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Currently playing at the AK film club: Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa 1975)

Teruyo Nogami: A new film + the Kurosawa book

Waiting on the Weather on Amazon

After finding success with the recent samurai trilogy that included the 2004 Academy Award nominated film The Twilight Samurai, as well as The Hidden Blade and most recently Bushi No Ichibun, Shochiku will also produce and distribute director Yoji Yamada’s next film, a period drama set in the second world war and titled Kabei.

What makes this film of relevance for an Akira Kurosawa website like this one is the fact that the film is based on the non-fiction novel Chichi eno requiem, which was written by Teruyo Nogami. The now 79-year-old Nogami worked as a script supervisor on every Kurosawa film from Rashomon onwards, with the single exception of The Idiot, if I am not mistaken. She was also credited as an associate director on Dersu Uzala, and was furthermore closely involved in the Ame Agaru project after Kurosawa’s death.

This may also be an excellent moment to mention Nogami’s Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa (pictured above), which Martin Scorsese has described by writing: “Teruyo Nogami was by Kurosawa’s side for almost 50 years, as he quietly (and sometimes, not so quietly) revolutionized the very grammar of cinema. This is a wonderfully intimate and beautifully written portrait of one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived, which makes it essential reading.” An English translation of the book ought to have come out earlier this month, but it does not yet seem to be available on Amazon. You may, however, preorder the book on Amazon if you like. If you use the links provided on this page, you also support this website (I think I’ll get about 82 cents per purchase, which is not much but every little helps).

I haven’t actually read the book yet, myself. I am, however, expecting it to be more descriptive of Kurosawa’s working processes than were either Kurosawa’s own biography or the recent Emperor and the Wolf (see the book section on this website), or even Donald Richie’s Films of Akira Kurosawa which, after all, mainly concentrates on the final products rather than the process of filming.

To be honest, I actually have the original Japanese version of Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa in my book shelf. Unfortunately, as my Japanese skills have deteriorated in the past years to the level where reading the language is painfully slow, I have not got around to doing much with the book. In fact, I think I will be getting the English copy, as well.

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Discussion: 10 Comments »

#1


Jeremy



I was unaware of this book, thanks for the tip off,
Teruyo Nogami film has promise, hope it pans out
I’ll be sure to purchase the book though this website’a link when amazon posts a release date.
I really like this site, keep up the work


 

#2


vili



I’m happy you find the site useful. :)


 

#3


Bill white



I have a question about the film “Kabei.” I saw it yesterday, and was struck with how modern some of the men’s fashions seemed. Was it possible for a man to have such long, carefully styled, hair in this period? I understand the family in the film was from academic society, and wondered if perhaps their fashion sense was really this progressive.


 

#4


Ryan



Ironic that this thread was brought back to life again as 2 weeks ago I ordered this book on the suggestion of people here.

Hopefully it’ll come soon as I really want to read it.


 

#5


Jeremy Quintanilla



Bill, Japanese fashion has been under American and British influence since the mid 1800’s. It was however the higher social status Japanese that were adopting these styling. While the reasons are many, largely is was an attempt to separate themselves from the common traditionally bounded Japanese that were criticized by the west for being the weakest part to Japan’s growing success. This modernized change, most importantly was too, an attempt to appease the westerners so to continue the important flood of knowledge and commerce that Japan missed out greatly on.

Fashion has always marked social status, and certainly the more educated took grooming and attire standards from the most influential nations.

Ryan, if you haven’t already get too Kurosawa’s: Something Like An Autobiography. This book and Nogami’s are must read. Kurosawa autobiography being one of the best autobiographies I ever read, and uniquely written.


 

#6


Ryan



Jeremy, I’ve been intending to get that. So far I’ve only got Donald Richie’s The Films of Akira Kurosawa; I’ve read it, but not the sections of Madadayo and Rhapsody in August as I haven’t seen those. I figure I’ll watch the films first, make my own analysis, then see if they’re similar or different to what Richie picked up on. I still haven’t seen Sanshiro Sugata, Sanshiro Sugata II, The Most Beautiful and They Who Step on the Tiger’s Tail actually. They’re the only ones I’ve yet to see; his very first films (ironically all pre-WWII) and his final two colour films.

I will definitely get his autobiography; I’m just trying to find the right price for it. Also ironically, I went to a book store today and asked for The Emperor and the Wolf but as I already knew, it was out of print. So I’ll have to track that one down.

Not very on topic but I’ll mention it anyway. I also saw an interview with Toshiro Mifune from the High and Low Criterion DVD Extras last night. Although I enjoyed seeing it, I couldn’t help but feel that the interviewer was inexperienced or just lacked good questions. Constantly asking Mifune about how he perceives foreigners and his experiences of war…really? No questions on his time and filmography with Kurosawa? What’s up with that? Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but that did disappoint me. Having said that, I didn’t dislike the interviewer.

Oh well.


 

#7


Vili Maunula



Ryan: I will definitely get his autobiography; I’m just trying to find the right price for it.

Ryan, Abebooks has second hand copies for under five dollars. Shipping may cost more. You may or may not be interested.

Not that the new Amazon copies are that costly — it seems to sell for ten dollars or so.

Ryan: Also ironically, I went to a book store today and asked for The Emperor and the Wolf but as I already knew, it was out of print. So I’ll have to track that one down.

It’s definitely worth it, even for the 30-50 dollars it seems to sell these days. I wasn’t initially totally impressed with it (as I have noted in my review), but the book has over the years become my first stop for all biographical information about Kurosawa.

Ryan: I also saw an interview with Toshiro Mifune from the High and Low Criterion DVD Extras last night. Although I enjoyed seeing it, I couldn’t help but feel that the interviewer was inexperienced or just lacked good questions. Constantly asking Mifune about how he perceives foreigners and his experiences of war…really? No questions on his time and filmography with Kurosawa? What’s up with that?

It could be that Mifune had instructed them before the interview not to go into that particular topic. If it’s the interview that I’m thinking, he does seem a little uncomfortable whenever there is a mention of Kurosawa, as I think there is once or twice.

Also, whereas Mifune is primarily associated with Kurosawa in the west, it is good to remember that he acted in almost two hundred films, and at the time of the interview hadn’t worked with Kurosawa for over 15 years. Since he was and still is a legend in his own right, perhaps inquiring about his past with Kurosawa would have felt impolite.

Or that’s anyhow how I would try to justify it. :smile:


 

#8


Ryan



When Kurosawa was brought up, I personally didn’t think Mifune felt uncomfortable at all. I also don’t think Mifune would have instructed them to not talk about Kurosawa when he himself brought the director up (if I remember correctly) and he seemed fine when talking about him (albeit fleetingly).

There were also some awkward pauses by the interviewer so I definitely think she was struggling with questions to ask, especially considering she repeated some of her questions. Not to mention that the interview wasn’t actually that long.

A question about what it was like working with Terency Young, Kenji Mizoguchi (and perhaps even Spielberg) wouldn’t have hurt either. :smile:


 

#9


Ryan



Finally got the book in the post; didn’t realise it’d be a hardcover, nor so small! Nevertheless, I’m loving the drawings so far; very Quentin Blake-esque.

I’ve also ordered Kurosawa’ autobiography (paperback) for £7 which is the cheapest on the internet.

Look forward to reading both.


 

#10


Ryan



Oh and also, for some strange reason, some copies of the Emperor and the Wolf are selling for around £200! What’s up with that? Must be first edition copies I suppose.


 

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