Kenji Mizoguchi

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Trees
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#276 Post by Trees » Tue May 10, 2016 11:01 pm

I just finished the fantastic documentary Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975). I found this documentary deeply informative and fascinating. The interviewer, whose grunting affirmations are hilariously Japanese, managed to sit down and have serious, insightful, often amusing conversations with nearly ever major player in Mizoguchi's career, including Yoda and Tanaka. The picture that emerges is one of an obsessed, hard-working perfectionist, with deep desires to create meaningful art. Mizoguchi was shy and bashful in private, a intimidating taskmaster on the set, a hard drinker who could be reckless after hours (he was knifed by a hooker), and a director who fell in love with his leading lady,
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but never had the courage to tell her
.

Documentaries like this teach us not only about the filmmakers we admire, but about the film industry and societies of the time. For Mizoguchi fans who have not yet seen it, you are in for an amazing treat. I cannot recommend this documentary enough.

It is available on youtube and on the Region 1 Criterion Collection release of Ugetsu (1953).

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#277 Post by ando » Thu May 12, 2016 2:11 am

Yeah, just wanted to second that high rating of the Mizoguchi doc. I've only watched it once many years ago but I remember it being one of the most unusually revealing psychological portraits of a filmmaker that I'd ever seen up to that point. And, really, no film has equalled it in terms of research and scope with regard to the filmmaker and his times. (There is an exceptional one on Fassbinder that comes with the Berlin Alexanderplatz set but it's one of a handful of conventional narrative docs that successfully compare to the Mizoguchi film.)

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#278 Post by Trees » Thu May 12, 2016 2:21 am

The fact that the doc was made back in the mid 1970s is great, also, because nearly all of his contemporaries were still around to speak about him.

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#279 Post by ando » Mon May 16, 2016 6:29 pm

Born today in 1898 Mizoguchi is the subject of a career overview and the obligatory top ten treatment over at sensesofcinema.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#280 Post by swo17 » Mon May 16, 2016 6:33 pm

ando wrote:the obligatory top ten treatment over at sensesofcinema
Ha, isn't that Naruse in their lead image?

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knives
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#281 Post by knives » Mon May 16, 2016 6:49 pm

Yes.

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nosy lena
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#282 Post by nosy lena » Mon May 16, 2016 9:00 pm

Is that list supposed to be reversed?

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#283 Post by theflirtydozen » Mon May 16, 2016 9:18 pm

Think you meant Taste of Cinema... Senses of Cinema is actually good.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#284 Post by Werewolf by Night » Mon May 16, 2016 9:18 pm

They appear to be arranged chronologically. Never heard of this site, TASTE of Cinema, before. Looks like a 2005 Blogspot blog.

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Trees
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#285 Post by Trees » Mon May 16, 2016 9:36 pm

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I'm just teasing, ando! :D

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ando
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#286 Post by ando » Tue May 17, 2016 5:36 pm

Oh, yeah I saw the Naruse pic. Probably the editor's mistake. But it is SENSES. 8-[

Rewatching Five Women Around Utamaro tonight. Still my favorite Mizoguchi. And the more I learn about his personal life it seems the one film closest to his own creative life.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#287 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 17, 2016 7:19 pm

Utamaro is defiunitely one of Mizoguchi's "underappreciated" films. ;-)

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#288 Post by Trees » Wed May 18, 2016 2:02 am

What is the best version available now for "Five Women Around Utamaro"? Is it available streaming anywhere? Amazon, Netflix, etc?

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#289 Post by rockysds » Wed May 18, 2016 2:06 am

Artificial Eye's Mizoguchi blu-ray box, I'm fairly certain.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#290 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed May 18, 2016 4:43 pm

rockysds wrote:Artificial Eye's Mizoguchi blu-ray box, I'm fairly certain.
How much better is the Blu-Ray version than the DVD one (unless one has an immense screen)?

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#291 Post by ando » Wed May 18, 2016 5:43 pm

rockysds wrote:Artificial Eye's Mizoguchi blu-ray box, I'm fairly certain.
Oh yeah. I've only ever owned a vhs copy (of Utamaro) and the blu-ray box set. Needless to say, there's a great deal of difference between these versions. DVD Beaver has an adequate write-up/comparison page dedicated to the box set.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#292 Post by ando » Thu May 19, 2016 12:57 am

Ugetsu tonight. Always an event, isn't it?

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#293 Post by Trees » Thu May 19, 2016 1:16 am

ando wrote:Ugetsu tonight. Always an event, isn't it?
I got food poisoning and missed the new UGETSU restoration screening at Cannes. To rub salt in the wound, I found out later that Scorsese himself introduced the film with a long talk about its restoration. :cry:

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#294 Post by ando » Thu May 19, 2016 1:49 am

Wow. Sorry to hear that. One of the original posters from its premier at The Venice Film Festival -
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full image

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#295 Post by Trees » Thu May 19, 2016 2:05 am

I'm hoping maybe someone video'd Scorsese's intro and will upload it. On the positive side, I heard that the restoration of Ugetsu is phenomenal! Image quality "pristine".

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Roscoe
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#296 Post by Roscoe » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:03 pm

TCM ran 47 RONIN the other night, and it looked significantly improved over the screen caps I've seen of other releases of the film. There was a Janus logo at the top -- does this augur a possible Criterion or Eclips release?

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#297 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:04 pm

It's been forthcoming from Criterion for years, no clue when it will actually materialize though!

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#298 Post by DeprongMori » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:14 pm

The 47 Ronin has been available on Hulu Plus under the Criterion listings for quite some time.

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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#299 Post by Donald Trampoline » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:47 pm

Is there any good writing on the 47 Ronin in print? Looking for historical background of its making (analyzing the war/politics of the time). Or like a great Mizoguchi book (is there one?) that may have a chapter or few good pages on this.

Saw it on FilmStruck. Was great! It's sooo different in subject matter than the more obscure MoC ones I just watched a bunch of, but still really good. Long film.

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Gregory
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Re: Kenji Mizoguchi

#300 Post by Gregory » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:31 pm

Try Darrell William Davis, Picturing Japaneseness

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