Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chi Wa Kawaiteru (1960)


In the dystopian world of Sidney Lumet's Network (1976), the death of the once-popular TV personality in front of camera is considered to be the best way to preserve corporate integrity in the face of fierce competition. The price of 'virtual' persona sometimes exceeds the price of person's physical life itself. The idea of a life insurance company exploiting a sensational image of death for marketing their products sounds very promising, but Yoshishige Yoshida's Chi Wa Kawaiteru (血は渇いてる, 1960) abandons the credibility and nuances in exchange for visual impact.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hakone-Yama (1963)



"Oh, you mean, the next trend will be to live in the slower pace, in this age of hectic pace."
- Kouemon (Shuji Sano)

This film is about nothing but a hectic pace of modern life. Crisply photographed, edited and directed, Yuzo Kawashima's Hakone-Yama (1963) drives you through the world of highly-charged competition among corporations. It is fast, loud, vulgar, and mean. It is loosely based on the actual event at the time. It is timely, sensational and dirty. Most of all, it is energetic.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

We Will Never Know Their Names, But That's Fine, Too

Whenever you read books or articles on film noir, you encounter expressions like this:

Another influence on the visual style of the films was the development of camera and lighting technology in the late 'thirties: faster film stock, coated lenses (which significantly increased the light transmission) and more powerful lights.

 - 'Film Noir, Introduction', Michael Walker, in "The Book of Film Noir", edited by Ian Cameron, The Continuum Publishing Company, 1992

In fact, almost all literatures I have been reading recently reiterate the same thing: faster film stock, high-speed lens and powerful light. Some critics inserted these lines in the beginning of their writings so that they can go on rumbling about the analysis of film noir stylistics and aesthetics. I started to wonder, what are they? How did they differ from the previous technologies? So I dug a little deeper into this little problem.