Fujiwara's Hometown tonight -- thus completing (at long last) my traversal of the complete surviving films of Mizoguchi. Not a major work (but important as an early experiment in Japanese sound film -- part talkie, part non-talkie with music and sound effects, circulated originally with a set of accompanying phonograph records). More interesting to me was some particularly wild cinematography (experimental shaky-cam) -- and a party scene VERY reminiscent of a similar scene in Lubitsch's So This Is Paris.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#245 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat May 24, 2014 8:03 am

Michael, do you know of a list anywhere online which details precisely which Mizoguchi films survive and which are lost? Unlike with Ozu and Naruse, Wikipedia is pretty useless for this.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#246 Post by longstone » Sat May 24, 2014 8:31 am

EddieLarkin wrote:Michael, do you know of a list anywhere online which details precisely which Mizoguchi films survive and which are lost? Unlike with Ozu and Naruse, Wikipedia is pretty useless for this.
I would also like to see this and in addition does anyone know if there is a list anywhere of which titles are currently available on home video in English subtitled versions , for example I discovered 47 Ronin had an Australian release after I'd bought an inferior quality Korean DVD . thanks

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#247 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sat May 24, 2014 8:48 am

In Mark Le Fanu's BFI published Mizoguchi and Japan there is a filmography at the back listing extant films with a short synopsis and a list of lost films.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#248 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat May 24, 2014 2:40 pm

I _think_ this reflects the current state of things:

Furusato no uta / The Song of Home (1925)
Tokyo koshin-kyoku / Tokyo March (1929) only a "digest" version exists (with all sub-plots completely eliminated)
Asahi no kagayaku (1929) partially preserved, Mizoguchi was a co-director (and his part may be mostly missing)
Fujiwara Yoshie no furusato (1930)
Tojin okichi (1930) short fragment survives
Taki no shiraito / The Water Magician (1933)
Orizuru Osen / The Downfall of Osen (1935)
Maria no Oyuki / Oyuki the Virgin (1935)
Gubijinsô / Poppies (1935)
Ojo okichi (1935) not originally credited to Mizoguchi, except as "advisor" (so probably not really his work)
Naniwa erejî / Osaka Elegy (1936)
Gion no shimai / Sisters of the Gion (1936)
Aien kyo / The Straits of Love and Hate (1937)
Zangiku monogatari / The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939)
Genroku chushingura / The 47 Ronin (1941)
Miyamoto Musashi / Musashi Miyamoto (1944)
Meito bijomaru / The Famous Sword Bijomaru (1945)
Josei no shôri / The Victory of Women (1946)
Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna / Five Women Around Utamaro (1946)
Joyû Sumako no koi / The Love of Sumako the Actress (1947)
Yoru no onnatachi / Women of the Night (1948)
Waga koi wa moenu / My Love Has Been Burning (1949)
Yuki fujin ezu / Portrait of Madame Yuki (1950)
Oyû-sama / Miss Oyu (1951)
Musashino fujin / The Lady from Musashino (1951)
Saikaku ichidai onna / The Life of Oharu (1952)
Ugetsu monogatari / Ugetsu (1953)
Gion bayashi / Gion Festival Music / A Geisha (1953)
Sanshô dayû / Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
Uwasa no onna / The Woman in the Rumor (1954)
Chikamatsu monogatari / The Crucified Lovers (1954)
Yôkihi / Empress Yang Kwei Fei (1955)
Shin heike monogatari / Legend of the Taira Clan (1955)
Akasen chitai / Street of Shame (1956)

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#249 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat May 24, 2014 2:41 pm

That's great*, thanks for taking the time Michael.

edit: *and also horrifying. About the same amount of films Ozu has extant, despite Mizoguchi directing nearly twice as many. God it's not even 50% of his output.
Last edited by EddieLarkin on Sat May 24, 2014 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#250 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat May 24, 2014 2:46 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:That's great, thanks for taking the time Michael.
I mostly cut and pasted from a list I did 8(!!!) years ago on the KineJapan mailing list -- plus added a few updates. I note that, at that point, I had already seen everything (complete-ish) except the one I just saw last night.

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