Mikio Naruse

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peerpee
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#101 Post by peerpee » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:34 pm

MoC will release three Mikio Naruse films in July, in a boxset. They won't be available separately (unless the boxset sells abysmally and we crack them out after a couple of years).

The MoC titles are:

SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN
MESHI/REPAST
FLOWING

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SHOCKMASTER
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#102 Post by SHOCKMASTER » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:54 pm

AHHH NICE!!!1111 Now I can finally see REPAST & SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN.

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#103 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:06 pm

Great news from MoC! Thanks! No vacation for peerpee and the rest of the MoC crew until this Naruse boxset is released, OK?

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Michael Kerpan
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#104 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:17 pm

peerpee --

superb choices. I hope this sells tons -- and you have a chance to do some more -- next year. (still at 40 N-films and holding)
Last edited by Michael Kerpan on Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Jun-Dai
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#105 Post by Jun-Dai » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:45 pm

I still haven't seen most of Naruse's major works, but I really enjoyed Anzukko. Wrote up my comments here.

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Steven H
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#106 Post by Steven H » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:01 pm

peerpee wrote:MoC will release three Mikio Naruse films in July, in a boxset.
Fantastic news, and great choices. Sound of the Mountain is the only one of these I've seen subbed, and contains extraordinarily subtle acting by Hara (in one of the best performances in her career, that I'm familiar with). The depiction of her loveless marriage can be read as a strong feminist political statement, and the father's attraction to her, as subtle as it may be, is fascinating.

Is this the first Kawabata adaptation to make it to English subtitled home video? I have yet to read the novel, but hope to soon. Meshi and Flowing are beautiful films, the latter boasting *many* great performances. I look forward to more details, and here's to hoping some interesting extras will turn up.

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#107 Post by Cinéslob » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:20 pm

peerpee wrote:MoC will release three Mikio Naruse films in July

SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN
MESHI/REPAST
FLOWING
What with this and your Flaherty boxset, you are spoiling us! Here's hoping that Criterion's rumoured Naruse boxset for next year doesn't repeat any of your titles.

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Rufus T. Firefly
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#108 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:23 am

Steven H wrote:Is this the first Kawabata adaptation to make it to english subtitled home video?
No, Shinoda's adaptation of Beauty and Sadness is available in Hong Kong with English subs.

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#109 Post by SHOCKMASTER » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:59 am

Did anybody here go to THE APPROACH OF AUTUMN and DAUGHTERS, WIVES & A MOTHER earlier tonight? I need to dwell on it a bit, but I think THE APPROACH OF AUTUMN might be one of my top favorite Naruse films that I've seen - so far. The scene were the boy & girl were at the beach together maybe enough of a reason. I think that's one of the most beautiful sequences I've ever seen.
Last edited by SHOCKMASTER on Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#110 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:38 am

I like both "Approach of Autumn" and "Daughters, Wives and Mother".

"Approach of Autumn" might be unique in Naruses' output -- in its use of children as the leads (Shimizu and Ozu do this more often). My only objection here is that Naruse had the children _talk_ too much -- and some of the dialog seemed a bit strained. Other than that -- lots of amazing stuff in this film. Not much like a Disney children's movie. ;~}

DWM had a number of nice bits, but seemed a bit too diffuse. Setsuko Hara, however, is especially lovely and charming in this.

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#111 Post by javelin » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:20 pm

leech wrote:Did anybody here go to THE APPROACHING OF AUTUMN and DAUGHTERS, WIVES & A MOTHER earlier tonight?
I was there. I loved where Approach of Autumn started - with a strong opposition between city and country, one that had infiltrated its way into children's society. I thought it meandered a bit, though, when the focus of the film fell on the young girl and her family. (Not that it was out of place - the parallels are pretty clearly made between the young boy and the young girl - but it just didn't seem as deftly handled as the first part of the film.)

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Steven H
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#112 Post by Steven H » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:18 pm

Rufus T. Firefly wrote:
Steven H wrote:Is this the first Kawabata adaptation to make it to english subtitled home video?
No, Shinoda's adaptation of Beauty and Sadness is available in Hong Kong with English subs.
Ah, thanks for reminding me. I had wiped that one from my memory due to it being a horrible excuse for a DVD.

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#113 Post by SHOCKMASTER » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:04 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:I like both "Approach of Autumn" and "Daughters, Wives and Mother".
DWM had a number of nice bits, but seemed a bit too diffuse.
To be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of DWM as a whole either.

At the Mikio Naruse retrospective last night in Berkeley, I talked to one of the heads of the film board and she said that 8 new prints of Mizoguchi films are on the way for a mini-retrospective - I'm probably suspecting these are from Janus. With the popularity of the Naruse retrospective, I can also see them bringing back some Ozu films (AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON is playing there in late March as part of the film history 50 course - tickets are available). Anyway, the films last night YEARNING and SCATTERED CLOUD were amazing as always...

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#114 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:53 pm

Talking about Scattered Clouds, I've just finished watching the unsubbed Toho DVD. What a wonderful film this is. It's one of Naruse's finest films. It's also visually beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the music from Georges Bizet's L'Arlesienne in a scene in the restaurant early in the film. Not sure why this beautiful piece of music was used for that moment in the film. (Although I'm familiar with the music from L'Arlesienne (which is available on the Leopold Stokowski's National Philharmonic Orchestra Georges Bizet Carmen & L'Arlesienne Suites recording, featuring probably the best performance of the music from Carmen), I'm not fimiliar with the story of L'Arlesienne). I hope someone will release this film on DVD with English subtitles soon.

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#115 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:48 pm

L'arlesienne involves two brothers in love with an unattainable woman (who never actually appears in the play) -- and ends with the suicide of one of them. I would assume the music was playing simply because it seemed appropriate for a restaurant of that sort at that time. ;~}

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#116 Post by artfilmfan » Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:15 am

Thanks for the L'Arlesienne information. I thought maybe Naruse was fond of Bizet's music and the use of that piece of music was his way of paying a tribute of some kind to Bizet. Oh well, my thinking was really off target :)

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#117 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:47 am

No reason to assume Naruse -- or his music team -- didn't just happen to like Bizet. But I've never read anything about Naruse's musical likes and dislikes. ;~}

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#118 Post by artfilmfan » Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:18 pm

I'll have to bang my head into a wall soon for having just discovered that I missed the 1922 film L'Arlesienne shown at the NGA yesterday. I've watched the scene in the restaurant a few more times. It seems to me that that beautiful piece of Bizet's music was used intentionally to underscore the mood of the moment depicted in that scene. The music starts as the wife begins to look at the note (is it the test result from the clinic that she's just visited?). It continues as husband and wife talk happily. It ends when the husband asks for the check. The music is perfectly timed for this scene and is well used. I've found a review of the Carmen/L'Arlesienne recording mentioned above. Highly recommended.

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#119 Post by rossbrew » Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:47 pm

Think I'll go see Flowing at the Cinematheque here in vancouver tonight...

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#120 Post by acquarello » Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:02 am

The Naruse schedule for Freer/Sackler in DC is now up too. I'm a little disappointed that except for one or two occasions, they're only scheduling one film a day in either venue, like they did for Film Forum.

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#121 Post by artfilmfan » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:33 pm

Maybe they'll show more Naruse films at the AFI Silver than they did with Ozu films two years ago? I hope they do. If they do, it makes some sense (to show only one film a day at either of the DC venues) because it will allow people more time to get from either of the DC venues to the AFI Silver. It was tough (although I'm not complaining) to see two films in DC in one afternoon and then rushing to get to the AFI Silver to catch the third film in the evening.

I hope we'll get at least 30 films in the DC area. That means the AFI Silver will have to show at least 9 films.

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#122 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:18 pm

Article on Naruse in today's Washington Post. Websites relating to DC Retro: Mikio Naruse: Japanese Master & Japanese Master MIKIO NARUSE

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#123 Post by artfilmfan » Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:07 am

Thanks, Michael. As always, you and acquarello have been very resourceful. I'm happy to confirm that the Naruse retrospective in DC has indeed started :) It has been a long wait. And we'll get 30 films. I should have wished for more!

The two silents shown tonight are a lot like Ozu's early silents. In fact, had they been shown, without the credits, among Ozu's films, I might have thought that they are Ozu's films.

One thing that I've noticed is that Naruse seems to love filming a flowing river, the houses along the river and boats floating on the river. This is evident in Every Night's Dreams and Flowing.

Talking about river, flowing, and floating, almost two years ago, at the end of the Ozu retrospective in DC, I wrote:

"It is very fitting that the series concluded with “Floating Weedsâ€

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Michael Kerpan
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#124 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:35 am

artfilmfan wrote:Although I like Every Night's Dreams and Wife! Be Like a Rose!, the one in this bunch that I like best is Husband and Wife (4 1/2 stars). This is a very good film.
"Fufu" (Husband and Wife) has a sense of nervous energy that is unusual in Naruse. One also finds some of this in "Shu'u" (Sudden Rain). I like this a lot -- but love "Nightly Dreams" even more.
And I thought Yoshiko Kuga (?), who plays the younger of the two sisters (she also plays Chishu Ryu's daughter in Equinox Flower), gives a wonderful performance in Older Brother, Younger Sister.
Kuga is quite good in this. Her best performance, however, might be as Ayako in Kurosawa's Idiot. she is also especially good in Gosho's "Banka". She's good in Ozu's "Ohayo" (as the boy's young aunt) and is the best thing sbout Mizoguchi's disappointing "Tales of the Taira Clan". She's even more impressive, while co-starring with Kinuyo Tanaka, in Mizoguchi's under-appreciated "Uwasa no onna" (Woman of the Rumor). Also worthy of note -- she is one of a trio of fine actresses in Nomur'a "Zero Focus". All in all, she is yet another reason why I love watching classic Japanese cinema. ;~}

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#125 Post by artfilmfan » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:03 pm

Her best performance, however, might be as Ayako in Kurosawa's Idiot.
I agree that Yoshiko Kuga is very good in The Idiot. I'll have to look into "Banka" and "Zero Focus".

A Yoshiko Kuga search produced, among others, two seemingly interesting titles: Nigorie and Mata au hi made (Till We Meet Again). I'll probably end up getting these two, as well as the upcoming release of Seishun Zankoku Monogatari (although I should watch the New Yorker VHS of this first if I can find it). Yoshiko Kuga probably has only a small role in each of these films.

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