Ten Best Japanese Directors

kerpan at attglobal.net kerpan at attglobal.net
Wed Jul 26 10:26:44 EDT 2006

Since AJ has led off ....

1. Ozu (37 of 37 seen)
2. Naruse (50 of 69 seen)
3. Shimizu (about a dozen seen)
4. Yamanaka (only three surviving films -- but all great ones)
5. Mizoguchi (30 of 32 seen)

(viewed as of near equivalent rank -- but with a strong bias towards the
top two, all the same)

6. Imamura (not really much, if any, below the top 5)

7. Kitano (Sonatine, Scene at the Sea and Dolls -- above all)
8. Kurosawa (due to Idiot, Lower Depths, etc -- and NOT Ran or Rashomon)

9. Yamada (so sue me -- I love "Home From the Sea", "My Sons", "Twilight
Samurai", etc.)

10 (tie). Gosho (frustrating at time -- but enough nice work to make the
10 (tie). Ichikawa (though I haven't seen the black comedies that I expect
to like best)

Based on what I've seen -- I won't likely ever place Yoshimura or Uchida
anywhere near the top of my list.  I haven't seen enough by Shimazu -- but
based on "Yae-chan" alone -- he might be a contender. Nomura also seems
like a good bet for a top 20 spot at least. Masumura -- not enough seen. 
Ditto -- Kobayashi.

Not much a fan of Shindo -- and haven't seen enough Imai (only Blue
Mountains). I've mainly avoided Oshima so far (as he doesn't tend to make
the kind of films I especially want to see). Kawashima, Tasaka and Ishida
-- all unknown to me (except by name).

Kinoshita will never figure on any list I'll make -- I've seen around a
dozen films, and almost all of them irritate me -- in one way or another.

If Naomi Kawase and Horokazu Kore'eda keep up their excellent work -- they
will figure in my all-time favorites.  Not many films I like more than the
best work of these "youngsters".  I need to see more of Yamashita's work --
if it's as good as his marvelous "Linda Linda Linda", he's another
contender. Shiota has been a bit erratic. Somai (only seen 3 films) also
could rank high if I saw more.  Jun Ichikawa also seems excellent (based on
an all too limited sampole).

Then there's the animation division -- Takahata would easily make it onto
my top 10 list if I chose to include makers of animated film there. 
Miyazaki would easily make it into the top 15.


Original Message:
From: Alexander Jacoby a_p_jacoby at yahoo.co.uk
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 06:23:32 +0100 (BST)
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Subject: Re: Ten Best Japanese Directors

Seems like no one else has bothered yet to reply to this one! I tend to
think ranking directors is necessarily a bit crude, but what the hell -
it's fun. I would say, my Top Eight (all from the classical period -
probably a matter of my personal bias) are as follows:
  1) Mizoguchi
  2) Ozu
  3) Shimizu (who tragically doesn't make it into any of the lists below)
  4) Yoshimura (nor does he!)
  5) Uchida
  6) Naruse
  7) Gosho
  8) Ichikawa
  Not sure where I'd go next - not wishing to be too controversial, but I'm
not sure Kurosawa makes it into my Top Ten. I wonder about Kawashima, but
maybe he doesn't quite, either. Not yet seen enough Shindo or Imai to know
how I rate them. If I was going to put a New Wave director on the list it
would probably be Oshima rather than Imamura, but then he made so many
substandard films! I can forgive him a lot for Boy and Ceremonies, though.
  The reason I think ranking directors is problematic is because it means
you can't mention all the wonderful individual films like "The Maid's Kid"
and "Fallen Blossoms". I don't suppose Tasaka or Ishida will be on anyone's
list overall, but their great films ought to be.

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