FW: Japanese train films

Peter Grilli grilli at us-japan.org
Fri Sep 12 03:09:19 EDT 2008

I forgot to mention another of my favorite Japanese train scenes:
The sequence of train-cars repeatedly coupling - beautifully shot by
Miyagawa Kazuo - as a cutaway shot following one of the many sex scenes
in Ichikawa Kon's film version of Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's novel Kagi ("The
Key."  The film is titled, in the U.S., as "Odd Obsesson.")
-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Grilli [mailto:grilli at us-japan.org] 
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 2:57 AM
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Cc: grilli at us-japan.org
Subject: Re: Japanese train films
One of the alltime greatest train sequences in the history of movies is
the ransom-money drop from the Shinkansen in Kurosawa's  Tengoku to
Jigoku  ("High & Low" ).
For a station scene, I love the tense scene near the end of Kurosawa's
Nora Inu ("Stray Dog"), in which detective Mifune Toshiro suspiciously
eyes all the people in the waiting room of a little suburban station,
desperately trying to identify which one is the killer.
There are so many trains in Japanese movies one doesn't know where to
begin.  Others have already mentioned many train scenes.
One rarely seen film that is full of trains is  Tooi ippon no michi
("The Far Road") -- actress Hidari Sachiko's 1977 debut film as a
director in a narrative about a stationmaster's family.
Speaking of Hidari, I recall train scenes in her 1955 film for Tasaka
Tomotaka Jochukko ("The Maid's Kid")
And then there's Ichikawa's 1957 Mannin Densha  ("A Full-Up Train") and
the unforgettable train scene at the beginning of the various different
film versions of Kawabata Yasunari's novel Yukiguni ("Snow Country"),
and the long journey in Yamada Yoji's Kazoku ("Family").
Just about every Japanese film with the word "furusato" (hometown) in
the title has a train journey in it and a nostalgic journey home.
Some other memorable Japanese train stations appear in Imamura Shohei's
1955 Nishi-Ginza Eki-mae  ("In Front of Nishiginza Station") and Toyoda
Shiro's 1955 Mugi-bue ("Grass Whistle") 
Not exactly a station, but the final scenes of Shinoda Masahiro's
beautiful 1977 film Hanare-goze Orin ("Banished Orin" or "Melody in
Gray") show railroad track being laid in a steep mountain pass  (and I
also recall several trains-in-the landscape scenes in that film as Orin
travels through Tsuruga and Ura-Nippon.
There's also a powerful train scene at the end of Kobayashi's great (but
rarely seen) 1968 film Nihon no seishun  ("Youth of Japan" or  "Diary of
a Tired Man").
One odd sequence involving train stations is the party scene in
Kurosawa's 1993 film Maada-dayo ("Not Yet"), at which a drunken
partygoer takes it upon himself to recite the names of every train
station on the main train line from the north of Hokkaido to the very
south of Kagoshima.
And don't forget Kurosawa's script Runaway Train, which was finally made
into a movie of the same name in 1985, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
and starring Jon Voight.
It's hard to know where to stop listing train scenes in Japanese films.
There are many, many, many more.....!
Peter Grilli
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brian Ruh" < <mailto:brianruh at yahoo.com> brianruh at yahoo.com>
To: "KineJapan" < <mailto:kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 9:27 PM
Subject: Japanese train films
> Since reading this article [1] in the Japan Times, I've been thinking
about Japanese trains. (I love things like subway cars and trains. I
think it stems from growing up in a place where there wasn't anything
like that.) Can anyone recommend any good Japanese films that
prominently feature trains, stations, etc.? (When I try a Google search
on the subject, I'm inundated with results for Densha Otoko.)
> Any time period or genre would be great. (I particularly like the
train scenes in Shinkai Makoto's "5 Centimeters Per Second" even though
they're animated.) Thanks in advance!
> [1]  <http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080909jk.html>
> Best,
> Brian
> Brian's Essential Reading:     
>  <http://www.oshiibook.com> http://www.oshiibook.com
> -- 
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