Monday, August 25, 2008

Kenji, Not Benji

While some clever folks are aware of Akira Kurosawa, (even barenaked ladies for that matter **), one of Japan's greatest film directors, and some might even be aware of Hiroshi Inagaki, or maybe even Masaki Kobayashi, not many folks in the western world have a clue about Kenji Mizoguchi is, so let's try and fix that. Yesterday - August 24, is the anniversary of his death. He died in 1956, back when Chevy made the coolest cars on the planet, not the Japanese. Sorry for the twisted irony, let's get back on topic. Kenji came from very humble beginnings. OK, he was really poor, unlike some most of his peers, he really had to work like a dog to even get a chance to make a film. I admire that kind of tenacity and the understanding and love of the poor is beautifully on display in a terrific Mizoguchi film called Ugetsu. Or as it is sometimes called, Ugetsu - the Tales of a Pale and Mysterious Moon after the Rain. Now what the origami does that mean? I am not going to try and unravel all the sublime pretense of Japanese flower arrangement, you Ikebana furniture Feng Shui - just do me a favor and watch the movie Ugetsu. It is really cool and it is worth your time.

** Barenaked Ladies, Week Song - Like Kurosawa I make mad films Okay I dont make films...