A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Sun's Burial (Nagisa Oshima, 1960)

Isao Sasaki and Kayoko Honoo in The Sun's Burial 
Hanako: Kayoko Honoo
Shin: Masahiko Tsugawa
Takeshi: Isao Sasaki
Yosehei: Fumio Watanabe
Batasuke: Katamari Fujiwara
Chika: Tanie Kitabayashi
Yotsematsu: Junzaburo Ban
Agitator: Eitaro Ozawa

Director: Nagisa Oshima
Screenplay: Toshiro Ishido, Nagisa Oshima
Cinematography: Takashi Kawamata
Production design: Koji Uno
Film editing: Keiichi Uraoka
Music: Riichiro Manabe

A harrowing portrait of gangster life in Osaka, filmed with the kind of widescreen eloquence that Nagisha Oshima and cinematographer Takashi Kawamata brought to Cruel Story of Youth, made the same year. This is a cruel story of all ages in the Japanese underworld, with a remarkable performance by Kayoko Honoo as the ruthless young woman who survives (and perhaps thrives on) degradation. For a little perspective, see my comments on Yasujiro Ozu's Late Autumn, also from 1960.

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