“The one thing that really struck me about The Hidden Fortress, was the fact that the story was told from the [perspective of] the two lowest characters. I decided that would be a nice way to tell the Star Wars story, which was to take the two lowest characters, as Kurosawa did, and tell the story from their point of view, which in the Star Wars case is the two droids.””George Lucas, 2001
Well. Hell. What more can I say?
Welcome to Japanese Cinema!
Your mission should you choose to accept: We’ll cover 10 films from the cinematic world of Japan, from myth to mythic, fact to fiction. While the West has taken on the mantle of Marvel, Japan continues to explore new territory, preserving the past with such titles as Shin Godzilla, and exploring new frontiers with the likes of Ringu, Battle Royale, and Tampopo. This brilliant industry paved the foundation of what became such treasures as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars, and new wave of American animation. The list goes on.
Despite having a 120+ year history, beginning in the late 1890s, little is known of 日本映画 (Nihon Eiga) aka 邦画 (hōga, “domestic film”) outside the heartwarming and strange genre of anime or thrilling monster flicks. And I hate to break it to you but Godzilla, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, and Miyazaki, these are not the only films coming out of Japan! But it’s not our fault. We don’t ask the questions we simply don’t have the language to ask and frankly the fact that Hollywood does little to expose the West to World Cinema is one of the greater disservices of modern art. This limited exposure obfuscates one of the world’s most rewarding, culturally diverse (sometimes perversely racist), and proactive mediums and it’s my hope to share the pleasures, rewards, and heartache that accompany each film respectively.
From mind-bending soundtracks, to colorful displays of affection. From slapstick “ramen westerns” to various period pieces. From slash-em bash-em samurai flicks to the monster and super hero films that arguable inspired the world as we know it. Addressing such age-old questions as:
What is reality?
Did George Lucas rip-off Japanese Cinema in the production of Star Wars?
And more on point:
What is Bunka Eiga
What the hell is with those costumes? The charades? Could this all be for nothing?
What is Kubuki?
What is reality? Again, really, tell me!
I’m looking forward to your feedback and would love to know if any of you out there are interested in the subject because I would absolutely love to take this journey with you. Alternatively, give me a big thumbs down if I’m beating a dead horse because… sometimes I tend to wander aimlessly down rabbit holes. But I figure that if you’re going to join me in this journey across the Floating World, then we best start from a point of familiarity, before diving into the deep past.
10 Films. 10 Weeks. Asynchronous if you wish, for I’ll deliver these beauties weekly, postage paid. Should you choose to join me all you need to do is sign up, I’ll deliver more information on that presently, and you can sit back and enjoy a new film delivered to your mailbox every Sunday for 10 weeks. Additional content will include a breakdown of each film with an attached program explaining, to the best of my knowledge, the significance, importance, and value of the film in question.
I promise you this will be worth your time!
So what will it be? Yes, No? Yea, Nea? はい (hai), or a big resounding いいえ (iie)?
Sign Up below or on Patreon “Japanese Cinema: A 10-Part Choose Your Own Adventure in Subtitles!”