Tamura's Eureka

J.sharp j.sharp at hpo.net
Mon May 16 04:16:42 EDT 2005

That’s interesting. I wonder how Wakamatsu and Adachi managed this feat with
so little fuss? The sort of thing a new generation of DV filmmakers aren’t
going to need to concern themselves with

I recently spoke to Tamura at the Udine Far East Film Festival, an event
which I should warn any potential journalist is far better for watching
movies than it is for interviewing guests – you get on average of 20 minutes
to fire off your questions, which is hardly enough to go anywhere
significant with your line of questioning.
Still, I am surprised no one here has so far mentioned the marvelous
Nikkatsu Action program that Mark Schilling put together, but this was a
marvelous opportunity to see the works of the studio in the 60s put into
some sort of context – with a Jo Shishido Western being but one of the
highpoints among such amazing titles as A COLT IS MY PASSPORT and GANGSTER
Anyway, I digress. Basically I only spoke to Tamura for about 30mins and he
looked fairly jetlagged and confused, having been flown in for Udine for
only one day – apparently in the middle of a project, so he is still working
at least. He wasn’t exactly evasive with his answers, but certainly not the
most forthcoming interviewee. I remember his wry chuckle when I mentioned
that Ogawa must have been a charismatic man, but other than that, he didn’t
really say anything of interest.
What surprised me though when I actually took a detailed look at his filmog
before his Udine retrospective was just how diverse it his. I always think
of Tamura for “muddy” works like Magino Village or Suzuka, not vibrantly
colored fantasies like Lady Snowblood or Evil Dead Trap.
I think he has shot quite a few films recently the jmdb hasn’t mentioned.
There’s been all these hour-long Aoyama works recently, but I also remember
a seeing a film recently called MY EASY-GOING SISTER, directed by
first-timer, Kei Shichiri, based on a TV adaptation of Mori Ogai’s novel
“Sanshodayu” written by Juro Kara. Not sure what happened to this one, but I
don’t think it was ever released in Japan.


Midnight Eye: The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema


Out Now from Stone Bridge Press:
The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film by Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
Foreword by Hideo Nakata

--------- Original Message --------
From: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
To: KineJapan <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Subject: Tamura's Eureka
Date: 15/05/05 03:36

> I dropped by a favorite watering whole in Kabuki-cho last night only to
> find Tamura Masaki sitting there, drunk and lonely. It had been a while
> since we'd spoken, so we chatted about all sorts of things----trying
> our best to avoid the subject of Ogawa Pro, something neither of us
> seems to be able to avoid.
> I mentioned to Tamura that KineJapan had some discussion about the
> color scheme of Eureka, but that I don't remember if it was resolved or
> not. He was delighted to set the record straight. It's clearly
> something he's supremely proud of.
> When director Aoyama told him he wanted to shoot in black and white,
> yet have the last scene shift to color, Tamura told him it was
> impossible. I pointed out that was hardly true, and cited the examples
> from any number of films---say by Wakamatsu and Adachi.
> Tamura scoffed, "They didn't know what they were doing, and didn't
> care. It can't be done." He explained that, first, you'd have to use
> two kinds of film stock, black and white and color, and this would
> necessitate splicing the two sections together. This wouldn't look
> good. Perhaps you could have a unique reel just for the color, but it
> was so short that it wasn't practical.
> Then he explained that the main reason had to do with the thickness of
> the film stock, and having a separate reel for the color wouldn't take
> care of the consequences. Black and White and Color are different
> thicknesses, and thus require a focus shift during projection. This
> would have to be done on the fly, and needless to say this shift to
> color was at a crucial moment in the film. Even the best projectionist
> would require distracting fiddling with focus.
> So Tamura suggested shooting in black and white, but printing in color.
> He did many tests, and both he and Aoyama loved the results. Tamura
> studied the effects, tweaking lighting and camera until he had a sense
> of control. They shot, printed everything on color, and then found
> something else out. The labs simply didn't have experience with this,
> and so they had little control over the results. Tamura found that
> every print was different. He didn't like the first one. They sent the
> second one to Cannes. He thinks the third print they struck was the
> best, at least that's his memory of it.
> It sounds like he hasn't been working much lately. What a waste of one
> of Japan's great cinematographers.
> Markus

Message sent using Hunter Point Online WebMail

More information about the KineJapan mailing list