[KineJapan] theatrical release of 祇園祭 outside of Japan
nornes at umich.edu
Fri Jul 24 16:05:11 EDT 2020
I saw that. Really wonderful! As are the photos.
I once interviewed Kevin Thomas about the Japanese film exhibition scene in
LA, and he really had deep, fond memories of those theaters.
My first stint in LA was in the early 80s, but I was in Westwood and
between that concentration of theaters and the Nuart, there was no need to
trek East. Plus, I was working at Mann's National (a wonderful theater,
long gone) so I got into everything in the neighborhood free. The Nuart was
playing a lot of Imamura and other classics at the time and that's where I
was really discovering Japanese cinema.
My second stint in LA overlapped with Shochiku's attempt to run a theater
in Yaohan Plaza in Little Tokyo. I lived close—and for a while right in the
heart of downtown—so I was watching films there at least once a week. They
played a mix of recent Shochiku films and classics. It was really
wonderful, and attendance ebbed and flowed depending on the film. And the
audience was quite mixed. They were the last Japanese theater in LA, and
closed down in 1990. After reading that comment about the Toho in New York,
I really wished I had caught their last film. I wonder what it was like. At
the time, I remember no fanfare—rather, it was like it just disappeared one
I just discovered that the Shochiku was run by Hisamatsu-san, the director
of Tokyo International Film Festival. Wow! I can't wait to sit down and
ply him for stories. I'll have to buy the drinks, because boy did I learn a
lot and cover a lot of ground in that theater.
*Professor of Asian Cinema*
Department of Film, Television and Media, Department of Asian Languages and
Cultures, Penny Stamps School of Art & Design
*Department of Film, Television and Media*
*6348 North Quad*
*105 S. State Street*
*Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285*
On Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 3:58 PM Michael Raine via KineJapan <
kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu> wrote:
> Interesting comment on the cinema treasures link:
> I was at the closing night of the Toho Cinema. The film they showed was
> Kurosawa’s Ikiru…To Live…with Takashi Shimura. A clerk finds out he is
> dying of cancer and builds a children’s park, to give something back. The
> movie ends with him on a swing in his park, humming a sad little tune,
> accompanied by the sobbing of 600 people in the theater, myself included.
> In the lobby were posters of the great Kurosawa films they had shown. The
> entire staff of the theater was in Japanese ceremonial dress. They thanked
> each person individually for attending. Auld Lang Syne was played over the
> loudspeaker. People were literally staggering, blinded by tears, clutching
> onto walls and railings. Years later I met someone who had been at the same
> performance. We agreed that seldom in our lives did we feel as close to
> On Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 12:57 PM Markus Nornes via KineJapan <
> kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu> wrote:
>> I love this kind of thing......A quick search of the newspaper databases
>> produced several reviews and ads and mentions.
>> The Bijou in NY showed it as half of a double bill with Gosha's *Wolves.
>> * The theater goes back to 1917, but between 1963 and 1965 it was Toho's
>> NY outpost. Obviously, that experiment wasn't all that successful, but I
>> guess it was good enough to revert to a Japanese film specialty house in
>> 1973 after a period of switching between first run films and legit theater. *The
>> Day the Sun Rose* double bill was to kick off a new strategy of
>> exclusively showing Japanese films. Apparently, this was their strategy to
>> tide themselves over until the property was razed to build the Marriot
>> Marquis Hotel. (Cinema Treasures has great photos and some ads; man, they
>> showed a lot of great films! http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/2932).
>> Kevin Thomas, who was always a big supporter of Japanese
>> releases, reviewed it for LA Times in 1969; it played at the Kabuki. It had
>> a release in 1971 as the second film in a *Pale Flower* double bill.
>> The Japan Information Centre in Delhi showed it in 1977.
>> The Cinemateque in Jerusalem showed it through the Japanese embassy in
>> It was included as a Japanese selection along with Gamera vs. Jigar at a
>> international film festival that was part of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
>> That's what comes up.
>> I don't have their email at hand, but if you send it to me I can send
>> them PDFs for the info above.
>> Box Office reviewed it that year, too.
>> *Markus Nornes*
>> *Professor of Asian Cinema*
>> Department of Film, Television and Media, Department of Asian Languages
>> and Cultures, Penny Stamps School of Art & Design
>> *Department of Film, Television and Media*
>> *6348 North Quad*
>> *105 S. State Street*
>> *Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285*
>> On Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM Gerow Aaron via KineJapan <
>> kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu> wrote:
>>> Wow, Roger reviewed it!
>>> Roger Greenspan was one of my teachers in grad school at Columbia.
>>> 2020/07/24 午後10:41、William C. Thompson via KineJapan <
>>> kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu>のメール:
>>> Roger Greenspun reviewed the film in the New York Times on August 30,
>>> 1973, when the film was opening at the Bijou Theater here. The Bijou
>>> showed Japanese films almost exclusively at one time. I had not yet moved
>>> to New York at that time.
>>> Bill Thompson
>>> wct1 at columbia.edu
>>> KineJapan mailing list
>>> KineJapan at mailman.yale.edu
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