Alexander Jacoby a_p_jacoby
Sun Jul 30 02:46:30 EDT 2006

Picking up on Michael's comments about Shimazu, I just wondered if anyone on this list has actually seen enough Shimazu to be able to rate his films reliably. I've not seen Our Neighbour Miss Yae, though I've always wanted to. Last year, however, I saw the two films the Japan Foundation holds in subtitled prints, these being Okoto and Sasuke (after Tanizaki) and An Older Brother and his Younger Sister. The latter is superb - a really delicate, touching shomin-geki, beautifully filmed and acted by a cast led by the wonderful Michiko Kuwano. I saw unsubtitled prints, in cinemas in Tokyo, of two others: Lights of Akasaka (seemed pretty conventional; though the soundtrap was so wretched I hardly followed it) and Family Meeting (a very interesting, convoluted and visually flamboyant melodrama). An Older Brother and his Younger Sister is so gracefully filmed that it pains me to admit that the others, while imaginative and stylish, are sometimes a bit clumsy in their use of the
 camera. So I'd guess that Shimazu doesn't quite belong on the top rank, but still, it would be nice to hear from anyone who's seen a greater proportion of his surviving films. First Steps Ashore and Reijin both sound really interesting, for instance.
  To clarify, my admiration for Yoshimura is based primarily on his Kyoto-set films like Clothes of Deception, Sisters of Nishijin and Night River; for Uchida, on The Outsiders / Mori to Mizuumi no Matsuri, The Horse Boy / Abarenbo Kaido, A Hole of my Own Making, and Straits of Hunger.

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