Ishii Teruo

mark schilling schill
Fri Aug 12 22:50:47 EDT 2005

I interviewed Ishii Teruo for my Yakuza Movie Book, programmed a retro of his films for the Udine Far East Film Festival and spent much time with him in Udine and elsewhere. He had a rare charm, wit and lack of pretense. He had his eccentricities, including a flagrantly artificial black mop of hair and a taste in interior decorating that verged on Victorian Doll House, but did not hide behind them. Instead, he said exactly what he thought, with fluency, pungency and feeling. 

He was a director to his fingertips, with a knowledge of the art and industry that was vast and precise. Ask him about a film of four decades ago and he would answer as though he had wrapped it last week, with anecdotes that were amusing and revealing. He could be strict about the proprieties -- he admired producer Shundo Koji because he never sat while on the set, ever after hours of shooting -- but he also had a sense of play about work and life. He chafed under Toei's conveyor-belt approach to filmmaking, especially when he was grinding out endless installments of the Abashiri Bangaichi series, but he never lost his love for the medium. In his own mind, he was always "in production." Spiritually, he was ageless. 

He once told me that he hated funerals because most of the mourners are there out of obligation. "Not many of them are really sad," he said. I am sad about Ishii's passing. He was an inspiration and a good companion. 

Mark Schilling
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the KineJapan mailing list