Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pagan People

It is a silent film, where the dialogue is part of the score, which is extraordinary: folk music played on traditional instruments producing avant-garde effects.  The movie is even split up into chapters, with titles informing us of what is to happen next.  The results are incongruous, and we assume they are meant to be; these old cinematic conventions dressed up in brilliant colour and allied to a very modern technique (which has since dated slightly) to create an alienating quality that is ideal for capturing the foreignness of a pre-modern society.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

All Gone Now

In an excellent introduction to Ran Isolde Standish situated the film’s pessimism within the postwar trajectory of the Japanese film industry.  From the early sixties the number of films directors like Kurosawa could make became smaller; with the consequence that the time between projects increased and funds had to be secured from overseas, this film a co-production with Serge Silberman.  For Kurosawa this represented the defeat of a particular kind of cinema where it was the directors, and not the marketing department, that were in charge; Ran a memorial to a once vigorous industry that had been wrecked (largely) from within.  It is a wonderful interpretation; to which we could add…

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Case by Case

What is a generalisation?  It is a statement that is both truth and false at the same time.  Alternatively, and perhaps more accurately, it is a statement that can mean something and nothing.  To narrow it down still further: the better the generalisation the more individual the content it will contain; a good generalisation actually explaining something about a phenomenon rather than merely describing a few of its surface features.  The worst generalisations are those that can be applied to everything: humans have a heart.  Now we are getting close to where we want to go: there are some generalisations that useful and others that are superfluous.  If we were of a mind we could create a scale to rate them.