They All Look Alike

tim.iles at tim.iles at
Mon Aug 30 17:05:34 EDT 2004

All issues of "authenticity" and "name recognition" aside (which have been
quite interesting from a film-industry point of view), I wonder whether
one of the challenges for an actor as an actor isn't just this sort of
thing--convincingly playing a character from a different ethnic
background. The theatre director Suzuki Tadashi wrote in _Engeki to wa
nani ka_ (if I recall correctly) that seeing an actor actually cry on
stage just wasn't acting--the trick is for a dry-eyed actor to make you
believe s/he's really crying. Having a non_Japanese actor effectively
portray a Japanese character is one of the interesting bits in the

On the other hand I can't get worked up about seeing _Memoirs_ at
all--because of the source, subject matter, and people involved.

The remarks about _Zatoichi_ were quite interesting, too--I was
disappointed by the last ten minutes, to the point of losing what respect
I'd had for the rest of the film. Asano Tadanobu was good, Kitano was
amusing, the sword-play wasn't _that_ bad--but that tap dance sequence
was just embarrassing... Oy gevalt what was he thinking...!

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