Friday, October 25, 2013

Three Aviation Propaganda Films


Hayao Miyazaki, whose THE WIND RISES (2013) gathered various praises and criticisms over last few months, made a particularly harsh remark about the coming Zero fighter movie, EI-EN NO ZERO (2013) due open this winter. Based on the bestseller novel of the same title by Naoki Hyakuta, the story is about the brother and sister who investigate their grandfather's past as a Zero fighter Kamikaze pilot. Miyazaki criticized it is "packed with inaccuracies" and "filled with the same old sentiment". To me, this morbid obsession with this particular type of warplane, - Zero fighter -, by both of these men is more puzzling. I can see that its history and its technologies might interest some, but is it necessary to invite such a public debate - or an argument, rather - on this issue? I think it is more worthwhile to look at how people were drawn into this myth of Japanese aviation superiority, through propaganda films, for example.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Campaign (2007)

In THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN (1992), a con-man-turned-candidate-for-the-Congress (Eddie Murphy) runs the shameless election campaign on a low budget. He drives a car fitted with loudspeakers around the town, just to sell his 'name'. "Jeff Johnson, the name you know". He figures that most voters wouldn't care and vote for him simply because the name sounds familiar (Jeff Johnson is the name of a dead Congressman). He cruises around the town in a van, advertising his name through the speakers in different accents to appeal to different ethnic groups. Well, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN was a comedy. It was supposed to be funny. When I saw that scene back in 1992, I couldn't laugh. Not because it was an awful, poorly-made movie (well, it is).

Because it is exactly the way the election is run in Japan.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More photographs : Ozu, Eisenstein, and others

Yasujiro Ozu (1937)

All right, another sets of photographs. Actually I don't know if these are rarely seen or not, but just I haven't seen them before.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rare Snapshots of Setsuko Hara

Setuko Hara during shooting of HIKARI TO KAGE (1939)
I found some rare snapshots of Setsuko Hara in Japanese movie magazines from 1930's and 1940's.
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