Welcome to Akira Kurosawa info!  Log in or Register?

Teruyo Nogami’s memoirs hit the silver screen in Berlin

Yoji Yamada’s Kabei – Our Mother, which is based on the war time memoirs of Teruyo Nogami, got its first foreign screening at the Berling Film Festival on Wednesday. The film tells the story of a woman (Sayuri Yoshinaga) forced to look after her two young daughters and herself after her husband is imprisoned for harbouring “unpatriotic” ideas.

Nogami, of course, was Kurosawa’s script supervisor and close aide from the late 1940s all the way until the director’s death. Last year, her book Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa was published in English. For more information about the book, see the section on Kurosawa books.


Discussion

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

I’ve been told the movie was well received in Japan, and grossed $30 million the first 2 weeks.
It was smartly marketed to the elderly, and as you may know, Japan is in no short supply of them.

I would really like to see this. It would of been really cool to see Nogami direct, there is no one with more direct influence from Kurosawa then her, I bet she knows a thing or two.

Vili, I been told the will be a “THE LEGACY OF AKIRA KUROSAWA” deal going on tomorrow (2-15) in Berlin. You know anything about this? Its only suppose to be a 1.5 hour deal, but I hear Nogami is to speak.
Its to celebrate(dont thing thats the best word) the 10th anniversary death of Kurosawa, but of course thats not really till Sept. 6th.

I am currently trying to arrange a recording of her speech if possible, along with the real time translation that will occur at the event.
I dont know too much about it, so if such a thing will even happpen- I dont know.

  link

Vili Maunula

No, I have not heard about any Kurosawa tribute at Berlin. Did you manage to find out more?

Regarding films targeted at the elderly, I think we’ll be seeing more of those in the coming years, and not only from Japan. The Internet, for example, is slowly waking up to the fact that there is a huge untapped potential in the market for the elderly, and there’s now plenty of new Facebook and Flickr competitors aimed at providing for the needs of the older Internet users.

I for one will welcome more films for the elderly, as I would imagine that they take a bit slower and more contemplative pacing than your average Hollywood block busters.

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

No I haven’t confirmed anything on the Kurosawa tribute. If such a thing happened, I will know in the next 6 hours.

Right now, I’ll take anything thats not intended for teenagers with attention spans less then 30 seconds.

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

Well, I am still under the impression that something Kurosawa related was planned to happen at one time during the festival. The current criteria mentions nothing however.

Anyways I have confirmed that Nogami wasn’t even at the Berlin Film Festival to begin with, so if there was something planned, it never happened.

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

^^ I should of said, if Nogami was there, she at least did not make her existence known and made no appearance at the press conference or photo session for Kabei.

  link

Vili Maunula

That’s a shame, it would have been really interesting to hear her talk.

  link

Bettina

Well, it all happened very well under “The Legacy Of Akira Kurosawa”, hosted by the German Film Academy on the Feb.15th, and was in fact very interesting.
Yoji Yamada and Teruo Nogami had a lot to say in a wonderfull relaxed atmosphere!
You really missed something. . .

  link

Vili Maunula

Thanks for the information, Bettina! Could I ask what the talk was about? Do you know if it was recorded or videoed?

  link

Bettina

Yes, it was definitely filmed (videoed?), and basically about Kurosawa and Nogawa’s and Yamada’s memoires about Kurosawa, very interesting indeed, also accompanied with fotos and filmworks.
Well done by the German Film Academy.
I got the invitation via the German Japanese society, but just one day before the actual date. They know me as a longterm jap. filmlover and also friend of some according filmers, in fact, I was a friend of Ogawa Shinsuke, who also was connected with Kurozawa.
Interpreter here was Catherine Cadou, who also was interpreter for main japanese filmers in Cannes and subtitled many Kurozawa films.

You may find/get more informations from Shochiku in general, but on my paper I have their main contact here:

ibd@shochiku.co.jp

Fax+81-3-5550-1654

(The people on the Berlin stand for Kabei have been:
Kiwamu Sato, Satoko Ishida, Chiyo Mori, btw)

If you wish and let me know, where to send it to, you can have the scanned fine information paper from the event.

Greetings!

  link

Bettina

Sorry, just found the answer. . .and deleted a question

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

I now know my “sources” are not reliable 😡 Glad you were able to chime in.

The person I knew that went there, was doing it more or less as a favor to me, he had other events to see and I’m sure he didnt put much effort into finding out about this event.
He said she wasnt anywhere for Kabei, so we (wrongly) assumed the Kurosawa event wasnt going to happen.
Its too bad really, since he was to record the event, like he did a few other things that were going on there.

  link

Bettina

Well, since it all belongs together for me, and is equally interesting, my selective consciousness still works fine. . .and what is supposed to be. . .
(I had free time for this, surprisingly enough with my scedule during the Berlinale)

Let us know, when and how we can see the Video/Film about it, OK?

  link

Vili Maunula

Bettina, you mentioned that the event was recorded. Do you know by who?

A scan of the information booklet would be interesting to see. If it’s not too much trouble, could you send it to vili.maunula (at) gmail.com ?

  link

Bettina

I suppose, its done by either side, that is mentioned, but I do not have the adress of the German Film Academy. (maybe googlen?)

You can nevertheless also try to ask the

Press attache for Kabei:
Wolfgang W. Werner Public Relation:
info@werner-pr.de

Sure, will try do the scannings for you today. Its just a two sided paper, but nicely done 🙂

  link

Vili Maunula

Thanks again for the info, Bettina! I’ll try Kabei’s press attache.

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

Bettina, what “two sided paper” are you referring to?

The person that I know who attend only has a 4 page press pass booklet with the featured events, and its not showing anything for Kurosawa or Nogami.

The reason I ask, is if its mention on something official, then I know of another person that would have a recording, since he went to all of the mentioned events (if any didnt happen at the same time). I’m not on the best relations with him, so I dont want to ask if there isnt something to ask about.
I just really want to see a recording.

It tough communicating with people in Germany, asking for favors and finding out what I’m told is accurate. Anything you can offer would help

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

Only a few minutes later I get a email….
a pdf provided by shochiku and a picture that doesnt help.
kurosawa’s event pdf
Kabei’s German poster

Word has it that the Kurosawa event recording is for the special features in the DVD for Kabei and they will not release it till then.

However Shochiku wasnt the only ones recording so I will try to get a copy if possible.

  link

Bettina

OOPS, you were faster. . .

Well, I leave the old text nevertheless:

“Jeremy, that paper was given out during the event, for visitors ;-).
I sent it to Vili already. It has the above adresses on it plus a few fotos and text about the “stage”-people.

I have no idea, when they got the idea for this meeting, since I also got the invitation just 1 day before it actually happened, and I am not a press person, thus do not know, wherelse it was announced, and if.
It seemed to be a closer circle, yet an open door for all.
But the paper looks like being well organised. . .”

I can’t remember, if there were others recording. Maybe they were not so keen in having others around, if they want it for the DVD. . .

Happy to help, don’t worry. I might ask for according favours myself in given time 😉

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

I just glad your were able to provide some concrete answers, otherwise I would of just blown the whole thing off. The only thing now it to figure out who(if anyone else besides Shochiku) was recording and what they plan to do with it.

I can’t remember, if there were others recording. Maybe they were not so keen in having others around, if they want it for the DVD. . .

Yes I think this is core problem, it was possible press wasnt allowed to record the event, if it was intended to be for a DVD. Which would explain why I was told it never happened, with that statement being based on, it wasnt mention in the press packet info sheets.

  link

Bettina

Anyhow, that pdf is exactly the paper and in even better quality than what I sent. . .great!
Keep on searching…
Open ears and eyes hereabout!

If I am falling over someone who was clever enough to come with a little recorder, I will let you know. There were many non-pres-people as well.

Btw, the film Kabei is far from being just for elderly. . .
But about this later on.

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

Well I was told it was marketed to them, with commercials running during shows that cater to the older people.

I dont think there is a film that only appeals to a certain age, so I wasnt considering its marketing move, to have any real connection to the film, beside it being more mature in nature

  link

Bettina

It is very important for younger ones a well, who were for long misinformed or even not at all about that time.
A strategy, that now does not work, because of globalisation. . .

We had loads of agressive right wing posts on a Japan forum lately and its time to go against this. The film is a good step in this direction

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

You mean post, that supported the Japan’s involvement in the war, or post that supported the American bombing of Japan? I’m always interested, in the modern Japanese prospective on the events- I have only talk to the older generation and they for the most part were against it, however they can be biased considering they experienced every negative effect possible.

I agree in stopping as quickly the Japanese war machine via A-bomb, as their threat was growing larger, and had Germany not made a few mistakes, both had potential to carry on the war in their favor.

What I am against is the cruelty of the American’s targeting non-threating civilian populated targets, and going to the trouble to never attack the cities, so better to see the damage the bombs would have.

However one has to think that the Japanese war machine was of more destruction to the Japanese civilians, then anything the Americans did.
Had not the bombing take place, many more lives would of been lost.

I can to some extent understand the situation of Japan and their need to grow and willingness to aid the Germans. I suppose in the end the WWII had rather positive results-America economy sky-rocket, Germany slowly recovered,became a powerhouse, and became truly free , and Japan went from a failing country to one of the most successful countries in the world in a very short time.

Regardless of one’s thoughts on the matter, its important to note the pointlessness of this war with mass killings done with ease serving little to no purpose.
Perhaps Kabei, can aid in this by spreading first hand information, because as you mention there is a lot of misinformation and even no knowledge of it all–world wide.

  link

Bettina

Just in short, there is a VERY important word in the film, speaking out, what the “common” people were saying, but was exactly the theme for the war:

I can only cite an about, not exactly, so the meaning:

First Japan with Germany against America and UK(?), then the final battle with Germany and then we will rule the world.

This is known for Germans here!

And the film is definitely German friendly, btw.. .but the one, who wanted a better world than the present, apart from wardrivings those days, was arrested, for mindcrime.
This is very uptodate now too, because whoever of the japanese journalists speaks against new movements of denying japanese war-crimes, cannot speak openly any more (for this, we had an example from Singapore during the film-festival, as important, a new documentary, also about a visit of the japanese emperor there).

You also must see the German Japan relation side on Wiki, particularly the part, where the Japanese were accepted to be “aryans”, which meant everything for them. . .especially in terms of being “superior”, as the god-emperor always suggested.
This is strongly revived via the japanese right wings! And they rule in the government, their way, plus the whaling war at present! The later even uses a lot of Nazi slang now! I was very alarmed, particularly that many did not realise it as such!
They are definitely war drivers and build up extreme racism on all fronts!

Its not about the whales, its the growing idea of superiority again, and for all this you should also see the new film about the Yasukuni(name of the film, you can google it) shrine (also shown at the Berlinale and by now threatened by the right wingers! Its coming out in Japan in April and very important!), which is the center of the right wingers, who exactly distribute this old way of thinking before the war plus denials of war crimes etc.
Its all present politics, once more, dangerously underrated by many.

I will support this via links, if you wish.

What I am against is the cruelty of the American’s targeting non-threating civilian populated targets, and going to the trouble to never attack the cities, so better to see the damage the bombs would have

This I support strongly, as much as the rest of what you say.

We had the Germany in Japan year, plus the Japan in Germany year lately, which obviously has also woken up such old memories before the war. This was NOT, what we wanted! (I am in the German Japanese society and well informed, a bit part of the preparations)

Anyhow, you may get the idea, why Kabei is as important now as those two other films from others.!
And I am very glad, that it is already running in Japan.

Our righties in the forum are remarkable silent at the moment, but I often enough hit them right on the nose too, not knowing, what was in store already on the filmfront. Thus I am very glad about the filmers!

  link

Jeremy Quintanilla

No need for links, I have been aware of Japanese government superiority complex for sometime now. Its of no surprise, we have this very issue with America, but our government is much more open and blunt about it, since they know Americans are too stupid and scared to question or fight against them.

  link

Bettina

And thats exactly the problem, Japan is on the very same way. . .

For longer, many people and still many do not take their own government too seriously about this in Japan, which is, why this thinking could build up again, and now comes out full force with the whaling issue, which is misused by right wingers. With this, also other related themes also come up again, like the denials of war-crimes etc., and according new racist blames for those, who are against it, main target: Australia.

But also everybody else is one by now, who does not accept Japan’s view in this.
At the same time blames for all else, who have been run over by them, like Korea, China etc. The words come out, as if those were still their own underdogs.
I was shocked about the amount of such thinkings, although I knew very well, that some thought this way. But the way it was wildly agressively spoken out lately, was new to me. Pure war drivers in old style.
They did not even stop in front of a German. . .in contrary. And that once more is the once commonly known last challenge/target, as also to be heard in Kabei. The right wingers have done more undercover work, than we think.

But the film is on, and they are silent, on all forums now! Very silent even.

And the fact, that even journalists are now under threat, if they come with other informations, is close to the mindcrime befor the war, as to be seen in Kabei. . .
Same goes to the lately experienced serious offences of the right wingers towards the documentary film Yakusuni (during the screening time in Berlin, actually, you can still google this internationally), which put even the Berlin Japanese Embasssy under pressure.

No Japanese would have been able to do that film alone. Since this was a Co-production between China/Korea/Japan, it was possible, much to the dislike of those, who were filmed. We had according voices on one forum from Japanese, who promptly tried to make it an offence of Chinese and Koreans, but that did not work.

Insofar Kabei is a very interesting film, because I have not (yet) heard any offences. They may have more respect towards an own filmer, who is widely known and respected there.

But his message is the very same.

Leave a comment

Log in or Register to post a comment!