Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

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lubitsch
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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#51 Post by lubitsch » Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:49 pm

bottled spider wrote:Not that I object to war propaganda: if I were Japanese, I'd have wanted Japan to win too.
There's something like recognizing that your country's government is wrong, horribly wrong in fact and wishing for its downfall, you know? If you were in any way a victim, actively or passively resisting you'd hardly wish your opressors to succeed.
Before you all here try to eagerly find all kinds of apologies and twisted interpretations for a pretty much simpleminded film you better think about those who actively resisted to being put in propaganda and whose careers were cut down. Kurosawa just didn't behave particularily brave with this film and he has to blame his share of guilt for it, save me any interpretations where this all is being supposed to be subversive and all the other hero worshipping.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#52 Post by bottled spider » Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:57 pm

lubitsch wrote:
bottled spider wrote:Not that I object to war propaganda: if I were Japanese, I'd have wanted Japan to win too.
There's something like recognizing that your country's government is wrong, horribly wrong in fact and wishing for its downfall, you know? If you were in any way a victim, actively or passively resisting you'd hardly wish your opressors to succeed.
Before you all here try to eagerly find all kinds of apologies and twisted interpretations for a pretty much simpleminded film you better think about those who actively resisted to being put in propaganda and whose careers were cut down. Kurosawa just didn't behave particularily brave with this film and he has to blame his share of guilt for it, save me any interpretations where this all is being supposed to be subversive and all the other hero worshipping.
I'M SO MAD I CAN'T SPELL.
Last edited by bottled spider on Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tommaso
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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#53 Post by Tommaso » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:02 pm

Well, I'm still waiting for my B&N order to arrive, so I can't comment on the film in question, but I would at least suggest to remember that Kurosawa was still a beginner in his trade, if not a very young man admittedly, and there may certainly have been pressures on him that could hardly be avoided if indeed he wanted to get a foot in the business; and certainly NONE of his post-war works indicates that he had any sympathy for the militaristic regime that governed Japan in the 30s/40s. And if you condemn Kurosawa, Lubitsch, how can you retain any respect for Hochbaum after seeing his "Die drei Unteroffiziere"?

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manicsounds
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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#54 Post by manicsounds » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:44 pm

In the interview on the Seven Samurai disc, Kurosawa says he was extremely happy that Japan lost for creative and social reasons. He says Japanese films would've been in terrible state if the Japanese continued undefeated.

Haven't watched "The Most Beautiful" yet, but about to catch a theatrical screening of it.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#55 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:14 pm

I never thought I would ever agree with Lubitsch about a film, but after having finally watched it, I have to say that I found "The most beautiful" rather embarassing, too. Not so much because of the propaganda as such, but mainly because of the clumsy way it is delivered. I can't see the Soviet style montage techniques here, I'm afraid (quite unlike "No regrets for our youth"). Instead we get a blatant, outright delivery of the message via the text, only slightly 'enhanced' by what seems an endless amount of marching-around in at least the first 30 minutes. Annoying, quite apart from the fact that the girls would have met that quota easier without wasting their time on it. The second half, especially the ending, was much better, with characters gaining some sort of personality, and yes, Kuro's future wife is convincing, but all in all, this must be the worst of all Kurosawas apart from "Sanshiro Sugata 2" perhaps. I just can't read it as much against the grain as some others here seem to do, I'm afraid. Technically it is immaculate in its own way, of course.

If this was a German film, it would be banned today and would have gotten some sort of semi-mythical status because of that. Thank God the Japanese are a little cleverer. Now we can all watch it once and then rather quickly forget about it.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#56 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:01 pm

Sanshiro Sugata 2 was at least intermittently fun to watch. Not so Most Beautiful.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#57 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:40 pm

Have re-watched "Sanshiro Sugata II" last night, and was pleasantly surprised, as I found it much better than on my first viewing years ago (admittedly, on a barely watchable Chinese bootleg with hilariously incompetent subtitles). Sure, the beginning is really a letdown with the Yankee hooligan being nothing more than a caricature, and that whole scene in the harbour played like something out of a Bud Spencer film (although in the Spencer films the comedy is probably intentional; not so here). And sure, the propagandist intent is obvious, sometimes subtle, sometimes less so: all the boxing scenes, though I have to say that it's not difficult for me to shout out an emphatic 'yes' when they compare boxing to dog- or cockfighting.

But on the positive side, I liked the slow, almost meditative (in places) pace of the film; the spiritual aspect of the judo discipline gets more dominance here than in the first part. I also liked the obvious change in character in the villain of the first part, Hideki, and although this is a brief sequence, it seems to me the heart of the whole film (or its 'message'). The moment when Hideki meets Sayo again is genuinely touching and very sad, but it isn't a simple melodramatic tearjerker (I'm not saying more for fear of a major spoiler). Finally, the climactic fight sequence is at least as convincing than the one in the first part, and the immediately following sequence shows again the possibility of change in the villains and seems to me like a first attempt at creating an image of inner conflict that Kurosawa so often bestowed on his characters later on (including the Noh references in the Genzaburo character). Of course this can be interpreted as propaganda again, with even the villains finally following the Japanese ideal embodied by Sugata, but for once I'm at least willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt and interpret this more as something that also expresses a general aspect in Kurosawa's thinking at the time; in the 'hopeless' late films like "Kagemusha" and "Ran" this of course wouldn't have been possible.

So while the film certainly has its flaws and the first Sugata film is better, this second film engaged me more than I expected, and I certainly didn't find it tedious. In any case, certainly better than "The most beautiful".

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#58 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:29 pm

I felt that there was quite a bit of intentional humor throughout SS2 (albeit inter-mixed with pathos, etc.).

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#59 Post by masterofoneinchpunch » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:02 pm

Here is my take (blather) on this if anyone is interested. Does anyone have a link or scan of the Toho DVD booklet?

Sanshiro Sugata Part II (1945: Akira Kurosawa) (some spoilers below)

"It seems the entertainment sections of Japan's film-production companies haven't heard the proverb about the fish under the willow tree that hangs over the stream -- the fact that you hooked one there once doesn't mean you always will." -- Akira Kurosawa, Something of an Autobiography

Toho wanted him to make this sequel to the highly successful original. Kurosawa was really not that interested in it and was most likely feted by the lack of resources as well. Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto in Kurosawa: Film Studies in Japanese Cinema writes that the script is full of details that were not shown in the finished product. When it was released on May 3, 1945 towards the end of WWII it had the additional constraint of a lack of theaters due to bombings.

This is normally considered Kurosawa's worst film. While I have one more full length film to watch of his, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail and the co-directed Those Who Make Tomorrow (is this even available?), I probably agree that this movie, his third fully directed film, is close to his worst (along with some segments of Dreams and his previous film The Most Beautiful), but it is still not a bad film. In fact there are several scenes that are sublime; however it is mixed with a curious lethargy in cinematography and a lackadaisical characterization that is not synonymous with the vast majority of Kurosawa's oeuvre. Out of all his directed films it has the least material written about it from film historians and critics, but it still serves as a prognosticator of later themes and styles of Kurosawa and should be discussed more than it has.

The film stars off in 1887 five (or close to) years after the original. Sanshiro (Susumu Fujita) protects a rickshaw boy, who is being beaten by an American sailor who uses a pugilist style to pummel the poor kid, in a scene somewhat similar to what Sanshiro had witnessed his future master Shogoro Yano (Denjiro Ookouchi) do in the first film. Later the best American boxer wants to square off against Sanshiro, but will settle for an aged and hungry Jujitsu fighter. He destroys this fighter much to the horror of Sanshiro who wants to fight him, but is restrained by the three main rules of his dojo: no fighting for entertainment, no fighting without master's permission and no eating or drinking in the dojo (I would have trouble with the eating part). This leads to one of the best and most written about scenes in the film. Because of this dilemma Sugata breaks the drinking rule in the dojo, but when Shogoro comes in he does not directly scold him. He takes the sake bottle and shows a variety of foot sweep techniques indirectly showing Sugata his breech of conduct.

Meanwhile two brothers of the previously defeated Gennosuke Higaki (Ryunosuke Tsukigata) have come to take revenge with their vicious karate skills and lack of manner. Teshin Higaki (also played by Ryunosuke Tsukigata) is just mean while the other brother Genzaburo Higaki (Akitake Kôno) suffers from seizures and insanity. Kurosawa incorporated Noh in this film by having Genzaburo wear long hair, use Noh-style walking and carry a bamboo branch which symbolizes a mad woman. Actually when I first saw Genzaburo I thought the character was a woman. But as in the first film and in the tradition of martial art films you know there is going to be a fight towards the end. Unfortunately I was a bit annoyed by the final fight between Teshin and Sanshiro. Teshin kiais loudly at every possible moment and it does not sound like a manly scream, but one that resembles the strangling of a small animal. During the final fight scene the knife hand from Teshin that cuts the tree is quite cool (and the oldest film I have seen it done in). But I was quite annoyed at the risk that Sanshiro takes at the very end. I cannot imagine him being that stupid.

While the film suffers as a cohesive whole there are many excellent parts to it. These include such scenes as when during the Sanshiro and Lister fight there was this multi-shot mise en scène where each new shot held an audience freeze frame without actually freezing the shot forcing the actors to hold themselves. Gus Van Sant would do a similar type shot for a love scene in My Own Private Idaho (1991; I doubt he was inspired by this though) and so would the end of each episode of Police Squad!. In fact the Eisenstein montage editing of the audience was more inspired that the fight scenes themselves. These were shown, of course, to show the crass bloodthirsty American/European audience whose lack of understanding true martial arts and are only after "entertainment." Another excellent scene analogous to the geta (wooden clog) transition scenes (answering a question I had on my essay of Sanshiro Sugata) from the first film is the transition of the rickshaw boy who becomes a seasoned judoka by showing his gi (uniform) become more and more dirty and his countenance become more confident.

Boxing is criticized as a brutal non-martial art. The "boxers" in this film are quite atrocious in their style and are also not historically accurate to a boxer from the late 19th century either ((the wrong American flags were used as well; should have had 38 stars instead of having 35 stars, but of course it could be considered that they did not update the doors). Of course, boxing was just used as a symbol of the American psyche. However, what I found really interesting was that the practitioners of Karate were also shown as overly violent, lacking of respect, and full of revenge (of course any Judo throws like the yama arashi are perfectly all right to use). It is poignant that their redemption could be considered propagandistic, all banded together against the western enemy, but it really does not feel that simplistic. Also, while the use of western ware was also to symbolize the decadent characters and even mentioned in the film, Gennosuke Higaki was still wearing foppish European attire, yet had converted to a more amiable (and censor friendly) character. It is possible to overanalyze these contexts because of the restrictions that Kurosawa went through during the end of the war as well as his general apathy to directing this sequel.

As with many sequels this film cannot exist on its own and make any sense. Too many plot threads from the first are not restated here so if you are interested in watching this, make sure you see the first before this. If you are a fan of Kurosawa and do not mind watching one of his lesser films that you can do worse then this but do not expect a Seven Samurai or Yojimbo. I am fascinated by propaganda films, especially during WWII, so if you are interested in that as well you might glean more from this movie.

Notes: I wondered if the European actors were possibly POWs, but an entry on IMDB by jadow81 states that the Toho DVD booklet states that they legal residents. If anyone has access to this booklet please post or send me a link to it. On a future viewing I want to pay attention to the use of dissolves and wipes. I have read (but did not pay attention the previous viewing) that atypical to a lot of Kurosawa films that wipes were non-existent on this.

Sources:
The Films of Akira Kurosawa 3rd Edition (1996/1998) by Donald Richie
Something of an Autobiography (1982/1983) by Akira Kurosawa
Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema (2000/2005) by Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto
Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa by Stephen Prince
Sanshiro Sugata Part Two: Mining the shallows
Kurosawa #1: Sugata Sanshiro II (Japan, 1945) by Roy Stafford
IMDb Board: Sanshiro Sugata Part Two (1945)

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knives
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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#60 Post by knives » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:34 am

Does anyone know of a Sonny Chiba movie with the exact same plot as the second Sugata film? Used to watch it constantly all the time, but don't remember the name.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#61 Post by manicsounds » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:43 pm

Sony Chiba vs western boxing? Can't recall. I do feel that "Ip Man 2" was very similar in plot to "Sanshiro 2"

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#62 Post by masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:57 pm

Sounds a little like it could be one (or all) of the Karate Baka Ichidai trilogy (on Mas Oyama) with either "Karate Bullfighter" (1975), "Karate Bearfighter" (1975), and/or "Karate for Life" (1977). What could make it easier to identify if you can remember a fight with a bull or a bear :).

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#63 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:04 pm

No animal fights to the best of my memory. It ended with a girl Chiba was in love with and maybe Chiba also crying in the rain with a bunch of cherry blossoms.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#64 Post by shadedpain4 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:41 pm

Just wanted to offer a thank you to all who have contributed to this thread. I especially appreciate being informed of the Australian dvd of Sanshiro Sugata, which I was able locate for a reasonable price to see the deleted scenes. What a treat, I had assumed this would not be possible.

Also glad to see the topic of the western actors from Sanshiro Sugata 2 addressed. I had previously seen everything from blatant accusations that POWs were used, to milder questioning ("makes one wonder were they found anglo actors"). Would love to see something more detailed and fleshed out about this topic someday, but for now thanks for this bit of information.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#65 Post by movielocke » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:06 am

Akira Kurosawa's first film, Sanshiro Sugata almost immediately makes you sit up and take notice.  There's a forceful intensity to the camera moves that just feels different, especially when you've been watching so many other eclipse titles of the era.  The film itself is slight, and the story is not tremendously compelling, but the filmmaking consistantly is--in this respect it is akin to the best of the Zatoichi films in achieving technical excellence even if the story is lacking.  

Roughly, Jujitsu is on it's way out and Judo is taking over. A  new Judo master is coming to town, and the Jujitsu dojo is not happy about it.  They try to ambush him, and in a brilliant and surprising exciting sequence for a series of wrestling throws, he naturally bests them all. 

This Judo master's prize student is the arrogant Sanshiro Sugata.
SpoilerShow
Sugata is prone to grand gestures, like spending the day in the pond in penance, and at one point kills a much larger man in a match.  eventually Sugata will challenge a jujitsu master to a bout on behalf of each respective sport, and he prevails against the older man.

The climatic battle is truly stunning though, Kurosawa stages it amidst a windstorm in a verdant field of grain, with clouds rushing past the mountains in the far background. Sugata finally faces off against the Jujitsu rival that has been lurking about the sidelines of the plot for the entire film, but the true star here is the weather and filmmaking that pits a battle of modernism and tradition against a pure background of natural forces at war with one another. 
It's a shame the rest of the film isn't as good, the film could almost be greater than the sum of it's parts, but it never really coheres into rising above its weaknesses.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#66 Post by movielocke » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:44 pm

The Most Beautiful is a beautiful film from Kurosawa, marred by many of the same didactic and propagandistic moments from the Kinoshita films of the era. Interestingly, with this film, I felt as if the message were at times being nuanced, perhaps even undermined in subtle ways, by emphasizing individual sacrifice and achievement and deemphasizing the collective, symbolic national sacrifices and achievement.

The film is set in an optics factory, they are manufacturing lenses for the war effort. The factory employs hundreds of young women who live in the factory's dormitories together. The film opens with a notice that the quotas are being increased at the factory given the needs of the war. Men are having their quota doubled, women's quotas are increasing 50%.

This generates outrage amongst the women, and eventually they draft the fearless badass Tsuru to speak on their behalf. She informs the overseers that the women have no objection to the quota, other than that it is too low. While she is quick to state that the women don't believe themselves equal to men, they also don't think they're only worth half as much, they believe they can do a 66% increase, she tells them.

Thus the film is launched. Nominally, it concerns itself with footage of the factory at work and the team of women struggling to adjust to the intense rigours of the demands of the factory but Kurosawa manages to subvert this tale that is supposed to be about collective sacrifice for the war effort into a tale of immense personal sacrifice. In the process, creating a leader and ideal from these tribulations.

So while there are minor plot concerns over women's frailties, or the need for recreation (there's a couple scenes of them playing volleyball), ultimately this becomes a tale of Tsuru. Eventually, the girls' den mother leaves briefly to collect a recovered employee from her parents, and Tsuru is left in charge, she's not great at balancing the interpersonal demands and relationship conflicts and the girls begin squabbling amongst themselves.

This triggers the film's singular moment. Tsuru is pulled away from her desk--she's the only woman allowed to calibrate optics at a microscope--to resolve a thoroughly petty dispute, and when she returns, she accidently puts her uncalibrated lens into the calibrated pile.

Kurosawa manages to make the sequence of her search for the missing lens both gripping and epic--which is impressive considering that for the entire sequence she basically sits staring into a microscope. And it's subtly subversive. She acts alone to correct a mistake, no one helps her. and she alone 'saves the day' so to speak, in finding the errant lens by battling through exhaustion and refusing to stop until this wrong was set right.

It's very impressive and visually striking film, extremely memorable for the execution of the filmmaking even if the story is relatively weak.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#67 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:49 am

I really really disliked this film -- and didn't find much subtlety here at all. Very close to the bottom of my AK list. I even enjoyed the generally-reviled (but, to my mind, goofily over-the-top) SS2 more.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#68 Post by lubitsch » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:26 pm

A few years have passed, but the same discussion returns
movielocke wrote:The Most Beautiful is a beautiful film from Kurosawa, marred by many of the same didactic and propagandistic moments from the Kinoshita films of the era. Interestingly, with this film, I felt as if the message were at times being nuanced, perhaps even undermined in subtle ways, by emphasizing individual sacrifice and achievement and deemphasizing the collective, symbolic national sacrifices and achievement.
There's nothing even remotely subversive about this film. The whole idea of these films is to show either persons who either already gave up their individualism for the emperor, the Japanese spirit and the war effort or are about to experience this spiritual breakthrough. Working oneself to death and ignoring dying relatives fits just fine into this attitude.
I think you'd never see these subversive streaks if you didn't know that the film is made by Kurosawa. There are multiple of these spiritist films made by less known directors but following the same guidelines and you wouldn't raise a finger for praising them. Japanese war propaganda 1939-44 is one of the eeriest chapters of world cinematography and individual artistic expression has very little place in it. One could maybe argue about Kinoshita's Rikugun and its famous ending, but Kurosawa's film is just plain bad. From an artistic point of view and a moral one.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#69 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:36 pm

I think that most of the wartime films of important _pre-war directors (that I've seen) are a lot more ambivalent and conflicted than Kurosawa's wartime films. ;-}

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#70 Post by movielocke » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:06 pm

I suppose I'll have to read back the thread, I've not yet because I wanted to get my thoughts down unbiased. I ought to point out the first sentence in my prior post went horribly wrong and I didn't even notice until today. I was trying to do something clever with a play on the word beautiful and that the film wasn't, "like the most beautiful is not beautiful" never got it phrased quite right and in editing it, never realized it was now reading the opposite of what I wanted, those thoughts read far diferently than I intended!
lubitsch wrote: There's nothing even remotely subversive about this film. The whole idea of these films is to show either persons who either already gave up their individualism for the emperor, the Japanese spirit and the war effort or are about to experience this spiritual breakthrough. Working oneself to death and ignoring dying relatives fits just fine into this attitude.
Extremely valid points, what I was struck throughout the film though was the lack of collective action to address the key error of the film, that it was the individual hero who 'saved the day' so to speak, which is working at cross purposes to the collective sacrifice messsage of the rest of the film (as seen in Jubilation Street). But this was more of an honorable "suicide" sort of moment, and I imagine no other character in that world would have wanted to be tainted by the failure/shame of the mistake in question.
I think you'd never see these subversive streaks if you didn't know that the film is made by Kurosawa. There are multiple of these spiritist films made by less known directors but following the same guidelines and you wouldn't raise a finger for praising them.
This is a fair concern, one I wondered myself. In part, I think viewers are inclined to see subversive streaks because the inclination of the viewer's mind is to try and subvert the film itself. the degree of resistence to the film (and thus seeing subversion where there is none) is going to vary, and this over-determination is rather interesting because it indicates different vectors of engagement with the genre of propaganda as well as understanding the ways in which viewers and deliberately misinterpret something given nondiagetic information and biases about a piece.

***

Sanshiro Sugata Part II feels like more of the same, it took me a while to realize the sequel hadn't jumped forward in time and this wasn't a post war film with a 1940s American Sailor villain opening the film. And I didn't realize the associations with Noh theatre until I had read the liner notes. The film concerns itself with two sequences. The first is an American Boxer who humiliates Japanese martial artists in the ring (I honestly can't remember if he faced Sugata or not, but I strongly remember the more significant scene of Sugata's outrage at Japan's poor showing in fighting the American), the second is in Sugata versus the younger brothers of the previous film's villain. He survived the showdown, but is crippled now and attempts to dissuade his brothers from trying to avenge him. One of the brothers is mad, the other is a Karate master. The final battle between the latter and Sugata is also impressively staged--this time in the snow on a mountainside--and the rest of the film is relatively forgettable, other than the propagandistic elements woven throughout the film.

***

I really enjoyed The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail which is an elegant and clever non-samurai samurai film. It's a tight little feature focused on a singular scene of one retainer's verbal ability to sneak his disguised master through a security checkpoint (and thus, save his life). Other than a rubber faced comedian there aren't really any sour notes (and he's not so much bad as just too out of place; he's meant to relieve the tension but it struck me as too discordant to the rest of the film).

It's interesting, given the discussion of subversion just how one would attempt to call this subversive. Is a literal reading of the film subversive? because a literal reading would be "sneaking something past the japanese authorities (the censors). Or is it presaging the occupation and speaking to a cultural need to "sneak something past the american occupiers?" I think given the story's place in japanese history, it points to more of the latter, but I'm really not sure how to interpret the central thrust of evading the authorities. Or perhaps it's pointing to the Japanese public that even within Japan there are factions who are in opposition and that is okay, and it is probably a good thing in the long run if an opposing party is not quashed?

In all, it's a fascinating set, the first and last films are the best, but there is nothing truly outstanding amongst any of these early works.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#71 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:43 pm

There is nothing in Kurosawa's wartime films that compares to Kamei's Fighting Soldiers (which painted a sympathetic view of the Chinese then being conquered -- and the horrible existence of ordinary soldiers -- in a film commissioner by the Japanese military) -- or to Shimizu's depiction of impoverished Korean immigrant workers in Arigato-san.

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Re: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

#72 Post by manicsounds » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:51 am

"The Most Beautiful" sits at the bottom of my Kurosawa favorite films list, but it doesn't mean I hate it. I think it is more interesting to see it as what Japanese propaganda films were like, and I enjoy (that may not be the best word to use) watching them to see a mindset and viewpoint that's hard to grasp now.

It is also interesting to find certain early Kurosawa shots and motifs that would evolve into something greater a few years later, but it's not something worth revisiting any time soon. Although, I wish these films were not "Eclipsed" and were given the mainline box treatment, with the "It's wonderful to create" documentaries added.

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