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.