Categories
Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: “No man is an island” (Hell in the Pacific, 1968)

The great outdoors – here a maritime space – is a protagonist in its own right in John Boorman’s two-character film Hell in the Pacific (1968). The two marooned soldiers, played by Lee Marvin and Toshirō Mifune, fight for survival on an uninhabited atoll and fight each other before facing together the hazards of the […]

Categories
Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: Tōru Takemitsu and Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri, 1962)

Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996), one of the leading Japanese composers of the twentieth century and renowned for combining elements of Japanese and western music in an innovative and original way, wrote the music for more than ninety films. He worked with some of the most important Japanese filmmakers of his time, including Masahiro Shinoda, Hiroshi Teshigahara, […]

Categories
Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: The Dark Side of the All-American Hero (White Hunter, Black Heart)

The heroic (white) male is at the core of Clint Eastwood’s cinematic oeuvre. However, the victory over evil is always overshadowed by the hero’s ambiguity. Harry Callahan’s (Dirty Harry, 1971, Don Siegel) chase of the criminal is an inner journey which results in a confrontation with the cop’s own violent impulsions. The serial killer Scorpio […]

Categories
Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: From Shakespeare to Kurosawa (Ran, 1985)

William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear was the main inspiration for Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, and this French-Japanese production shows many thematic and narrative similarities with Shakespeare’s play. Both works depict the fate of a man who has fallen from grace: Lear in the English play, Hidetora in the Japanese film. Both protagonists are old […]

Categories
Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: The Wedding (Andrzej Wajda, 1972)

Andrzej Wajda’s The Wedding (Wesele), based on Stanisław Wyspiański’s eponymous play (1901), retells the wedding of the poet Lucjan Rydel who married, as did Wyspiański himself, a peasant girl from the village of Bronowice near Krakow. The Polish artists and intellectuals of the late 19th century believed that these marriages would allow them to revive […]

Categories
Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: Red Lion (Kihashi Okamoto, 1969)

Red Lion (Akage), co-produced by Toho and Mifune Productions, is one of eight films Kihashi Okamoto made with Toshirō Mifune. The action takes place in the 1860s when the feudal system of the Tokugawa Shogunate was on the brink of collapse, and follows Gonzo, a peasant sent back to his native village with the mission […]