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By Catherine Russell

Catherine Russell’s hugely available publication techniques jap cinema as an heavily modeled on Hollywood, targeting the classical interval – these years within which the studio method ruled all movie construction in Japan, from approximately 1930 to 1960.

Respectful and carefully expert concerning the aesthetics and demanding values of the japanese canon, Russell is usually serious of a few of its ideological trends, and her analyses supply new insights on category and gender dynamics. Russell locates jap cinema inside a world method of reception, and she or he highlights the significance of the economic construction context of those films.

Including stories of landmark motion pictures through Ozu, Kurosawa and different administrators, this e-book offers an ideal advent to a very important and infrequently misunderstood sector of jap cultural output. With a serious procedure that highlights the “everydayness” of eastern studio-era cinema, Catherine Russell demystifies the canon of serious jap cinema, treating it with fewer auteurist and Orientalist assumptions than many different students and critics.

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Catherine Russell bargains a fresh reconsideration of vintage works of eastern Cinema from the Nineteen Thirties to the Nineteen Fifties. Arguing for a nuanced program of the idea that of “modern classicism” and foregrounding the centrality of melodrama to the research of well-crafted, studio-era motion pictures through canonical filmmakers together with Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa and Naruse, Classical eastern Cinema Revisited strikes elegantly among insightful reports of person motion pictures and a serious contextualization of the old reception of those motion pictures within the West. Eminently readable and obtainable, the booklet offers a good advent to the golden period of jap cinema.
--Yuriko Furuhata, Assistant Professor, division of East Asian reviews, McGill collage

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Aside from the crises of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the Pacific War, which ostensibly acquainted him with death and suffering, Kurosawa is depicted as a creative genius operating outside social and cultural pressures. And yet the director himself has admitted that making a film is like a battle in which the director is the commander on the front line, suggesting that creative genius may not in itself be sufficient for great filmmaking. Kurosawa can, however, be positioned within an industrial mode of production and specific historical conditions.

Ozu has led us to believe that he might in fact have been interested in Mrs. Miwa to whom he nods politely at the Noh play. The scene at the theater is 7 minutes long, constituting a long pause in the middle of the film, and yet the play is interrupted and even upstaged by Noriko’s shock at seeing the momentary exchange of glances between her father and the woman across the room. The traditional arts become a kind of backdrop for the family melodrama, and yet Ozu retreats back into the conventions of Japanese poetry to conclude the film, indulging in the sweet sadness of inevitability, transience and solitude.

However, it is interesting that Shinoda and Tanaka offer two very different interpretations of the sexuality in Ugetsu. For Tanaka it is representative of “human greed,” which is, indeed, one of the film’s themes. Shinoda, however, reads the sexuality as a challenge to social conventions, effectively situating Ugetsu as an important precursor to his own more radical filmmaking of the 1960s and 1970s. Because sexuality was brought to (and enforced in) Japanese cinema during the Occupation, its status in 1953 is still very ambivalent, and as these contemporary views indicate, still open to very different readings.

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