Japanese Directors - Morita Yoshimitsu

rwdavisjr at comcast.net rwdavisjr at comcast.net
Thu Jul 27 20:55:49 EDT 2006

First, by way of introduction...  I've been "sitting in the back and listening" to the informative discussions for the past year or so. My name's Bob Davis. I live in LA but teach film production and aesthetics at California State University in Fullerton, next to Disneyland. I am a contributing writer to American Cinematographer, covering especially Asian film (recent pieces on films from Kore'eda, Iwai, Tran Anh Hung, Kim Ki-duk, Tsai Ming-liang, Chris Doyle, that kind of thing). I teach, among other things, courses on New Asian Cinema, etc etc...

Re the Top Ten lists. I don't particularly want to debate the relative merits of the likes of Ozu, Oshima, and Suzuki. But I did want to point out something I found pretty surprising and immensely satisfying about the lists. And that is - #20 in the Kinema Junpo critics/filmmakers survey: Morita Yoshimitsu. Morita, one of the few here who started making films in the 80s or 90s, is known in the West mainly for his first mainstream film, Family Game. But, while he's certainly churned out his share of major commerical garbage over the past twenty years, he's also delivered a handful of great films - Tokimeki ni shisu, Sorekara, haru, Keiho, Black House, Mohouhan... - in a style that is really quite idiosyncratic and, for me, fantastic.

I've recently been awarded a grant to create subtitle streams for several contemporary Japanese films, including some of the above. [Most of his Morita's films are available, unsubbed, on very high quality r2j DVDs.] The first batch of streams will be deposited in the CSUF library in early fall. But the grant also stipulates that subtitle streams be made available to interested scholars throughout the country. [Note: The streams will come as files on a DVDR which also just happens to contain the film. It is assumed, for legal purposes, that the recipient of the stream will use the associated film for synch reference only and that an original copy of the film itself will be purchased by the stream user and resynched.]

So, if anyone who has a university affiliation is interested in seeing the prototypes of the first batch of newly subbed films - Family Game, Tokimeki ni shisu, haru, Black House, Kobayashi Masahiro's Flic, Sono Sion's Yume no naka e, and maybe also Yoshida Yoshishige's Mizu de kakareta monogatari and Saraba natsu no hikari, with, hopefully, more to come if the grant is renewed - please send me an email at rdavis at fullerton.edu and I'll let you know when the discs are ready.

Apologies for the long mail. bd

1995                       2000 (A)               2000 (B) 
1  Ozu                       1  Kurosawa            1  Kurosawa 
2  Kurosawa                  2  Ozu                 2  Ozu 
3  Mizoguchi                 3  Mizoguchi           3  Kinoshita 
4  Oshima                    4  Kinoshita           4  Yamada 
   Naruse                    5  Naruse              5  Mizoguchi 
6  Ichikawa Kon              6  Yamada              6  Ichikawa 
7  Kawashima Yuzo            7  Ichikawa            7  Naruse 
8  Uchida Tomu                  Uchida              8  Kitano 
9  Yamanaka Sadao               Oshima              9  Imai 
   Kinoshita Keishuke           Fukasaku            10 Imamura 
   Okamoto Kihachi              Kawashima           11 Obayashi Nobuhiko 
   Suzuki Seijun             12 Shindo Kaneto          Miyazaki 
13 Fukasaku Kinji               Makino Masahiro     13 Uchida 
   Kumashiro Tatsumi         14 Imamura Shohei         Oshima 
15 Kato Tai                     Okamoto             15 Fukasaku 
   Masumura Yasuzo              Kitano Takeshi         Yamanaka 
   Yamada Yoji                  Suzuki              17 Kawashima 
   Ito Daisuke                  Masumura               Masumura 
19 Imai Tadashi              19 Miyazaki Hayao      19 Kumashiro 
   Somai Shinji              20 Morita Yoshimitsu      Kobayashi Masaki 
                                Yamanaka Sadao 
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