John Nathan's film series---Katsushin

Mark Nornes amnornes
Thu Aug 23 14:48:05 EDT 2007

John Nathan's 1978-9 PBS series has been remastered and available for  
purchase. KineJapan members will be particularly interested in the  
Katsushin documentary. I have not seen this, personally, but have  
already contacted my library to get a hold of it. You, too?



The Japanese

A Nationally Acclaimed, Award Winning Trilogy of Film Portraits  
Produced and Directed by John Nathan

The Japanese, Part 1
Full Moon Lunch (color, 58 mins. Japanese with English sub-titles)

Red Ribbon, American Film Festival
Best International Film, Washington International Film Festival

With humor and affection, John Nathan?s camera captures the everyday  
life of a downtown Tokyo family.  The Sugiuras cater elaborate box  
lunches for memorial services and other formal occasions at nearby  
Buddhist temples.  Eleven adults live and work closely together in  
their tiny shop in an old, unchanging district of Tokyo (Yanaka).   
Individually and collectively, the Sugiuras present a wide range of  
distinctly Japanese relationships.  At the same time, they reveal  
themselves as warm vital human beings, dealing with the universal  
concerns of maintaining continuity with their unique past while  
coping with the appeals and stresses of modern urban life.

The Japanese, Part 2
The Blind Swordsman (color, 58 mins. Japanese with English sub-titles)

Cine Golden Eagle

An incisive portrait of superstar Shintaro Katsu.  Actor, producer,  
director, Katsu is the creator of Zato-Ichi, the intrepid blind  
swordsman and most beloved film hero of all ages. Flamboyant and  
unpredictable, impatient, quixotic, and passionately creative, Katsu  
is a man living on the very brink of life yet outrageously confident  
that he is at life?s center. Through its turbulent and passionate  
hero, this film reveals an aspect of Japanese society little known to  
outsiders. ?Lest Americans audiences suppose all Japanese are  
essentially mild,? explains director John Nathan, ?I wanted to  
capture high energy, self-assurance, a virulent personality.  I had  
never beheld a man so absolutely in control of his surroundings.   
Katsu impressed me as a reigning Emperor. His evident hunger for  
every moment that life can afford him is astonishing, and so is his  

The Japanese, Part 3
Farm Song (color, 58. mins. English, with Japanese sub-titles)

Cine Golden Eagle Award
Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival

An extraordinarily beautiful and astonishingly intimate film. Four  
generations of a rural Japanese family speak frankly about their  
backbreaking work, their relationships with each other, and the  
seasonal celebrations that enliven their world.  The film follows the  
Kato family through a full year, gently probing beneath the familiar  
rhythms of farm life and ritualized activities to reveal the tensions  
and the affections that bind the Japanese family.

Toru Takemitsu?s score is acknowledged to be one of his masterpieces  
of music for film.

Purchase Prices:

DVD         `         $250 per film
                   Series Price: $600

To order: Send e-mail or PO and mailing address.
Checks should be made out to the order of John Nathan

P.O. Box 1552,
Summerland,  CA 93067

? ? Mr. Nathan  has captured revealing moments in a highly stratified  
society experiencing subtle tremors of transition. By his own  
account, he set out to demonstrate a simple truth which most  
Americans still fail to realize: that the Japanese are every bit as  
wise and foolish, as full of contradictions, as real and alive as we  
are.  He has succeeded impressively.?

--The New York Times

?The three films, taken as a unit, make contemporary Japan just a  
shade more explicable for puzzled Westerners who watch, wonder, and  
admire?.THE JAPANESE is a trilogy destined to become a classic  
reference work as well as classic entertainment?An excruciatingly  
sensitive cinematic journey to understanding.?

--The Christian Science Monitor

?These films make the Japanese understandable as the complex, warm,  
and very human beings they are?Prime educational material as well as  
high artistry.?

--Edwin O. Reischauer

Harvard University

?Through compositions of stunning images, each film

  calmly creates a powerful metaphor for the Japanese and their  
culture?John Nathan?s trilogy is America?s best introduction to Japan  
and its people.?

--Masao Miyoshi

University of California

?Highly recommended for general audiences in film libraries and  
museums, in high school classes and university courses, and for all  
others who would like to know the Japanese better.?

--Film News

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