, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004 [more inside]
: The Last Emperor
documentary by Alex Cox
(Repo Man). Featuring Francis Coppola, John Woo, Bernardo Bertolucci, Paul Verhoeven, Arturo Ripstein, Andrei Konchalovsky, Mike Hodges, and Kasuko Kurosawa. 50mins.
With the initial belief that there is no story, or at least no fluid story behind the events of the events of the classic Kurosawa film Rashomon
, MeFi's Own Shepherd
set about diagramming the movie in an attempt to figure it all out. Join him as he, in his own words, Ruins Rashomon For Everyone, Forever
. [via mefi projects]
American audiences remember Akira Kurosawa
as the genius of the samurai epic, a past master who used the form both to revise and revive Western classics - Shakespeare with Ran
and Throne of Blood,
Dostoevsky with Red Beard
and The Idiot,
Gorky with The Lower Depths
- and to give splendid and ultimately immortal life to new archetypes, as in The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo.
But Kurosawa also made films of his own time. His masterpiece,
in fact, was the quiet story of a gray Japanese bureaucrat dying in post-war Tokyo, and of his attempt to do something of lasting good before he leaves. The film is Ikiru
("To Live"; 1952). [more inside]
In 1917, Dashiell Hammett, working as a Pinkerton detective in Butte, Montana
, was offered $5000 to murder union organizer, Frank Little
. Or was he? Maybe not
. Anyway, Hammett quits being a detective and starts writing fiction. He draws on his Butte experiences
to write Red Harvest
about a lone detective who sets opposing factions in a corrupt city against one another and watchs the bodies pile up. Lots
of people have wanted to make movies from Red Harvest
. Akira Kurosawa did
. Or did he? Maybe not
. [more inside]
Gender differences in literary taste -
The Guardian (inter alia) has been reporting two English professors' studies of reading habits and feelings about books by gender. Others (newest to oldest): most revelatory books by reader gender (for men)
, (for women)
, author gender by reader gender
. The methodology may not be unassailable but the findings are interesting and plausible. [viaduct vianochicken]
Sidenote: I did a little research following a comment on MR and reached a non-obvious conclusion: women hate Akira Kurosawa
(check out those charts; for comparison
). Theories welcome.