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News bits: Nogami and Nakadai in the US, Last Princess article, Kurosawa and Kung Fu Panda

In the past couple of days there have been a few smaller Kurosawa related news bits that I have decided to put together into one news post. So, here we go.

1. Nogami and Nakadai in the US

The Stone Bridge Blog reports that Teruyo Nogami and Tatsuya Nakadai will be appearing in the US (east coast) at “numerous film screenings” and the following in-person events:

June 21: Tatsuya Nakadai and Teruyo Nogami at Kinokuniya Bookstore, Bryant Park, 1073 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 3 p.m. in the 2F Event Space

June 22: Yojimbo screening with Nakadai and Nogami, Freer Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) and I Am a Cat at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

June 25: 50 Years with Akira Kurosawa: An Evening with Teruyo Nogami, Japan Society, New York, NY

This is apparently connected to a Tatsuya Nakadai retrospective held in New York.

Nogami’s Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa, of course, was published in English in 2006.

2. A Last Princess article

There is an article on The Last Princess over at the FCCJ, which you may find worth a read.

3. ‘Kung Fu Panda’ based on Kurosawa

Well, if not based on Kurosawa, what the directors say in this interview is that the concept behind the new DreamWorks animated film Kung Fu Panda is “What if Akira Kurosawa shot a Jerry Lewis movie?”

Indeed, what if?


Discussion

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yippee

Is there anyone planning on seeing Nakadai or Nogami at the Film Forum series? http://www.filmforum.org/films/nakadai.html

Let me know, I am thinking of flying in to NYC for Nakadai’s lecture.

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Jeremy Quintanilla

Yeah, I thought about going, and even had some arrangements made, but sometimes it seem the whole world comes together to screw up all your plans. Its a no go for me. 😡

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Vili Maunula

Sorry to hear that, Jeremy. Life does that sometimes.

Will you be attending, Yippee?

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Ben

Hey folks,

I haven’t been around for no good reason, but I plan on being at the Smithsonian Freer screening of “Yojimbo” on the 22nd. I hope to muster up some report from the Q&A after.

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Vili Maunula

That would be great, Ben!

And perhaps seeing Yojimbo on the 22nd might even prompt you to take part in our Film Club in July, when it is Yojimbo that we will be discussing. 😉

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Jeremy Quintanilla

Sweet, Ben. That should be super neato, and perfect timing for the film club.

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johnmartello

Hi. I hosted the luncheon for Nakadai at The Players this past Friday. It was well attended. Bruce Goldstein of the Film Forum put together about 10 minutes of film clips and Mr. Nakadai and Miss Nogmi spoke (through an interpreter)

They were both lovely. Nakadai was very generous to his fans — taking photos, chatting with them (through the interpreter) and just being very gracious.

I think the Film Forum retrospective is quite exciting and I urge all of you in the New York area to drop in for some of these very rarely shown films.

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Ben

Hey all,

Just got back from the Yojimbo screening in DC. Missed I am A Cat because of some miscommunication of where it was being held and by the time I had something to eat it was cutting it close for tickets.

Vili, if you’ll take it, I plan on writing up a little narrative about the whole afternoon. Needless to say it was very exciting and inspiring (from a filmmaker and writer’s perspective).

I’ll miss the next few as I’ll be out of town but I encourage any DC area fans of Nakadai, Kurosawa or Japanese cinema in general to check out the screenings for Untamed and Kagemusha. Check out the Freer Gallery’s site.

I also found out that tomorrow, the 23rd, the Japan Information and culture center at the Japanese Embassy was having a screening of “After the Rain” based on Kurosawa’s final script. Sadly the event was an RSVP type thing and reservations are now closed.

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yippee

John and Ben,
I’m jealous to say the least! John, perhaps you will also share a little write-up of the event with us, as Ben plans to…?

I should very much like to hear about the event with Miss Nogami and Mr. Nakadai. Having watched all the bits and pieces of interviews on Criterion Collection releases, I had hoped to attend the lecture this Tuesday evening. Work intervenes, unfortunately. So, I would be absolutely fascinated to hear more from you about their talk at the luncheon on Sunday!

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yippee

Tonight is the night! An evening with Tatsuya Nakadai! What I wouldn’t give to be there! It’s sold out online, but a few tickets are left at the box office, maybe….oh, I am on pins and needles! Any lurkers out there attending?
http://www.filmforum.org/films/nakadai.html

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Vili Maunula

Vili, if you’ll take it, I plan on writing up a little narrative about the whole afternoon.

That would be great, Ben! Just send it to me and I’ll post it.

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yippee

The Leonard Lopate Show interviewed Mr. Nakadai in association with “Evening with Tatsuya Nakadai of June 24th”:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2008/06/24/segments/102002

There’s that fascinating bit about his walking through “Seven Samurai” in makeup and costume…and he thought it was horrible, and that he couldn’t get the samurai thing…you know how Nakadai walks by in a flash. I don’t know how you feel listening but the setup is that his first time working with Kurosawa was horrible.

He also talks about Kurosawa advising for Yojimbo, “You, Nakadai are silk, and Mifune is cotton…” or saying, “Mifune is a Lion and you are a Snake”.

Nakadai says that perhaps there is something driving him towards playing evil roles….that he would prefer Richard III to other Shakespeare roles, for example…

In discussing Japanese cinema after the 1970’s, between his 30’sand 40’s he had fewer roles, but worked with Kurosawa, Kinoshita, Kobayashi…and after 45 had his two big roles with Kurosawa, that he was very happy about…Kagemusha and Ran.

He was about 50 playing in “Ran”- and Kurosawa would say, “You are 50 and have no wrinkles! Please, have some wrinkles!” (because the character was older). They looked at Noh masks, etc…

I think you would enjoy this interview!

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yippee

The podcast from the Interview and audience Q & A after the viewing of “Harakiri” is here:
http://www.filmforumnewyork.org/mp3/HarakiriJune202008.mp3

Nakadai sounds lovely.

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Vili Maunula

Thanks for the links, Yippee!

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deconstruct

Hi, everybody. I was able to attend the book signing and Evening With Teruyo Nogami. I took some pictures and a short video of Nakadai speaking that you can see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deconstruct
The evening with Nogami was very nice but I didn’t think it was very informative. I found host Michael Jeck rather tiresome. However at the book signing I learned that the film crew following Nogami was filming a documentary on her, to be airing on NHK.

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yippee

Ah, deconstruct, you are so lucky! I love Nakadai and Nogami. More as time goes by…I feel the pressure of age and time because they are getting older, and I hope they know how much they have meant to so many across the world for generations. Seriously, their work continues to bring meaning to new kids coming up…this forum has people in their 20’s, prime, middle age and a bit older, and from Europe the U.S…at least, that’s who has logged in so far…
Back in the 1960’s there was a Coke commercial to the tune of “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing” and it showed people holding hands, making a chain of friendship and harmony. Cheesy, yes, allright. But the idea of friendships based on shared appreciation and respect for something isn’t cheesy.
Art is doing this, today, making people across the world friends. Nakadai and Nogami are living artists who have touched countless people!
Thanks for posting!

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Vili Maunula

Thanks a lot for the pictures, deconstruct! It’s interesting to hear that NHK is working on a documentary on her. Maybe it will find its way to a Criterion DVD one day, as an extra.

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