Introduction + HIFF

Michael Raine mjraine at
Fri Nov 14 00:29:02 EST 2003

I'm pretty sure the commentary on 7 samurai was by Michael Jeck. I was just
at the HIFF too. I'm afraid I didn't have much luck with the films I saw.
Tokyo Godfathers was dismal after Kon Satoshi's earlier animations. The main
theme of all the films I saw seemed to be relentless emotional excess. I
didn't see any films that were confident enough in an image or a situation
to simply explore it. Whatever happened to "difficult" cinema?


-----Original Message-----
From: Rene Tony Donnes [mailto:donnes at]
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 12:30 PM
To: KineJapan at
Subject: Introduction + HIFF

Hi Everyone,

When I signed up for this email list, I remember reading something along
the lines of it being customary to introduce oneself...

My name is Tony Donnes, and I'm an instructor at HPU, (Hawaii Pacific
University) where I teach academic writing and research skills.  Of
course I love movies.  I loaded up on credits when I was an undergrad,
and they were all focsed on: cinema, philosophy, Japanese language, and
English Lit.  I am married, and have a daughter named Rene (after
Magritte) who is two and a half.

I think the greatest feeling is to watch something that has been produced
with sincerity and honesty.  I dislike a lot of the big, Hollwood movies
because, quite frankly, they have a "corporate" feel to them.  It's the
same reason I don't listen to most pop music: it just feels corporate, and
"over produced".  In fact, film festivals always surprise me by 1) the
quality of the movies they have, and the fact that 2) many people in
America (or anywhere else) won't get to see these movies.

I know it's probably hokey to say this, but when I was in college, oh how
I loved to watch Seven Samurai (C'mon, I was 18 years old).  My college
library had the laser disk, and I cannot tell you how often I watched it.
I think it was my first time encountering an "commentary track" and I
just thought it was the coolest thing.  Would anyone on the list happen to
know who it was who did the audio track on the Seven Samurai laser disk?
I want to say Donald Ritchie, but that would just be from memory...

Last week was the Hawaii International Film Festival, and the movie
"Twilight Samurai" received the Golden Maile (our Palm d'Or, I guess). I
was really disappointed by their decision.  I was working during the day,
so I was only able to see one movie per day during the festival.  I saw
"Twilight" plus seven others, three of which were Japanese:

1. Battlefield Baseball
2. Gozu (Dir: Takashi Miike)
3. Shara (Dir: Naomi Kawase)

Regarding No. 1 (above), the best way to explain my reaction to the movie
would be to quote the Kurtz character from Conrad's "Heart of Darkness:"
(or Coppola's "Apocalypse Now")

"The horror... the horror... the horror."

I think the only good thing about the movie was that I realized it's not
only in America where crappy movies have the line: "there's only one rule
[to the game]: There are no rules!"

I've got my notes around here somewhere.  I may do a formal write up.

What disappoints me most about HIFFs decision to select "Twilight" is that
they really went with the conventional choice.  They totally
chose a staus quo movie (both literally and figuratively) over the more
expressive, risktaking, expressive movies.  I understand that these other
movies weren't entered in the competition, etc. but I thought the quality
of the content and style of "Gozu" and "Shara" were far superior.  I
didn't come out of "Twilight" thinking much of anything, (I mean: it
could have been a made-for-tv movie) but the other
two stayed with me for some time (a day or two each) where I was just
thinking about them, trying to figure things out, etc.  That's power.

I should make it clear that I did like the acting, by and large, in
"Twilight".  It's just that overall, I thought the movie was
conventional.  I don't know why this movie was made, for example.  It
didn't seem to say anything new.

I loved "Gozu" and "Shara".  I thought both of them were great, and would
have chosen them in a second over "Twlight".

Was this movie some sort of "comeback" for Rie Miyazawa?  I'm under the
impression that she's been out of public view for awhile, but I'm
uncertain abou that.

Anyway, thanks for reading my post.  i've been lurking for the past couple
of days, and have been really happy by what i've been reading.


More information about the KineJapan mailing list