KANI-KOUSEN(WAS Re: Japan's stunning "A Normal Life, Please", to be screened at HSDFF in AR.)

Mark Roberts mroberts37 at mail-central.com
Thu Sep 30 01:20:46 EDT 2010


On Sep 30, 2010, at 3:49 AM, Anne McKnight wrote:

> What was the reception of the film, anyway? I had the impression  
> (based on after-screening 'talk shows' and press at the time) that  
> Sabu was not so interested in high fidelity to the original. But  
> that he cared about hooking up a new audience to labor issues.

I saw Sabu speak at the FCCJ press screening of the film. Somebody  
else on KineJapan who was there might jump in to disagree, but I felt  
the audience reaction was largely negative. E.g., somebody asked him  
if he'd read the novel, or just its manga adaptation. During the Q &  
A, it was as if neither Sabu nor his producer had anticipated that  
anybody would question his approach to Takiji's novel, which was  
itself rather baffling.

When asked a question about how he thought an adaptation of a pre-war  
work of proletarian literature would resonate with contemporary Japan,  
Sabu had little to say beyond "I hope people will like my film". When  
pressed on that point, he basically begged off and didn't answer.

The film was a project given to him by the production company, and he  
had a tight deadline to get the celluloid in the can. The irony of  
canning celluloid to the clock vs. workers canning crabs to the clock  
didn't seem to have struck him at all.

To me, it would be chartable to say that he was deeply concerned about  
"hooking up a new audience to labor issues". Of course, one can hope  
that's the effect, but when I saw the film again in a Shinjuku  
theater, the crowd was mostly graybeards.



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