My framing practise essay has been simmering away in the background. I still have yet to really define my question/subject but I’ve been doing a lot of investigating about the subject of Japanese cinema that has opened up a lot of possibilities. The challenge I have been facing is which directors/films to pick and why these it makes sense to talk about these specific filmmakers. My choice of subject has always been focusing on directors such as Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi whose style has been defined as the classical style of Japanese cinema and then comparing and contrasting with the next generation of Japanese filmmakers who directly challenged said classical style such as Shohei Imamura, Nagisa Oshima and Hiroshi Teshigahara etc. Then there is also Akira Kurosawa as important as any other Japanese director, from what I can gather he wasn't necessarily interested in challenging the old style, more he simply wanted to make films his is own way. Though his films were also steeped in Japanese tradition his films are often described as 'Hollywood' films. Why is something that I'd need to delve deeper into but it could be that it could provide an interesting comparison.
In terms of time-periods my interest has always been on Post-World War 2 Japanese films but in order to really define that I would to define pre-war Japanese films, which is why people like Ozu and Kurosawa are interesting to me for this essay because they went through both of these periods in Japanese history. Ozu was making films but Kurosawa wasn't, and his career and reputation as a Director of global did not flourish until the American Occupation and the 'postwar' years. Fairly loosely ‘postwar Japanese cinema’ seems to defined as the immediate years following the surrender and the subsequent American occupation/Americanization of Japan. Once again, something that I would have to define in my essay.
Cinemas of the World by James Chapman. Has an a chapter that goes somewhat into the definition of the classical style of Japanese cinema.
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Aftermath of World War 2 by John Dower. Has an interesting chapter about cinema censorship during the occupation. The book is MASSIVE so it will take a while to get through but what I hope it will help me with is understanding the mentality of Japan and how that could be seen in the films of the time.
Arena: Akira Kurosawa. A fairly encompassing documentary that covers in fair detail Kurosawa’s greatest films. Mostly it focuses on his famous Samurai films such as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Throne of Blood, Kagemusha, Ran etc I don’t really think there was much I could take from this documentary other than historical facts. It opened up Drunken Angel for possible further study. Sadly it was lacking any information whatsoever of I Live in Fear/Record of a Living Being and Rhapsody in August, two films which Chris Hunt recommended to me.
Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character by Donald Richie.
Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context by Keiko I. McDonald. I was unable to find much in this book as it focusese on films that don't really interest me at this point in time but it does have a chapter on Drunken Angel which might open up some stuff.
Black Rain 1989 directed by Shohei Imamura.
Floating Weeds and The End of Summer a couple of Ozu’s later films. Floating Weeds is a remake of an silent film of his.
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence directed by Nagisa Oshima.
Godzilla???? As Phil pointed out Godzilla is the very literal visualition of the fear of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.