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Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited epub download

by Catherine Russell


Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited will be a stylish companion when you watch DVDs of these filmmakers and . Catherine Russell offers a refreshing reconsideration of classic works of Japanese Cinema from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited will be a stylish companion when you watch DVDs of these filmmakers and a significant textbook for introductory courses on Japanese cinema. Daisuke Miyao, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Oregon, and author of Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom. Japanese Classical Cinema Revisited sends us back to a set of great films we have begun to take for granted.

Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese canon, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics

Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese canon, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics.

Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited. To read this book, upload an EPUB or FB2 file to Bookmate.

Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese can, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics.

Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese canon, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics

Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese canon, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics

Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited. Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited.

Catherine Russell's highly accessible book approaches Japanese cinema as an industry closely modeled on Hollywood, focusing on the classical period - those years in which the studio system dominated all film production in Japan, from roughly 1930 to 1960. Respectful and thoroughly informed about the aesthetics and critical values of the Japanese canon, Russell is also critical of some of its ideological tendencies, and her analyses provide new insights on class and gender dynamics. Russell locates Japanese cinema within a global system of reception, and she highlights the importance of the industrial production context of these films.

Including studies of landmark films by Ozu, Kurosawa and other directors, this book provides a perfect introduction to a crucial and often misunderstood area of Japanese cultural output. With a critical approach that highlights the "everydayness" of Japanese studio-era cinema, Catherine Russell demystifies the canon of great Japanese cinema, treating it with fewer auteurist and Orientalist assumptions than many other scholars and critics.

Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited epub download

ISBN13: 978-1441133274

ISBN: 1441133275

Author: Catherine Russell

Category: Other

Subcategory: Humanities

Language: English

Publisher: Continuum; 1st edition (June 16, 2011)

Pages: 192 pages

ePUB size: 1506 kb

FB2 size: 1652 kb

Rating: 4.1

Votes: 996

Other Formats: lrf rtf mbr txt

Related to Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited ePub books

Uriel
The book provides four eloquently measured appraisals of the four big names in canonical Japanese cinema: Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, and Naruse. Add to this an intro chapter based around one nice if not too controversial idea (that these works should be considered a "classical cinema" in something of the same vein as classical Hollywood cinema), and a final chapter on war films that feels slight and tacked on. Each chapter makes a great introduction to the respective director's works, and I particularly appreciated Russell's attention to gender issues in Japanese studio filmmaking of the time, her attention to each film's soundtrack, and her effortless unravelling of the "auteur" framework through engagement with the contributions of cast and crew.

At the same time, I felt rather misled upon discovering that the book is largely a collection of barely-rewritten DVD review essays (mainly addressing the recent Criterion Collection reissues), with routine asides to comment on the DVD extras and even the quality of the prints and packaging. There's nothing wrong with this as far as it goes - the accessible and authoritative style probably benefited from these pieces' origins in a more popular genre of writing, and in a way Russell's extensive use of the DVD interviews as primary source material makes for a vivid demonstration of the value of DVD bonus materials - but the packaging certainly led me to expect a book with more original research involved. Looking back at the title now, it is clear "Japanese Cinema Revisited" has less to do with critical reinterpretation (what I first assumed) and more about 'revisiting' these films on DVD. In this sense the book feels at times like an advertisement for the DVD editions - or at least it often made me want to go out and watch all the bonus materials she describes! If the packaging was a little more honest about what this book consists of (and I realize it is probably the publisher more than the author at fault here), I could recommend this book with no reservations as a great introduction to these "classical" works and their afterlife on disc.
Uriel
The book provides four eloquently measured appraisals of the four big names in canonical Japanese cinema: Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, and Naruse. Add to this an intro chapter based around one nice if not too controversial idea (that these works should be considered a "classical cinema" in something of the same vein as classical Hollywood cinema), and a final chapter on war films that feels slight and tacked on. Each chapter makes a great introduction to the respective director's works, and I particularly appreciated Russell's attention to gender issues in Japanese studio filmmaking of the time, her attention to each film's soundtrack, and her effortless unravelling of the "auteur" framework through engagement with the contributions of cast and crew.

At the same time, I felt rather misled upon discovering that the book is largely a collection of barely-rewritten DVD review essays (mainly addressing the recent Criterion Collection reissues), with routine asides to comment on the DVD extras and even the quality of the prints and packaging. There's nothing wrong with this as far as it goes - the accessible and authoritative style probably benefited from these pieces' origins in a more popular genre of writing, and in a way Russell's extensive use of the DVD interviews as primary source material makes for a vivid demonstration of the value of DVD bonus materials - but the packaging certainly led me to expect a book with more original research involved. Looking back at the title now, it is clear "Japanese Cinema Revisited" has less to do with critical reinterpretation (what I first assumed) and more about 'revisiting' these films on DVD. In this sense the book feels at times like an advertisement for the DVD editions - or at least it often made me want to go out and watch all the bonus materials she describes! If the packaging was a little more honest about what this book consists of (and I realize it is probably the publisher more than the author at fault here), I could recommend this book with no reservations as a great introduction to these "classical" works and their afterlife on disc.
Hǻrley Quinn
Barely three stars. English-language publications addressing the Japanese cinema (or any flavor of cinema for that matter) would seem to target one (or more) of three broad readership categories: those who follow the "popular press" (including Web sites and blogs); the "general reader" of books; and academic and scholarly readers. The author and publisher of this volume appear to be trying to cover the last two categories which is no easy task. General readers and academic scholars exist on two fairly different levels. This review will address matters from a general reader's perspective, since it is likely that this category is by far the larger of the two. Scholars will most likely see things differently.

Lawyers have their legalize. Politicians have their code words and phrases. Software engineers have their computer languages. And, of course, film scholars have their own specialized language for publishing in professional journals (perhaps mostly read/understood by their peers, and students in film schools). But when publishing a book (and a pretty thin one at that--only 171 pages) in the paperback "popular press" that seems trying to target a broad audience of readers, pedantic writing becomes a non-starter. Sadly, this is what confronts many/most readers of CLASSICAL JAPANESE CINEMA REVISITED outside of academia (not surprisingly, all the glowing reviews quoted on the back cover are from academicians). Nonetheless, there are some gems buried amongst all the verbosity.

The term "classical" is defined in this volume as films "produced during the (Japanese) studio era" circa 1930 - 1960. Excluding documentaries (with which the author fills up a fair amount of space reviewing), the book addresses in depth only 14 films (it gives passing mention to a number of others) directed by only seven Japanese: Ichikawa (2 films analyzed; 0 otherwise mentioned); Ichikawa (2;2); Kobayashi (1;0); Kurosawa/Mifune* (0;30); Mizoguchi (2;1); Naruse (4;10); and Ozu (5;4). The author tries to justify such a truncated selection of directors (and films reviewed) on the basis of popularity polls published in KINEMA JUNPO. The path taken would seem to belie the all encompassing title of the book. This is not the classical Japanese cinema, but bits and pieces extracted from the individual cinemas of a few "classical" Japanese directors (and at least one "semi-classical" American director). Further, the book appears to be limited to armchair analysis. The author seems to depend on films selected and versions of films decided upon by others and released on video disc (see below) rather than drawing on original research. There is scant evidence of ferreting out and searching through private/public achieves globally to study films (and versions of films) not otherwise available. (* Actor Toshiro Mifune is often given "equal billing" in the book with Akira Kurosawa, which seems appropriate given their extreme interdependency.)

It would appear that only the "bookends" (i.e., PREFACE and CONCLUSION) are newly written. The rest of the sections are retreads (with a bit of tinkering) from previous publications (hence, the REVISITED part of the title). Starting with the first chapter, the reader's comprehension may be severely challenged without access to an unabridged dictionary (some of my favorite terms: "hagiographic" and "phantasmagoria"). Throughout the book, the author vacillates between concise (and in-depth) examination of selected films per se and evaluating the directors on the basis of a cannon subset of films and the opinions of others. Depth of analyses of individual films varies, but is usually quite well done. For example, Kobayashi's THE HUMAN CONDITION is carefully examined (all nearly 600 minutes of it when combined from three films). Also the contrast between Ozu's silent A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS and it's remake FLOATING WEEDS completed some 25 years later is considered in some detail. Four films by Naruse are closely examined (no other director receives such attention by the author) and form the de facto critical core of the book: FLOATING CLOUDS; REPAST; SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN; and WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS. The analyses of Ichikawa's THE BURMESE HARP and FIRES ON THE PLAN are especially moving and among the best in the book.

The author frequently brings to the reader's attention: the impact of the chaotic Japanese culture of the mid 20th Century on films and vice versa; and how films from the mid 20th Century provide a reflection AND a distortion of contemporary Japanese life. For example, Mizoguchi's tendency to distort contemporary reality (as in TALES OF MOONLIGHT AND RAIN) is underscored. The author seems to be emphasizing how well Ozu captured contemporary Japanese culture (although Ozu really existed in worlds of his own making which reflected as well as distorted then current Japanese life styles). Brought to the reader's attention is Naruse's habit of blending limited location shots on Tokyo streets with extensive and meticulous recreation of the same neighborhoods in the studio (with the notable exception of THE DESCENDANTS OF TARO URASHIMA which was shot on location in destroyed parts of Tokyo). Sort of like addressing the flourishing urban environments of then-current Japanese levels of life by proxy (perhaps carried to extremes in Naruse's WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS). The author, however, ignores what is arguably the most significant factor in 20th Century Japanese life ever reflected in a classical Japanese film: Kurosawa depiction of Japan's "Iron Triangle" in THE BAD SLEEP WELL (filmed in the midst of physical threats to the Director according to rumors of the time). The Iron Triangle accounted mightily for Japan's spectacular economic rise from WWII devastation as well as the country's subsequent descent into decades of deflation. It is a label often applied by economists to the inclusivity of Japanese business relationships consisting of a cabal of government ministry bureaucrats, a major financial institution, and a large corporate monopoly whereby each is in the pockets of the others. (It still plays a not insignificant role in Japan's economy today.)

As for author's dissection of directors, it's based mostly on conjecture/speculation by just about everyone (especially film scholars in academia, associates of the directors, contemporary critics [past and present], and, of course, the author) with relatively little heard directly from the directors themselves (except for the long-lived Kurosawa in documentaries). (The book would have been far thinner if the conjecture of others had been minimized/eliminated.)

(Side Bar: A tangential, but nonetheless, fascinating thread dealing with the issue of "Japaneseness" is woven throughout the author's chapter on Kurosawa. Japaneseness remains a deep-routed cultural factor in Japan; it may help explain--at least in part--the general lack of interest by major Japanese producers in releasing films in Western countries beyond showings at film festivals.)

The author also likes to wander between reviewing films and reviewing the packages the video discs come in including supplemental materials such as documentaries, as mentioned above. Most are on the Criterion label. The place for package content analysis (including art design) would seem to belong in something like "CLASSICAL CRITERION CONTENTS REVISITED."

The book has a table of contents, but not an index (which might have been sizable given all the speculative to-ing and fro-ing by the author). However, the volume is so thin (as previously noted) that the lack of an index is no big deal. "Footnote" numbers appear from time to time in the text, but the notes do not appear at the bottom of relevant pages. They are clumped together at the back of the volume (as "backnotes"). A pain for the careful reader. A limited, but excellent, glossary is included that is especially helpful when trying to decipher what the author is writing about. (It may also add a few new words/phrases to your Japanese vocabulary.)

Many of the photos mixed in with the text are hard to make out. Sometimes little/nothing can be discerned. All are extremely small, and just about all are on the dark side. The only truly discernible photo appears the front cover. It's credited as being from Naruse's FLOWING which is not reviewed in the book. Go figure!

To be fair, it should be noted that the author admits (in the INTRODUCTION) that this book is not meant to be a history nor a comprehensive representation of the classical Japanese cinema. But with few English-language books in print or otherwise readily available that tackle this subject matter, it's worth a read (and you will get to bulk up your esoteric word vocabulary!). WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
Hǻrley Quinn
Barely three stars. English-language publications addressing the Japanese cinema (or any flavor of cinema for that matter) would seem to target one (or more) of three broad readership categories: those who follow the "popular press" (including Web sites and blogs); the "general reader" of books; and academic and scholarly readers. The author and publisher of this volume appear to be trying to cover the last two categories which is no easy task. General readers and academic scholars exist on two fairly different levels. This review will address matters from a general reader's perspective, since it is likely that this category is by far the larger of the two. Scholars will most likely see things differently.

Lawyers have their legalize. Politicians have their code words and phrases. Software engineers have their computer languages. And, of course, film scholars have their own specialized language for publishing in professional journals (perhaps mostly read/understood by their peers, and students in film schools). But when publishing a book (and a pretty thin one at that--only 171 pages) in the paperback "popular press" that seems trying to target a broad audience of readers, pedantic writing becomes a non-starter. Sadly, this is what confronts many/most readers of CLASSICAL JAPANESE CINEMA REVISITED outside of academia (not surprisingly, all the glowing reviews quoted on the back cover are from academicians). Nonetheless, there are some gems buried amongst all the verbosity.

The term "classical" is defined in this volume as films "produced during the (Japanese) studio era" circa 1930 - 1960. Excluding documentaries (with which the author fills up a fair amount of space reviewing), the book addresses in depth only 14 films (it gives passing mention to a number of others) directed by only seven Japanese: Ichikawa (2 films analyzed; 0 otherwise mentioned); Ichikawa (2;2); Kobayashi (1;0); Kurosawa/Mifune* (0;30); Mizoguchi (2;1); Naruse (4;10); and Ozu (5;4). The author tries to justify such a truncated selection of directors (and films reviewed) on the basis of popularity polls published in KINEMA JUNPO. The path taken would seem to belie the all encompassing title of the book. This is not the classical Japanese cinema, but bits and pieces extracted from the individual cinemas of a few "classical" Japanese directors (and at least one "semi-classical" American director). Further, the book appears to be limited to armchair analysis. The author seems to depend on films selected and versions of films decided upon by others and released on video disc (see below) rather than drawing on original research. There is scant evidence of ferreting out and searching through private/public achieves globally to study films (and versions of films) not otherwise available. (* Actor Toshiro Mifune is often given "equal billing" in the book with Akira Kurosawa, which seems appropriate given their extreme interdependency.)

It would appear that only the "bookends" (i.e., PREFACE and CONCLUSION) are newly written. The rest of the sections are retreads (with a bit of tinkering) from previous publications (hence, the REVISITED part of the title). Starting with the first chapter, the reader's comprehension may be severely challenged without access to an unabridged dictionary (some of my favorite terms: "hagiographic" and "phantasmagoria"). Throughout the book, the author vacillates between concise (and in-depth) examination of selected films per se and evaluating the directors on the basis of a cannon subset of films and the opinions of others. Depth of analyses of individual films varies, but is usually quite well done. For example, Kobayashi's THE HUMAN CONDITION is carefully examined (all nearly 600 minutes of it when combined from three films). Also the contrast between Ozu's silent A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS and it's remake FLOATING WEEDS completed some 25 years later is considered in some detail. Four films by Naruse are closely examined (no other director receives such attention by the author) and form the de facto critical core of the book: FLOATING CLOUDS; REPAST; SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN; and WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS. The analyses of Ichikawa's THE BURMESE HARP and FIRES ON THE PLAN are especially moving and among the best in the book.

The author frequently brings to the reader's attention: the impact of the chaotic Japanese culture of the mid 20th Century on films and vice versa; and how films from the mid 20th Century provide a reflection AND a distortion of contemporary Japanese life. For example, Mizoguchi's tendency to distort contemporary reality (as in TALES OF MOONLIGHT AND RAIN) is underscored. The author seems to be emphasizing how well Ozu captured contemporary Japanese culture (although Ozu really existed in worlds of his own making which reflected as well as distorted then current Japanese life styles). Brought to the reader's attention is Naruse's habit of blending limited location shots on Tokyo streets with extensive and meticulous recreation of the same neighborhoods in the studio (with the notable exception of THE DESCENDANTS OF TARO URASHIMA which was shot on location in destroyed parts of Tokyo). Sort of like addressing the flourishing urban environments of then-current Japanese levels of life by proxy (perhaps carried to extremes in Naruse's WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS). The author, however, ignores what is arguably the most significant factor in 20th Century Japanese life ever reflected in a classical Japanese film: Kurosawa depiction of Japan's "Iron Triangle" in THE BAD SLEEP WELL (filmed in the midst of physical threats to the Director according to rumors of the time). The Iron Triangle accounted mightily for Japan's spectacular economic rise from WWII devastation as well as the country's subsequent descent into decades of deflation. It is a label often applied by economists to the inclusivity of Japanese business relationships consisting of a cabal of government ministry bureaucrats, a major financial institution, and a large corporate monopoly whereby each is in the pockets of the others. (It still plays a not insignificant role in Japan's economy today.)

As for author's dissection of directors, it's based mostly on conjecture/speculation by just about everyone (especially film scholars in academia, associates of the directors, contemporary critics [past and present], and, of course, the author) with relatively little heard directly from the directors themselves (except for the long-lived Kurosawa in documentaries). (The book would have been far thinner if the conjecture of others had been minimized/eliminated.)

(Side Bar: A tangential, but nonetheless, fascinating thread dealing with the issue of "Japaneseness" is woven throughout the author's chapter on Kurosawa. Japaneseness remains a deep-routed cultural factor in Japan; it may help explain--at least in part--the general lack of interest by major Japanese producers in releasing films in Western countries beyond showings at film festivals.)

The author also likes to wander between reviewing films and reviewing the packages the video discs come in including supplemental materials such as documentaries, as mentioned above. Most are on the Criterion label. The place for package content analysis (including art design) would seem to belong in something like "CLASSICAL CRITERION CONTENTS REVISITED."

The book has a table of contents, but not an index (which might have been sizable given all the speculative to-ing and fro-ing by the author). However, the volume is so thin (as previously noted) that the lack of an index is no big deal. "Footnote" numbers appear from time to time in the text, but the notes do not appear at the bottom of relevant pages. They are clumped together at the back of the volume (as "backnotes"). A pain for the careful reader. A limited, but excellent, glossary is included that is especially helpful when trying to decipher what the author is writing about. (It may also add a few new words/phrases to your Japanese vocabulary.)

Many of the photos mixed in with the text are hard to make out. Sometimes little/nothing can be discerned. All are extremely small, and just about all are on the dark side. The only truly discernible photo appears the front cover. It's credited as being from Naruse's FLOWING which is not reviewed in the book. Go figure!

To be fair, it should be noted that the author admits (in the INTRODUCTION) that this book is not meant to be a history nor a comprehensive representation of the classical Japanese cinema. But with few English-language books in print or otherwise readily available that tackle this subject matter, it's worth a read (and you will get to bulk up your esoteric word vocabulary!). WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
Ranterl
My son is 19 and loves this book.
Ranterl
My son is 19 and loves this book.