Well-written Movie Reviews of Chinese and Japanese Cinema

Peter Grilli grilli at us-japan.org
Sat Feb 24 02:30:08 EST 2007

You mention David Denby and Pauline Kael as film reviewers who write
particularly well -- and they'd be high on my list, too.

Maybe even higher in this category would be Stanley Kauffmann and David
Kehr.  Neither is an Asian studies specialist, but both have paid attention
to Japanese films and have written many fine reviews.  Kauffmann can be
quirky and idiosyncratic in his likes and dislikes, but his New Republic
film reviews are always worth reading!  One Kauffmann piece that is
especially distinguished, I think, is his review of Shinoda Masahiro's 1977
film Hanare Goze Orin (released with various English titles: Banished,
Banished Orin, Melody in Gray).  Not a great film, but a great review, in
which Kauffmann singles out Miyagawa Kazuo's cinematography as an example of
how a superb cameraman can transform a mediocre film script.  (This review
from October, 1979,was included in Kauffmann's 1986 book Field of View: Film
Criticism and Comment.)

Peter Grilli
  -----Original Message-----
  From: owner-KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
[mailto:owner-KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu]On Behalf Of Bruce Baird
  Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 6:20 PM
  To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
  Subject: Well-written Movie Reviews of Chinese and Japanese Cinema

  Dear Colleagues,

  My question is overly broad, I know, but I have done much more reading of
academic articles on movies, than of reviews of movies (other than the ones
that are included in the Kurosawa volume), so I am coming to this list for
help, on the assumption that there are those of you who have also read a lot
of movie reviews, and can make good suggestions.

  I am teaching a writing class which is supposed to focus on writing
specific to our Chinese and Japanese majors, so I thought that they should
write a movie review.  (Of course, they will also have to do other kinds of
writing such as a research project as well, but that is later in the
semester.)  Thus, I am looking for well written movie reviews (in English)
about Chinese and Japanese films.  They don't necessarily have to be from a
person who has a great background in Asian Studies so Denby or Kael, or
anyone like that is quite acceptable, but obviously if there are people who
write well who also have an extensive background, that would be great too.
(We have already used Donald Richie for a travel article, so although he
writes well and has extensive knowledge of Japan, I am reluctant to have
them read more of his prose.)  I also would like a variety of tones.  While
I was at UCLA, I used to read reviews from someone who reviewed for the LA
Weekly or the Village View who always had such a pleasantly acerbic scathing
tone to her/his pans, but I don't remember who it was. (I suppose this is a
way of saying I welcome reviews panning asian cinema as well as praising

  Any suggestions?



  Bruce Baird

  Assistant Professor

  Asian Languages and Literatures

  University of Massachusetts Amherst

  Butô, Japanese Theater, Intellectual History

  717 Herter Hall

  161 Presidents Drive

  University of Massachusetts Amherst

  Amherst, MA 01003-9312

  Phone: 413-577-4992

  Fax: 413-545-4975

  baird at asianlan.umass.edu

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