Thursday, July 10, 2008

Teinosuke Kinugasa sources and links

Jujiro was the 55th film directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, out of a total of 118. So far I've seen four, and only one of those on the big screen, a Page of Madness. It may be a small number, but if there are people out there who have seen more of his films than that, not many are writing about them.

The most significant English-language tackling of the scope of Kinugasa's life and work, that I'm aware of, is still Robert Cohen's six-page article found in the Summer 1976 issue of Sight and Sound. There are few overviews to be found on the internet, though here is one and here is another. Many surveys of Japanese cinema history barely mention the director, though Donald Ritchie's tend to be exceptions. Most other discussions of Kinugasa zero in on a few films, usually a Page of Madness, Jujiro, and/or the 1953 Gate of Hell, which would become the second Japanese film after Rashomon to receive an Academy Award.

Kinugasa did publish an autobiography before his death in 1982, but I'm not aware of it having been translated into English. Another book that has been essentially inaccessible to me thanks to a language barrier is Marianne Lewinsky's book on a Page of Madness entitled Eine Verrückte Seite - Stummfilm und Filmische Avantgarde in Japan. I guess I should have studied a lot harder in my high school German class.

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