Kiyoshi Kurosawa

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yoshimori
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#26 Post by yoshimori » Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:01 pm

Michael wrote:Pulse left me feeling the same way... how the world suddenly turns bleak and empty

Suddenly? People start disappearing in the first third of Pulse. Newscasts are a stream of missing persons reports, and there's virtually no one on the streets of Tokyo - or in the video arcade, e.g. - in the second half of the film. It's certainly bleak, too, from the very start. No?

Of course, though, it does share with L'eclisse the sense of interpersonal alienation you write about.

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Michael
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#27 Post by Michael » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:37 pm

Suddenly? People start disappearing in the first third of Pulse. Newscasts are a stream of missing persons reports, and there's virtually no one on the streets of Tokyo - or in the video arcade, e.g. - in the second half of the film. It's certainly bleak, too, from the very start. No?

Yes but that didn't hit me completely until when the couple took the eerily empty train close to the end.

Pulse is thoroughly bleak however during the first half, the film deceivedly got me thinking I was watching a typical ghost story without realizing that it had a totally different meaning behind.

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#28 Post by blindside8zao » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:51 am

I was very perturbed by the way this film was sold. I was really expecting some straight up J-horror tonight, exactly how the DVD sold it. Obviously the film is confusing, but I found it to be a somewhat interesting thing to watch while I happened to be reading the Myth of Sisyphus. The first 40 minutes really had me sold on that J-horror thing then it flew out the window. It is really something, though. I'm not so sure I'm ready to exalt it so high, but it is a different kind of bird. I need to give it another viewing, knowing what I now know of it.

Interesting that you said that about L'Eclisse, because the shot of the woman right when you notice the woman on the factory tower, that shot made me think Antonioni, compositionally (the large woman's face in the foreground, the sky, and the looming tower in the back.)

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#29 Post by putney » Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:10 am

If you can find it, and it def. is available cheaply on e-bay, I recommend "Eye of the Spider" which is my favorite of his. the dvd has subtitles. one of my other favorites is "Barren Illusions." It's almost asking for it, but K. Kurosawa is easily my favorite director working in the last ten years.

An interesting companion to "Eye of the Spider" is "Serpent's Path", it is def. a companion piece. For me, it is disappointing to see him continually framed in the states as a "j-horror" or whatever, director. it sets up expectations, which he confounds of course, but I personally think it is of no use to give the impression that he is working "in" the genre, which he does, but it's how he uses the conventions that are so interesting, and really only part of what is so interesting about him to me. (to me, he works with genre conventions in ways like John Boorman's "Point Blank" for example, does..)

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Len
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#30 Post by Len » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:47 am

Trailers for the American remake of Kairo/Pulse.

That looks just unbelievably awful.

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dadaistnun
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#31 Post by dadaistnun » Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:42 pm

Loft is out on dvd in Japan February 9; no subtitles, though.

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#32 Post by denti alligator » Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:13 pm

I finally watched Pulse the other night and found parts of it really incredible (the way the ghosts slooowly appear out of the pitch darkness), but on the whole couldn't quite swallow what appeared to be an overly simplistic "message" (technology brings us closer and yet we're lonlier than ever), mainly because it was just that: too simple and unoriginal. I also found the plot kind of "corny," for lack of a better word: the "other world" is apparently full, so spirits are seeping into ours (but they're only creating more spirits by killing those they come in contact with?).

Anyway, perhaps I was in a bad mood (I was), but since a lot of you whose opinions I respect value this film highly, I'd like to pick your brains as to why. Plus, I do want to watch it again, if only to show my wife those incredibly creepy scenes when the spirits emerge from the darkness in seeming slow motion.

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Michael Kerpan
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#33 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:05 pm

KK is almost entirely about using images (and sound) to evoke moods (and to do things that are neat). I see the plots as being little more than skeletons for KK to hang interesting things on. I don't see anything deeply philosophical about any of his work (and that's fine with me).

I don't think the "philosophical" content of "Charisma" is of much significance (even assuming it is there). I imagine KK enjoys seeing people try to generate all sorts of complex explanations. But I am more than content to enjoy the images and moods -- and not worry about taking the stories seriously (or search for "deeper" meanings).

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#34 Post by putney » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:17 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:KK is almost entirely about using images (and sound) to evoke moods (and to do things that are neat). I see the plots as being little more than skeletons for KK to hang interesting things on. I don't see anything deeply philosophical about any of his work (and that's fine with me).

Sorry to be argumentative, but if you take that apprach to his films, i seriously suggest you are not seeing his films at all. his films have a lot , lot more going on in them that what appears on the surface, or even initial, 2nd, 3rd rethinking of their content. the plots are NOT skeletons, but are incredible insightful reflections on what can be said with filmmaking and filmmaking itself. there is a deep thread of film history in his films which can be unpacked over time, like a carton filled with packing peanuts.

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#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:53 am

putney wrote:Sorry to be argumentative, but if you take that apprach to his films, i seriously suggest you are not seeing his films at all.

With all due respect -- why don't you continue to enjoy his films in YOUR fashion and allow me to continue to enjoy them in mine. Those I have seen, I have enjoyed immensely -- and my enjoyment would not be enhanced one bit by reading deep philosophical meanings into them. Reading meanings into films is a job for English professors (and the like) -- and it is not a task I am interested in undertaking.

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#36 Post by putney » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:03 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:With all due respect -- why don't you continue to enjoy his films in YOUR fashion and allow me to continue to enjoy them in mine. Those I have seen, I have enjoyed immensely -- and my enjoyment would not be enhanced one bit by reading deep philosophical meanings into them. Reading meanings into films is a job for English professors (and the like) -- and it is not a task I am interested in undertaking.

Sorry, I wasn't clear... I am of course fine with you enjoying them in any way you like. what I mean is that because you enjoy them that way does not mean that the other way is being "read into" it by others. They are there, they are part of Kurosawa's films, the way he thinks about films, and his manner of making films. They are not the abstract playing ground of "intellectuals." Any way of enjoying is fine, but not at the dismissal of other ways.

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Michael Kerpan
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#37 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:03 pm

Point me to an interview by Kurosawa in which he validates the kind of philosophical interpretations that are often imposed on his films.

Do you think a film can only be great if it is "deep"?

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#38 Post by yoshimori » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:57 pm

Like Mr Kerpan, I enjoy the Kurosawa films on a visceral level first.

I don't think his films are particularly philosophically "deep" - but I do think they work on a deep level ... if that makes sense. In other words, the philosophical question at the heart of Cure - who am I? - is not a particularly subtle one, but it is a very basic one. Similarly Charisma, with its whose-side-should-I-take,-and-does-any-of-it-really-matter-anyway question. Or Pulse's is-connection-between-humans-possible.

KK claims, in e.g. the interviews in the Mes/Sharp book, that he's "interested in the values the individual has come to embrace: for the individual to re-assess those values and understand the way in which those values he has come to embrace are in fact the forces that have come to oppress him."

Whether or not that sense comes through in his films or whether it is "deep", each can decide. [For me it does come through and, since I agree with it, I want to think it's important, if not necessarily "deep", whatever that means.] I sense that Mr Putney is seeing something else in the films, but I'm not quite sure what it is. He talks about "incredible insightful reflections on what can be said with film[m]aking and film[m]aking itself. there is a deep thread of film history in his films which can be unpacked over time", but I'm not quite sure what he means.

Perhaps he has in mind something KK said in the same interview, re Charisma. It reflects what I see in some KK films. Kurosawa says that genre is a "starting point" for "an approach":

Kiyoshi Kurosawa wrote:Film is for me a medium point between fiction and reality. You start with a genre, which is fiction, and gradually move towards reality. Somewhere in between you find film. To put it simply: I would like to make a movie like Indy Jones, but there aren't any real people like Indy Jones. That's the beginning of my filmmaking.

It seems reasonable to me to conclude from statements like these that plot is a "skeleton" (Kerpan). But I also think there's something more than "just" plot and filmmaking at work in his movies. KK's one of the few filmmakers with whom I think I'd say "I agree".

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#39 Post by denti alligator » Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:21 pm

I'd like to enjoy Pulse in the way you do, Michael, but the quasi-philosophical stuff can't just be ignored. It's not a question of reading anything into the film--the film itself presents these ideas. And unfortunately it does so in a way that seems, well, hokey, to me, and therefore it gets in the way of what the film does so well.

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#40 Post by putney » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:31 am

I'm not interested in getting into an argument, i just want to say whatever way you want to watch the films , fine, but that doesn't invalidate other ways of watching them. way a is fine, ay b is fine, way c is fine, but that doesn't excluded. And, no, i am not reading too much into them. Kurosawa has written several books on the matter, 5 or 6 at least that i can remember now, has spoken about his concerns in his own films and film history in many interviews, and as is usually the case is more revealing when he talks about other people's work.

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#41 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:47 am

yoshimori wrote:It seems reasonable to me to conclude from statements like these that plot is a "skeleton" (Kerpan). But I also think there's something more than "just" plot and filmmaking at work in his movies. KK's one of the few filmmakers with whom I think I'd say "I agree".

I believe that KK intends people to both _feel_ his films and reflect on them -- but don't believe he is trying to convey any specific philosophic message. I believe he leaves the response on the part of audience members open-ended.

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Michael
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#42 Post by Michael » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:04 am

I believe that KK intends people to both _feel_ his films and reflect on them -- but don't believe he is trying to convey any specific philosophic message. I believe he leaves the response on the part of audience members open-ended.

You couldn't say it better, Michael. After reading so many interviews, sources, etc related to KK, I don't believe that he's out to make a "philosophic" statement. Instead he makes beautiful, unique, ambiguous films, mixing different ideas, emotions and exquisite visuals that can work on any level. If you want to pull a "philosophic" statement out of Cure or Pulse or Bright Future, then go for it. KK is not stopping you from doing it. But films like Cure or Pulse can offer so much more than that to some people. It's like saying Antonioni made L'avventura to create a "philosophic" statement but the film is so much richer than that. I see KK's films in the same light.

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Michael Kerpan
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#43 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:22 am

I see the ostensible plots in KK as very, very similar to those in Rivette's films. They are necessary -- but probably the least important part of the final product.

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#44 Post by dadaistnun » Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:00 pm

Any news about Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata? The vague plot description made it sound like it could possibly be in the Bright Future mold, a direction I would very much like to see him pursue again. (I could have sworn someone posted a link a while back to a press release of sorts.)

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#45 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Aug 07, 2007 6:31 pm

Here's the pitch they presented at this year's Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum. I'm actually getting a real Time Out vibe from the plot description, although I'm sure Kurosawa would take it in a very different direction.

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#46 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:22 pm


rs98762001
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#47 Post by rs98762001 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:53 pm

The still is beautiful and the story sounds fascinating. Hoping this is a successful new direction for KK.

noelbotevera
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Kairo

#48 Post by noelbotevera » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:49 pm

I don't think it's just "the more connected you are the more alone you feel"--that's just some kind of side assertion, or corollary. Key to the movie is the discussion between Harue and Kawashima in Harue's room--he's making a metaphysical statement, a stab at guessing what life beyond our lives is like. Bleak one too, rather compelling, but only if you're into that sort of thing; the more secular of us will probably be unresponsive.

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Re: Kairo

#49 Post by rs98762001 » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:12 pm

noelbotevera wrote:...the more secular of us will probably be unresponsive.

I find that kind of a strange statement. Are you saying there is something religious/spiritual to which you're reacting, in Pulse or any of KK's works?

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#50 Post by noelbotevera » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:53 pm

Saying he's trying to say something about life after death--what it's like, what it means.

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