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Playing at the film club: Stray Dog (Kurosawa, 1949)

January & February films for the Film Club

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    Vili Maunula

    I’m not sure I’m convinced yet that there is real interest in the film club, so instead of announcing a full schedule for next year, I thought I’d offer just the first two films of the year and we can see how the discussion progresses, if it progresses at all.

    There has been no apparent interest in Biutiful and I would be keen to hear why. Does the film not interest you guys? Did you watch it but had nothing to say about it? Have you been unable to get a copy? Is December just a bad time? Is the film club format wrong? Are you having technical problems? Something else?

    I’m happy to host the film club. But it does take time, so it makes no sense to do it if there is little interest.

    Here are the films that I thought we would start 2019 with:

    January 2019: Throne of Blood (Kurosawa, 1957)

    Thematically, Throne of Blood is very much a complementary mirror image to Ikiru, which we watched in November.

    February 2019: Coriolanus (Fiennes, 2011)

    I thought pairing Throne of Blood with another Shakespeare adaptation would be appropriate. However, watching another Macbeth (I was contemplating either Polanski’s or Kurzel’s version) might be a bit too much, so I picked another story that I personally really like and an adaptation which I find quite interesting. It’s Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut and the story has parallels with many of Kurosawa’s works, particularly Stray Dog which I think would be our film club film in March, if you guys are keen to continue with the club.

    Both films should be readily available.

    Anyway, if you can drop a line below about why Biutiful (and possibly Ikiru) hasn’t caught your interest, that would be much appreciated. It would also be a good way to see how many of the nearly 100 people who expressed interest in the club still hang around in these parts.

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    Longstone

    Hi Vili ,
    I watched Ikiru again last month and even made notes with a view to adding to the threads,
    and I always enjoy reading the other postings even if I can’t think of anything to add.
    I’d not heard of Biutiful before you wrote about it here , I would certainly like to see it now but haven’t got around to picking up a DVD yet ( I personally don’t have access to any streaming services)
    Plus it’s true that December has been a very busy month for me and has flown by .
    I appreciate the work you put in, for example when I watched Ikiru I was referring to the long post you made about the backgrounds etc. which was really interesting.
    A more general observation is that for example I already own all the Kurosawa films in one form or another so it’s easier to find time to re-watch them in the schedule even if I don’t think of anything to post , I can enjoy reading yours and others thoughts about the films too. However with the other non Kurosawa films I need to buy a DVD or Blu-ray to see them, I would happily watch all of them and don’t mind getting the discs but sometimes months fly by before I get around to tracking them down.

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    chomei

    Thanks for your work Vili, you do a terrific job. For me, movies are not nearly as big a part of my life as they once were, meaning that while I love this site and Kurosawas movies, I really am not interested in other films. This isnt to say I might not watch a film you recommend, your knowledge is terrific, but don`t count on it.

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    Mugibuefan

    Hi Vili:

    I agree with chomei’s comments. Although Kurosawa is not my favourite Japanese director, I am very interested in what you and others on this site think about his and other Japanese directors’ various films (especially pre-1970). I appreciate that, perhaps with respect to Kurosawa more than others, there are so many books and studies that have come out, it might appear that everything that could be said about him and his films has been said. For someone of Kurosawa’s genius, I don’t believe that’s the case (and for me, I haven’t read any of these numerous materials anyway). I hope to be inspired to view and study his films more and to learn a lot more about him and his movies based upon what you, as a very skilled analyst, think about them and from the impressions of others who wish to participate in this forum.

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    BMWRider

    I am still interested and want to participate. Having said that, December has been crazy and I have yet to see Biutiful (though I got a copy). I am looking forward to Throne of Blood, it has been a few years since I have seen it and in many ways it will all be new to me.

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    Fortinbras

    Thank you for the work you put behind the film club. I’m really interested in following, and I enjoy what you and others write about the films. I’m sorry I’m not very good myself at writing about the films I watch, but I will try.
    I have all the Kurosawa films and I’m looking forward to watching them again in this setting. I’m also looking forward to watching the non-Kurosawa films because I’m interested in what will be picked based on the theme from the Kurosawa films. Coriolanus is a fantastic choice for me. I’m interested in Shakespeare and have some films based on his plays, including Fiennes’ Coriolanus. I haven’t watched it yet, and look forward till February.

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    Fabien

    December has been a bit rough to me, and I don’t have Biutiful.
    And the last disc I got my hands on was, for Christmas, a rare copy of La femme enfant, which would only share distant connections with The Idiot; marvelous film anyway.

    I believe I can get Coriolanus, and it seems interesting.
    And I already have Spider’s Den-castle (as could be translated the original title, if I’m not mistaken – in the french title, we lost the “den” idea).

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    Ugetsu

    Vili, I didn’t see Biutiful because I couldn’t find a copy! Yes, i could have tried Amazon, but I only use them as a last resort, and none of the shops I tried here could get a copy. I kept trying, but then the time ran out.

    I am looking forward to discussing ToB as its something to look forward to in these long cold evenings.

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    Vili Maunula

    Thanks for the responses, guys! Let’s see how the year unfolds.

    Ugetsu: did you check your local Google Play store or Youtube? I thought Biutiful should be available for rental there. Am I mistaken or is that an avenue that you can’t use?

    I’m trying to pick films that are generally available, but it’s tough.

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    Ugetsu

    Vili, yes, its available on Youtube, I’m embarrassed to say it never crossed my mind to look there….

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    Vili Maunula

    I did mention Google Play / Youtube in my introduction to the film… 😉 But yeah, totally understandable. Personally, I don’t actually enjoy streaming films from Google’s services as I need to do it through Chromecast to get it to the TV and the sound ends up getting out of sync with the picture more often than not. Which I hate.

    But Google does seem to have a fairly good catalogue in English speaking countries, which has made it easier for me to consider some films.

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