CDRoms/film posters in Tokyo?

stephen cremin asianfilmlibrary
Wed Jan 6 15:49:25 EST 1999

I left Tokyo in November, but Pia had a new CD-ROM on sale in 
Shibuya's Tower Records for 10,000 yen.  It seems to cover the same 
films as their Pia Cinema Club annual volumes: ie, 6100 Japanese films 
and 9750 other titles.  Problem with Pia is that it doesn't refer 
outside of that 6100 group of Japanese titles.  There'll probably be 
no indication of earlier Mizoguchi films, for example which aren't 
available on video.  Japan has released around 17,500 feature films 
since 1945 so not perfect for the film scholar.  Presumably it 
contains the same contents as the book in terms of synopsys, comments 
and the same limited (and erroneous) cross-referencing.  I don't 
imagine a good purchase.  PC & Mac.  Buy the books instead which are 
great value ... new issues due out in April.

Much more promising is Kinema Junpo's new CD-ROM which has just been 
advertised in the latest issue of their magazine.  Cheaper than Pia's 
at 8925 yen it focuses solely on Japanese cinema, covering 13,000 
titles.  (CD-Roms are also available on 1) America and 2) Asia & 
Europe at the same price each.)  Kinema Junpo's publications are much 
more accurate than Pia's and make reference to films which are no 
longer available.  But they do make mistakes which have presumably 
been transferred to the CD-ROM.  Whereas Pia's seems to be a dual-
format CD-ROM, the advert indicates that separate PC and Macintoshi 
versions are available, latter requiring Kanji Talk 7.1 or Mac OS 8.1.

I'd be interested to hear comments from people who've actually used 
them.  I'm particularly interested to know of their search mechanisms 
and whether you can look up filmographies.  The only images on the Pia 
CD-ROM were from Kitano's films in a special focus.  I don't know if 
images are available on Kinema Junpo's, given Japan's copyright law.

Stephen Cremin
Asian Film Library

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