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    Garen

    Hello

    Just thought I’d register and say hello as I have spent a large part of my day reading this marvellous website (when I should have been catching up with work before Christmas hits!).

    I’ve been a Kurosawa fan for over 25 years, since seeing Seven Samurai on television. My favourites change place regularly, but always up there are High & Low, Ikiru, Hidden Fortress, Seven Samurai and Stray Dog (and am I alone in thinking The Idiot is fantastic and also loving Scandal?). There are still a handful I haven’t seen – in fact to rectify this I recently purchased the Criterion pre-war early films collection, though I have to wait for it to come from the States (I’m in the UK where we’re served with some very nice BFI editions, though they are thin on extras and several films are missing – I own everything available on UK DVD).

    I recently started to get into Ozu as well after seeing Tokyo Story at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank earlier this year.

    Kurosawa is my favourite director by a long way, though I am also a fan of Chaplin, David Lean, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen and Hayao Miyazaki – among others!

    I’m currently on a really tight deadline for a book so haven’t had much time to indulge in my Kurosawa DVDs (and I’m really missing that), but hope to have more time next year to get back to it. I’m playing truant today 🙂

    Now, I really should go and wrap some presents.

    Best wishes – Garen

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    Vili Maunula

    Hi Garen, and welcome to the group!

    You certainly aren’t the only one who likes The Idiot, and in fact there’s been some (renewed) discussion about the film recently in this thread. We also had some quite interesting discussions of Scandal earlier this year (April, I think), suggesting that the film indeed has more to it than most critics would suggest.

    It’s interesting to see the other directors that you have mentioned here — the names are very familiar! I think most people here could produce a very similar list of favourite directors. I personally love and adore Chaplin, and definitely like Kubrick, Lean, Allen and Miyazaki. Among others!

    Is the book that you are working on by any chance the third part of The Rainbow Orchid? I have seen your strip mentioned here and there, but haven’t yet bought the books, as I decided that I’d rather wait until the planned trilogy is finished. The Hergé-esque style has definitely caught my eye, though! (I’m sure that there is much more to it than just Hergé, but you seem to have somehow managed to capture that same mood and fluidity, based on what I’ve seen of your work.)

    I actually ended up dabbling in comics publishing this year, so I kind of have an idea of the agony (and joy) of getting something like a graphic novel finished before a deadline. Good luck!

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    Garen

    Thanks very much for your reply and welcome, Vili. And thanks for pointing me to those threads on the fascinating discussion on The Idiot too – now I need to see it again!

    Yes – it is indeed The Rainbow Orchid. Inspired by my love of European BD, especially Hergé, as you say, and others such as Jacobs, Floc’h, Chaland etc. The story is more from the adventure literature of Haggard, Verne and Doyle and all that kind of thing. The three books do all belong together as one story, and they will be collected together as a single book in 2012.

    Off topic – but what does your comics dabbling involve, if you don’t mind me asking? ‘Agony’ is a rather apt description of my drawing rate at the moment!

    I hope you had a nice Christmas. I received Ozu’s ‘Early Summer’ on DVD from my brother.

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    Vili Maunula

    Great, I’ll be looking forward to the collection, then!

    My dabbling was something of a hobby project. Two friends and I self-published a mini collection of two stories in the graphic novel / comics format. As we are all originally from Finland, both stories are in Finnish and play around with Finnish mythology and identity. My part was writing and scripting one of the stories, a 26 page work loosely based on the “Plunder of the Sampo” episode from the Finnish national epic The Kalevala, but transferred into a film noir context. A friend of mine did the drawing (I can’t draw if my life depended on it).

    It was a small publication, but we did sell out the 400 copy print surprisingly quickly thanks to my friends setting up a table at the Helsinki Comics Festival. So, at least we ended up not losing money, which is always nice with these things. 🙂

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    Garen

    400 copies is very good! Small press comics here in the UK are doing very well if they sell that many 🙂 I hope you do more in the future.

    Changing the subject again (maybe I should have posted this on the DVD guide page) – I wondered if you’re aware of the region 2 version of Rashomon released by Optimum and Kadokawa Pictures in 2008? It has a pretty decent booklet with it – though it consists of an extract from Galbraith’s Emperor and the Wolf and the short stories Rashomon and In a Bamboo Grove so, if like me you’re a completist, you’ll already have these. There is also a 70 minute documentary, A Testimony as an Image, and an introduction from John Boorman.

    There is also an interesting book coming out in April that I’m looking forward to (I’m sure you’re aware of this) – Hiroshi Tasogawa’s All the Emperor’s Men: Kurosawa’s Pearl Harbor.

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    Garen

    Edit: Sorry – I see you did mention the Optimum release of Rashomon in the news. It’s not on the DVD guide though, is it? (Knowing me I’ve probably completely missed it!).

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    Fabien

    Welcome, Garen.

    It’s nice to have such artists, here!

    I, too, have found in your strips something that I like very much about Hergé and Jacobs works and which is related, I think, to la ligne claire.

    But, although being french, I must confess that I don’t know (or don’t remember) anything about Floc’h or Chaland, and I think I will look into it some day.

    Recently, I already discovered – with the help of a friend who is a great comics reader – the work of Chris Ware, which shares some principles with the previously cited ligne claire; slow but enchanting education of mine.

    (I read throngs of comics in my first twenty years, then many less in the dozen following, I’m delayed.)

    About the new Optimum edition of Rashomon, I had it in my list, but have not been very tight on updates lately and I suppose that there are several new interesting reviews about this product that I didn’t mention yet. If you have some…

    I think that Vili’s page relies for a big part on personal opinion / experience – which is a great thing lacking on my site (simple compilation of details and review links) – and I’m not sure that he got this new edition.

    I hope you will get your Eclipse set soon; I had the luck to grab mine in a short delay (US > France, less than 2 weeks) and to watch The Most Beautiful in better conditions than with my previous disc.

    And I wish you the best of the discoveries with the films you didn’t watch yet; not a single one in Kurosawa’s œuvre disappointed me.

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    Garen

    Thanks for the welcome, Fabien.

    Chris Ware is marvellous – I saw him ‘in conversation’ with Daniel Clowes at the Corn Exchange in Brighton earlier this year. (In fact, I was supposed to have dinner with them afterwards (not just me), but they ran late and had to rush for their train back to London).

    I have only watched my BFI version of Rashomon; with the Optimum version I have only watched the documentary, so I couldn’t compare quality. There are some reviews out there, for instance here and here.

    I actually got my Eclipse set of the pre-war films yesterday and decided to skip work this afternoon and watch Sanshiro Sugata, which I’ve only seen once before with pretty much unwatchable subtitles (a Chinese edition, I think). What a wonderful film (I followed it up with Ozu’s equally good The Only Son). I decided to order the post-war Eclipse set too, despite being a bit cash-strapped right now, and despite already owning the three latter films included. Now the only films I need are The Lower Depths, Dodesukaden and Dreams.

    I agree with you – I have yet to be disappointed by Kurosawa. I have read some pieces by others that have sometimes prepared me for disappointment (The Idiot, Scandal and Rhapsody in August), but have been surprised and delighted by all of them.

    All the best.

    P.S – excellent website you have!

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    Vili Maunula

    I must have forgotten to add the Optimum release to the DVD guide. As Fabien mentions, the list is by no means intended to cover all releases, although I still try to keep it objective, and simply point out which releases are the ones worth getting. I’ll have to take a closer look at the Optimum.

    Sadly, it’s not the only part of this website which is in need of updating. But I’ll get there one day! 🙂

    Fabien’s list is brilliant though.

    Thanks also for the heads-up about All the Emperor’s Men! I had no idea such book was coming out, which is funny, considering that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I last looked for new Kurosawa releases on Amazon. I’ll need to write a news post about it someday soon, after harassing Kodansha for more information about the title.

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    Garen

    The work you’ve done on this site is fantastic, Vili – you can’t do everything all the time, you’d have to be superhuman! I used to run a Charlie Chaplin website (which eventually became the official site for the International Chaplin Society, now defunct) and it could have been a full-time job. Not just the website, but all the emails that poured in as well. I also ran a site to keep up to date on silent films available on video in the UK – fine at first, then DVDs were introduced and I just couldn’t keep up. My Chaplin video guide languishes, woefully out of date by years, and no longer useful – but I can’t quite bring myself to delete it… all that work!

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    Vili Maunula

    Indeed, it does take some work, especially with the spam. But it’s definitely worth the effort!

    I think the trick is to do stuff only when you feel like doing it and have the time to do it properly, or otherwise it turns into an unpaid job, which is certainly not what I want with Kurosawa. (Having said that, I’m certainly open for any job offers, in case someone from Kurosawa Production happens to be reading this. 😛 )

    As for Chapling videos, that Polygram VHS collection of Chaplin’s shorts is a bit scary. We have it in our video shelf (right next to the Warner DVD box set), and the face that peers out of the spines is a little unsettling. Chaplin, staring at me angrily, 24/7. Maybe I should upgrade the shorts to DVD!

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    cocoskyavitch

    Hello Garen and welcome! I found a llittle about your work online. Not much knowledgeable about what you do, but impressed with what I found!

    I’m an academic and teach art on international programs, work with faculty developing new programs, and am a painter by training…very old school. I welcome a fellow artist to this forum!

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    Garen

    Thanks for the welcome and nice words on my work, cocoskyavitch. I can draw just about well enough to be able to tell the stories I write 🙂

    As for painting, it is a skill far beyond my abilities – I admire anyone with that talent and I wish I could do it!

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    cocoskyavitch

    Whoah, way too modest, Garen. An imagination and ability to order space and visually convey a story as you’ve done is nothing to scoff at!

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    Garen

    I didn’t know where to post this, but thought my introduction thread would be the least intrusive to the rest of the forum.

    It was Kurosawa’s 101st birthday on Wednesday, 23 March. It was also the day my wife gave birth to a little girl (our first child) – that’s one of the reasons (and work) that I’ve been quiet on here recently, and also why I’ve still yet to watch this month’s film club film, One Wonderful Sunday! (Can’t wait to see it, but it might not be in the right month now).

    But I love the fact they share a birthday 🙂

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    Ugetsu

    Congratulations Garen! What a nice coincidence with the birthday.

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    Vili Maunula

    Congratulations, Garen! Any name yet for the newcomer?

    Another fun fact — your daughter was born one day before the 25th anniversary of Emi Wada winning an Academy Award for Costume Design for Ran, which, awarded on March 24 1986, was I think the last Academy Award given to a Kurosawa film.

    As for One Wonderful Sunday, when you have the chance to watch it (and I’m sure you have other things on your hands right now!), you are always welcome to post about the film! We’ll actually be continuing with the theme in April by watching a related Frank Capra film, and even after that, feel free to reopen the discussion.

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    Garen

    Many thanks, Ugetsu and Vili. I think a double bill of One Wonderful Sunday and It Happened One Night is on the cards at the first opportunity (both sitting on my DVD shelves) – whenever that may be.

    No name yet – but it’s the UK census on Sunday (tomorrow), so we’ll have decided by then! (I did suggest a Kurosawa-related name which I like, but it was vetoed :-))

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    Vili Maunula

    You could always try to smuggle in a Kurosawa reference as the middle name. 😉

    Annette OneWonderfulSunday Ewing!

    By the way, how does the census affect name giving?

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    Ugetsu

    Hey Garen, a colleague of mine said that dvd’s of old movies and Mad Men episodes got him through all the late nights trying to keep his infant daughter from waking his wife up, so its a perfect opportunity to use all those sleepless nights ahead of you 😉

    Good luck with it, and let us know what name you decide!

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    Fabien

    I’m not sure, but I think that you have to give children names, ages, etc. in the census form and that Garen would like to have his child well taken into account.

    By the way, I hope that the girl will grow into a happy and fulfilled individual, and wish courage to her and to her parents.

    What was the vetoed name?

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    cocoskyavitch

    Garen, congrats on the little stranger. Please oh please I hope you named her Yuki Akizuki!

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    cocoskyavitch

    My former student who works at the news agency in Tokyo has stopped blogging about the Nuclear issue and the tsunami and earthquake. he now is blogging that Hayao Miyazaki walks past his house frequently.

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    Garen

    Thanks again for all the congrats, my friends.

    Her name is Miranda, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (a possible obscure Kurosawa connection, given his own love of Shakespeare; I did a comic strip adaptation of The Tempest back in 1994).

    I don’t believe there is any legal obligation to have a name for the 2011 census, but she would have to be included on it and the date was as good as any for a deadline!

    Fabien – the vetoed name was Misa. I’ll leave you the with the fun of finding out where that’s from (it’s not hard, but cocoskyavitch’s hope wasn’t far off in a way :-)).

    And I managed to watch One Wonderful Sunday on … Sunday.

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    Ugetsu

    Miranda – a lovely name! Hope you are getting some sleep.

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    Vili Maunula

    Miranda! I love that name, and The Tempest is one of my favourite pieces of writing in any genre. Is your adaptation available for purchase, Garen?

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    Garen

    I’m afraid it sold out some years ago, Vili. It’s quite different from my current work (you can see some pages here).

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    lawless

    Congratulations on the new addition to your life, Garen. Miranda is a lovely name, and like Vili, I’m rather fond of The Tempest. I saw a production of it at the Statford-on-Avon Shakespeare Festival in Connecticut when I was in high school. I don’t even know if that festival exists anymore.

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