2 Kato Tai films

Roger Fischer roger.fischer at active.ch
Sat Dec 12 10:25:32 EST 1998

>>Hibotan bakuto - hanafuda shobu
>>Red Peony Gambler - Flower Cards Match
>>Hibotan bakuto - oryu sanjo
>>Red Peony Gambler - Oryu's Visit

>I believe I've both seen and have notes for both Tai Kato films you 
>mentioned.  Anything in particular you need?
>Steve Spinali

Dear Steve

I had to write a short description of «Hibotan bakuto - hanafuda shobu»,
but as I wasn't shure at all if I really have seen it, I let it be this time.
My notes on one of the «Hibotan bakuto»- films  weren't not only as precise
as to know wheter it was «hanafuda shobu» or «Oryu's visit», but also not
precise enough to write a short description of the film. I remember that
the film was very complex, that it had several narrative threads
 my notes
at this point are far to succinct. I wrote about the grey and cold
atmosphere of the beginning (and the very low and high angle shots), that
the woman protagonist (a professional gambler!) was searching for a member
of the family, the blind girl, the gambling scenes, then the baroque
theatre scenes, the «coup de theatre» respectively the sudden appearence of
a carriot with somebody (an oncle?) coming to help the feminine
protagonist, the bridge in the moonlight and the final fierce battle in a
tower with knives, swords – and guns. An important detail was that the main
woman character fought as fierce as her masculine companions. 

Having seen «Mabuta no haha» the night before I was struck by the fact that
in both films they were looking for a member of the family.

Now, why do I write all this, when I didn't do the job. Because it would be
extremely helpful to have an archive of short descriptions of japanese
films with the according production notes. Couldn't Kinejapan be the place
for such an

Here in Zurich, they will soon show a Kato Tai retrospective, but only the
happy few that saw the films at the Locarno Film Festival have an idea of
some of his films. And as in this case, it was to expensive to show the
films or to distribute video-cassettes to the press, you can't write
something substantial on it. At Locarno the showed the Kato Tai
retrospective very very late (around 12p.m. and 1a.m), so after having seen
some three or four films already, your notes on the film normally suffer
under these circumstances.

So you have to go somewhere else, to find some more informations. But the
short descriptions that you find about such unknown films are extremely
vague (eg. the film descriptions in the Locarno Film Festival catalogue,
the web page of the American Cinematheque) and I think we should have at
least something comparable to the «Sight and Sound»-film descriptions on
the net.

You will find everything on the best known films from Kurozawa, Ozu,
Mizoguchi, but already for Suzuki it isn't easy to find informations in
english, french or german. 

So, what do you think about this idea? I didn't rise the copyright issue so
far, but maybe that's why nobody does this very helpful kind of work.

Thanks «en tout cas» for your answer.

Best regards

roger fischer
roger.fischer at active.ch
tel/fax ++41 1 401 36 39

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