Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Discussion and info on people in film, ranging from directors to actors to cinematographers to writers.

Moderator: DarkImbecile

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#126 Post by feihong » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:26 am

I didn't think to mention it at the time, but a little while ago I saw Kurosawa's latest, or next-to-latest picture, To the Ends of the Earth. It is by far my favorite of his film since he abandoned horror for respectability (the cutoff as I see it is Retribution/Tokyo Sonata). I think it's the best of these movies––though I haven't seen Daguerrotype yet. I should say that of these later movies the only one I like was Journey to the Shore, and then I only really like it if I can make myself forget the sequence where the other ghost screams at the cave in the forest or whatever––that scene was a tedium). Before We Vanish and Creepy were wretched, Real put a gun to its own head midway through and finished itself off. I found Tokyo Sonata both dull and preposterous at times, and I did not feel as if it was worth it. I didn't even try to see Kurosawa's bizarre immediate remake of Before We Vanish, but that seemed almost like an admission of failure on the previous movie. Mostly I feel that Kurosawa the would-be international filmmaker has a hard time balancing his preference for surrealism with the thematic and aesthetic challenges of his current work. Working more squarely in genre allowed him to explore interesting themes by transgressing genre elements. Without genre, he has no backstop, and things often get very imbalanced, or just plain out-of-control. The actors he works with these days are often just not as good as Yakusho, as well. There have been some good actresses, but sometimes Kurosawa doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with them, and often the women are only tangential to the point of the film (Journey to the Shore is the clear exception in this case).

To the Ends of the Earth isn't subject to any of the wayward sense Kurosawa has generated in recent projects. It is very grounded, wearing its slight surrealism very lightly, and as such, it makes the most productive use of Kurosawa's fastidious precision of any of his recent movies. It is also a kind of stripped-down, unshowy musical (there are only 2 or 3 songs, don't get your hopes up too much), which makes it more unique still in Kurosawa's oeuvre. Most productively, it is a travelogue film, shot entirely, I believe, in Uzbekistan, and at times it verges on being a documentary––this gives it a far greater sense of freedom, of looseness, than Kurosawa normally allows. Creepy sucked so hard partly because it felt so suffocatingly controlled. To the Ends of the Earth feels risky and strange. It's often hard to tell what will come of any given scene, what the heroine will discover around the next corner. It's hard to know how she will react to whatever she sees. It is on the one hand a very sedate movie––though easily Kurosawa's most beautiful film, ever, period––but there is an undercurrent of menace throughout the picture, and you feel that something might happen at any moment. Most especially, in spite of how ordinary everything seems to be within the story, you feel like the heroine might snap, anyway.

The film follows Yoko, played by the singer Atsuko Maeda, of AKB48. She is a newscaster working with a small crew on an Uzbekistan-set travel documentary for the Japanese audience. Yoko is an interesting character, especially because she seems so inward and repressed. She looks very mousy, behaves very awkwardly, and as the film goes on it becomes very obvious that Yoko is having a terrible time in Uzbekistan. The documentary crew is searching for unusual sights in Uzbekistan, and they are having a hard time finding them. Nothing is working out. Yoko feels it is her job to give the viewers something interesting to see, and it becomes clear she feels she is failing t it. At one point Yoko is put in rusted a tilt-a-whirl that pitches her up and down riotously. Because the crew wants coverage, Yoko continues to ride the device until she screams and vomits. She eats food that hasn't been properly cooked because they need it for a shot. Kurosawa often depicts her struggling to change her costume in the back of a van, gently emphasizing the frustration and humiliation she endures as the host of this program. She stands in a lake looking for a rare fish, only to be told the fish isn't appearing because she's a woman, and the fish steers clear of them. But Yoko is a little weirder than is let on at first, and expertly, after showing Yoko enduring all these humiliations and hardships, Kurosawa starts a passage of the film showing us the very strange person Yoko actually is. She wanders the streets at night, leaning away from passersby, nearly scraping against buildings to try and melt into the city backalleys. She is fascinated by fenced-off areas she is told not to enter. She sees a goat tied up in someone's back patio and schemes to free it. There is something so painfully inward and overwrought about Yoko; she is not one's normal protagonist. She isn't very sympathetic, especially because Uzbekistan looks gorgeous and inviting, and Yoko is astringent and angry and resolutely armed against the country's charms. Ultimately we learn that she is doing this job in order to eventually do what she loves, which is singing. She sings several times for us, only when she feels she is alone––and each time a full orchestra rises to meet her voice. The last song seems to me a deliberate parody of The Sound of Music, with the camera craning up away from her head to fill the frame with the pastoral landscape. There is also Adiz Rajabov, a wonderful Uzbeki actor, who plays Temur, the documentary crew's translator. He is an extraordinary figure in the film, gentle and self-effacing, enthusiastic about both Japanese culture and his own. Temur is the only true-believer in the film, the only one who knows about the history between Uzebkistan and Japan. He is the only character who is happy that the film crew is there; the Uzbeki's look at them with justified suspicion––since they are really just doing a gonzo doc on weird stuff to find in the country––and the Japanese crew is mostly nonplussed by the stunning beauty and absorbing history of Uzbekistan. Kurosawa seems to be delivering a harsh jab at Japanese television and perhaps a sort of provincial Japanese attitude, making his documentary crew members unresponsive in the face of really moving views, ideas, etc. In a place bursting with potential interest, they are there to shoot crap, and a very specific kind of crap. When confronted late in the film by Temur with the story of the local opera house––which was built by Japanese prisoners after WWII, the craftsmanship of which astonished the Uzbekis supervising the construction––and while told by Temur how this inspired him to study Japanese culture, the crew decides such footage wouldn't sell, and instead films Yoko acting cute and personable (this is something she can turn on for the camera, but which she never expresses when the camera is off) while touring a grungy local food bazaar.

The film is gorgeous––I think this is the third time I'm saying that––and in addition to local music and the songs Maeda sings, there is an arresting dirge played by trombones and french horns that emerges shyly throughout the film. It has a little bit of the feeling of an Angelopoulos movie. And all of Kurosawa's expert effects he has developed since Tokyo Sonata are used here with greater effect and purpose. There is a scene in the film where the light in a room dims palpably, very much like a similar effect in Creepy. But here the effect has meaning and emotional quality to it. The drama of bringing Yoko out of her shell is always the centerpiece, and it's to Maeda's credit that she manages to make this singularly unattractive figure (she has gone out of her way to deglamorize Yoko, and the costuming and hair contributes to this very sedated, mutely defensive look) so relentlessly compelling. Yoko is unreceptive to engaging in Uzbekistan's culture, its people, its space or light or customs––but she is a prisoner here, genuinely miserable, with her personality repressed, her wants and drives frustrated. Contrasted against the striking landscape, and you have the most Antonioni-ish of Kurosawa's pictures. And when the singing started, I was overwhelmed. I think it's a genuinely great movie, and one of Kurosawa's absolute best. There is such freedom and generosity on display in this picture––more than in any other film of this very controlled and controlling director.


Then, the same night, I saw The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girls, Kurosawa's second feature film. It's a pink film, but a pink film in name, mostly. What it really is up to is more akin to a Godardian campus novel, written by the Three Stooges. There's the hot-take! It's fun, and intermittently very funny. Juzo Itami is one of the stars. It's very clear from the film that Godard is a huge inspiration for early Kurosawa––his comedies are very Godardian in spirit. I had a great time watching the movie, partly because of how clumsy and indie it looked and felt. It had the sense of a lack of complexity you feel in many indie filmmakers debuts. I actually prefer his previous film, Kandagawa River Pervert Wars, which has a more mobile and active camera, some genuine eroticism (which this film almost completely lacks), and some livelier performances.

I'm not sure whether I can look forward to whatever Kurosawa does next. Wife of a Spy does sound interesting, but I'm a little suspicious that the move outside of Japan was what made To the Ends of the Earth feel so fresh and necessary. Hopefully he's been inspired afresh, and the next one will end up worth seeing. To the Ends of the Earth was very worth it.

User avatar
ex-cowboy
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:27 am

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#127 Post by ex-cowboy » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:46 pm

Been meaning to ask this for a while - the original title of Kurosawa's mid-90's video series Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself is 'Katte ni Shiyagare!!' (which basically translates to 'do whatever the hell you want') which also happens to be the title (minus the exclamation marks) of Godard's Breathless. Having not seen the series, is there any link - even tangentially - or is it purely a coincidence or a simple name drop (the phrase isn't exactly an obscure one, so could be a coincidence)?

I know the series is mentioned in the Midnight Eye Guide, but not having access to my copy currently, can't check whether there is any reference to this point.

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#128 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:15 pm

feihong wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:26 am
Then, the same night, I saw The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girls, Kurosawa's second feature film. It's a pink film, but a pink film in name, mostly. What it really is up to is more akin to a Godardian campus novel, written by the Three Stooges. There's the hot-take! It's fun, and intermittently very funny. Juzo Itami is one of the stars. It's very clear from the film that Godard is a huge inspiration for early Kurosawa––his comedies are very Godardian in spirit. I had a great time watching the movie, partly because of how clumsy and indie it looked and felt. It had the sense of a lack of complexity you feel in many indie filmmakers debuts. I actually prefer his previous film, Kandagawa River Pervert Wars, which has a more mobile and active camera, some genuine eroticism (which this film almost completely lacks), and some livelier performances.
Supposedly the original cut of The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl (the one rejected by Nikkatsu) was a lot more "pink," the studio's objections being about the lack of romance rather than the lack of sex and nudity. Kurosawa and some supporters within the film community raised the funds to buy the movie from Nikkatsu, a result of which was that Kurosawa was able to recut it with no consideration for a studio and dropped much of the eroticism. (As though to underline this, he also changed the title from College Girl: Shameful Seminar.)

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#129 Post by feihong » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:28 pm

ex-cowboy wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:46 pm
Been meaning to ask this for a while - the original title of Kurosawa's mid-90's video series Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself is 'Katte ni Shiyagare!!' (which basically translates to 'do whatever the hell you want') which also happens to be the title (minus the exclamation marks) of Godard's Breathless. Having not seen the series, is there any link - even tangentially - or is it purely a coincidence or a simple name drop (the phrase isn't exactly an obscure one, so could be a coincidence)?
I don't see anything in the Midnight Eye book about that reference, specifically. I haven't seen the film. I do have a copy of it somewhere...it's part of a long list of movies I plan to get to...eventually. The Midnight Eye book does say that the 5th entry in the series references Le Doulos. I'm sure there's a very good chance that Kurosawa intended the association.
The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:15 pm
Supposedly the original cut of The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl (the one rejected by Nikkatsu) was a lot more "pink," the studio's objections being about the lack of romance rather than the lack of sex and nudity. Kurosawa and some supporters within the film community raised the funds to buy the movie from Nikkatsu, a result of which was that Kurosawa was able to recut it with no consideration for a studio and dropped much of the eroticism. (As though to underline this, he also changed the title from College Girl: Shameful Seminar.)
That's really interesting. I would say there is some romance in the final cut––mostly between the lead girl and the professor––which is played like a scene from James Whale's Frankenstein. It's easy to imagine there being more softcore scenes originally. There do seem to be erotic sequences which are cut down to just a single post-coital shot, where I can imagine they filmed a lot more material.

User avatar
dadaistnun
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:31 am

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#130 Post by dadaistnun » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:44 pm

KimStim has acquired Bright Future and is giving it a weeklong virtual cinema run beginning December 4 at the Metrograph leading up to their release of To the Ends of the Earth (which is absolutely wonderful and already a top tier KK for me) on December 12. It appears to be the longer 115 minute version, I believe making this its first U.S. release (the Palm Pictures release back in 2003 or 2004 was the 92 minute version).

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#131 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:44 pm

dadaistnun -- Great news. Still have not yet seen To the Ends of the Earth...
Last edited by Michael Kerpan on Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.


User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#133 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:46 pm

Great news. Waiting impatiently.

I love seeing women who I pegged as (hopeful) future stars in their early teens fulfilling my prophecies.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#134 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:49 pm

Wife of a Spy: Kurosawa’s latest is another expectedly interesting subversion of genre, like an aesthetically pleasing room where the wallpaper curls to unveil something sinister and uncomfortable behind the fresh paint. In one sense it's a deliberate homage to the Hollywood films from the decade this takes place, so much so that it’s easy to forgive the outdated forced dramatic dialogue in the opening scene that sets the stage, or the scattered introductions of characters that feel out of time. However the film is also operating on a rhythmic wave that understands the philosophical implications of forfeiting critical thinking into nationalism, order, and even narrative devices like these. Kurosawa is so good at dwelling on his characters just a moment longer than the norm to convey a panic of directionless emotions, harnessed with nowhere to expel them; an ominous piece of humanity the classics refuse to confront. The film is shot with cameras that feel like the TV movie that it is, eliminating stylish signifiers that would assist our escape into a genre film, sterilizing our perspective into one of hypervigilance through restraining distractions.

Any overstated cinematic cliches are abandoned by the wayside very early on, and we're taken to a familiar Kurosawaian space of gradually-seeping existential dread, a meditation onto the suspicions and anxieties that come from independence- both imposed upon and also stemming from such a coveted state. There is a noir fatalism encroaching on these characters in this otherwise Hitchcockian melodrama about marital trust. Can anybody really ‘know’ anybody? Do ideological codes help reinforce a false sense of trust so that we can pretend to hold knowledge that brings us closer to the one we love? Do we love because we need these supports in order to remain sane? And does independence of identity threaten to unravel these sociological safety nets that make for a delusional yet comfortable life? The horrors that come out of breaking from these blind spots are equally destabilizing and horrific because the moral of humanism- a comprehensive intimacy with mankind- is ironically the loneliest stance to take here, and at odds with the morality of the dominant state- working as both protectors and executioners. But is that dominant state also the container of the faith we must take to have meaningful trusting human connection, and does choosing the former individualist path -no matter how broadly moral- necessitate the sacrifice of a collectivist harmony with the real people close to us? Kurosawa loves his social contradictions, and this film is no exception.

I didn't exactly love this, but it's still striking the brilliantly eerie tone that only Kurosawa can achieve at dissolving the painful truths hidden in the psychology of the relatable, even when dressed up in novel specifics (this time in, I believe, his first period film). The end depicts a crescendo of the emotional implosion hinted at with attentive camera pauses earlier in the film, an anticathartic demonstration of the crippling isolation born from the impeded release of spirit. This is the kind of climax that Kurosawa's formalist ethos defines as such, and would be an anticlimax in anyone else's work.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#135 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:10 am

TWWB -- How did you see this?

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#136 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:28 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:10 am
TWWB -- How did you see this?
It popped up on the net today in the places anyone can access, not only the exclusive backchannels. The Japanese blu-ray came out last week so no idea what the significance of today is, but I wasn't under the impression that disc had English subs and they're linked on every copy I've come across, so maybe it does. Forum rules prohibit specifics, but if you know even the most popular places to look, you will find it.

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#137 Post by feihong » Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:54 am

The first thing that struck me on seeing Wife of a Spy was how shitty it looked. The version I saw appeared to be interlaced. It made the movie look like old "Masterpiece Theater" broadcasts––a kind of clammy look which, just as in this movie, made the period detail appear a cheap add-on rather than an integral part of the dramatic atmosphere. I read someone on Letterboxd insisting this video quality was part of the general theme of artifice in the movie, but if that's so, I don't think it worked, because I found it hugely distracting throughout the movie. In general, the film shows evidence of a relatively low budget for a period piece; crowds in street scenes are conspicuously small with very little of authentic interest to do in the background, and the bombing raid at the end of the film looks kind of impoverished and unspectacular (not that it had to be huge––but this one doesn't even look artfully arranged). I do think everything therewillbeblus said is there is there, intellectually, within the film, but...I did not feel much of it; nor did I feel compelled to unpack much of it by any extensive interest in what I was seeing. And I found myself wondering if Kurosawa was really the right filmmaker to do this movie. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but...there seems to be a rich melodramatic streak both evident in and worthwhile to the subject matter, which Kurosawa, unsurprisingly, does not indulge in nor develop––but which is, I think, crucial to the structure of the story. I could imagine Douglas Sirk making a masterpiece out of similar material, but I think Kurosawa ends up with an understated, relatively decent movie––but one quite a bit too long to sustain its interest. I am generally there for Yu Aoi in whatever she ends up doing, but I found my attention drifting at a certain point, regardless.

The essential problem for me is going to be buried in these spoilers––sorry to place my principal complaint there, but I'm sure someone will get mad if I don't:
SpoilerShow
Late in the film, Satoko either goes into paranoid hysterics, or pretends to, and gets committed to an asylum. We see her imagining her husband escaping in a boat, looking back at her, with a song playing, offering pointed lyrics about a short and fleeting love. The image is shot with a kind of murky loss of focus around the edges; this is Satoko's fantasy. I think the implication is that she does go at least into a kind of hysterical state. She has mortgaged her solid identity within her country to be loyal to her husband, and the promise of fulfilling love and passion and lifelong caring he's supposed to offer; he has tricked her and betrayed her, but for reasons he has insisted are the noblest possible––and indeed, he has convinced her of the same. So she doesn't really know which end is up at this point. This marks the culmination of a character journey that transforms Satoko from a blindly pleasant and bemused wife, ignorant of the outside world, into a willing traitor to her country, motivated largely by her passion for her husband. Her conversion is sparked because she thinks he's having an affair. And she goes to some lengths to create a situation in which she is the only one he can depend upon. My impression is that the hysteria Satoko succumbs to is meant to carry on and grow throughout the film. But the earlier sections of the film don't really offer any sense of it. Her jealousy emerges mostly in a single scene, and it is immediately quelled when her husband reveals to her he's a spy.
Before that she is pleasant, trusting, and a slight bit flirtatious. And it is really part of Kurosawa's style that his films burn at the lowest possible setting for the longest time––and that's how it happens here. But I think that's a big part of why the film doesn't do for me what it proposes to––it doesn't convince me that Satoko reaches a point of overwhelming paranoia, frustrated passions, etc. I think that in order to do it, there needed to be a little more melodramatic flair to Satoko's journey. The "Spy" part of the film takes up it's entire 2-hr. runtime. What I needed, badly, was some part of the film that was about the "Wife"––her role prior to her conversion is quite unfocused––neither the script nor what the director allows of the performances seem to offer much of what the wife does besides surprise her husband at his work,
SpoilerShow
and happen in upon his nest of spies.
I also think that Yu Aoi as an actress is perfectly suited to bring convincing melodrama to the role of a wife who feels at first betrayed, then animated with passionate conviction,
SpoilerShow
and then betrayed again
. But because we never really drift into experiencing this world as she does, the spy twists don't land with any conviction. The final sense of
SpoilerShow
betrayal
is muted, and Satoko's plunge into insanity––or simply being extremely alienated and distressed––is left seeming very arbitrary. The trouble is that, without any sense of melodrama, Satoko's journey does not feel fully developed. The idea of the wife as isolated even within an already isolated environment only sort of comes off. It would have been beneficial, I think, to the whole enterprise if that sense of warping isolation was present from the very beginning, in the traditional role of "wife." As it is, we only become aware of it as Satoko's husband articulates the idea on a national level. As a wife, Satoko seems to have no real expected duties. This is, I think, partly something the script omits, and partly an area where Kurosawa does not seem interested to go. Ultimately, I really think this should have been not only more Satoko's journey (we spend just a ton of time watching her husband's face), but also a journey with a little more material to it. This movie isn't a failure, but after To the Ends of the Earth––for me head and shoulders Kurosawa's best film since before Tokyo Sonata––this film doesn't feel entirely praiseworthy. To the Ends of the Earth offered us a very consistent female lead, and a movie arranged around her viewpoint in a credible way. The very subject of that film was interwoven with that protagonist's outlook. In this new film, I think the remove from the titular wife keeps the film from being both intellectually and emotionally satisfying in equal measure––as I feel To the Ends of the Earth was. Coupled with that are the other distantiating effects––like the interlacing, and, in this case, Kurosawa's regular mis en scene––and a length and lack of forward narrative motion that really makes it hard to get involved in this film. To the Ends of the Earth succeeds in every way this film falls short; but that movie was genuinely beautiful, and, even though it's protagonist is really all kinds of messed-up and genuinely unappealing, she ended up so much more involving, and her journey through that film ended up, I think, meaning a lot more, as a result.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#138 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:04 am

Has Ends of the Earth ever surfaced in any legally (and conveniently) viewable manner?

I'm looking forward to seeing Wife of a Spy (assuming it ever shows up anywhere that I can see it), flawed or not.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#139 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:20 am

feihong wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:54 am
SpoilerShow
My impression is that the hysteria Satoko succumbs to is meant to carry on and grow throughout the film. But the earlier sections of the film don't really offer any sense of it. Her jealousy emerges mostly in a single scene, and it is immediately quelled when her husband reveals to her he's a spy.
SpoilerShow
I didn’t read the intent behind her development that way at all- the film is much more effective for refusing to go in a unidirectional linear path of mistrust or hysteria. Satoko suffers an impulsive bout of jealousy and paranoia, and then in spite of a part of her now sober to the insecurity inherent in the ideological connotation coating the bond of marriage, she opts to trust her husband again. It’s a film about faith, not in a higher power of God but a higher power in strong energy between people- and the tragedy of what happens when that’s revealed to be a mirage. This worked best for me as a devastating atheist film where God is the sanctity of love.
I didn’t think the film worked too well either, but because the concept of marital trust is so enigmatic, I thought Kurosawa was perfectly suited to the material. His greatest strength, as I see it, is an ability to pick at the scabs of our psychological and philosophical defenses and leave the open wound as an enigma without ointment, but still watching over it with care rather than abandoning us like several other more provocative or condescending filmmakers.

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#140 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:45 pm

feihong wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:54 am
The first thing that struck me on seeing Wife of a Spy was how shitty it looked. The version I saw appeared to be interlaced. It made the movie look like old "Masterpiece Theater" broadcasts––a kind of clammy look which, just as in this movie, made the period detail appear a cheap add-on rather than an integral part of the dramatic atmosphere. I read someone on Letterboxd insisting this video quality was part of the general theme of artifice in the movie, but if that's so, I don't think it worked, because I found it hugely distracting throughout the movie.
I haven't seen the full movie, but from the clips I've seen I'd say it looks like, well, Japanese TV, which is what it is. (Maybe there's a pronounced difference for the five or six people who are able to watch it in 8K as intended.) The theatrical version supposedly underwent some additional work to make it look more like a "conventional" movie, and that's borne out by the trailer, which runs at the traditional 24fps as opposed to the 60fps of the TV version and looks a bit less jarring as a result. (Actually the trailer for the TV version is 30fps but frame-doubled to 60 for some reason—not sure if that's how it was actually broadcast or if it's just a weird bug with the Youtube video.) But it's definitely not a frame rate issue alone, since I would've guessed from the theatrical trailer that this was a made-for-TV production; I don't have the knowledge or vocabulary to describe it, but there's something off about the lighting, and the sets (again, bearing in mind I'm just going off a few minutes of footage here) look like sets rather than lived-in spaces. Some of the street scenes in particular scream "studio backlot."
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:04 am
Has Ends of the Earth ever surfaced in any legally (and conveniently) viewable manner?
It's still in its virtual cinema run in the U.S. Unfortunately KimStim has really slowed the pace of their physical releases and I fear they aren't doing Blu-rays at all anymore—they haven't released any since late 2019 and Dumont's Joan of Arc comes out this week on DVD only, even though Jeannette got a Blu edition as well.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#141 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:23 pm

Fanciful Norwegian -- It sort of looks to me like the virtual screenings of Ends of the Earth are all long gone. Trigon has it -- but it can't be watched in the USA.

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#142 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:58 pm

It's still available, you can click the "Watch Now" link to rent it directly from KimStim or find a list of its current "venues" on their VHX site.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#143 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:06 pm

The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:58 pm
It's still available, you can click the "Watch Now" link to rent it directly from KimStim or find a list of its current "venues" on their VHX site.
Looks like the Brattle has this. Do you know whether Kimstim's virtual theatre works with Chromecast?

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#144 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:22 pm

It does, the VHX player has its own button for it but it can also be cast using the standard browser function.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#145 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:55 pm

Thanks again!

User avatar
dadaistnun
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:31 am

Re: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

#146 Post by dadaistnun » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:02 pm

If you weren't able to watch this via one of the theater-affiliated virtual screenings, KimStim now has their own "screening room" where you can rent To the Ends of the Earth (the 115 cut of Bright Future is available there, too, btw).

Post Reply