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Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: How to be a Human Being (Ikiru, 1952)

The first shot in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru shows an X-ray. A voiceover reveals that this is the stomach of Watanabe, the film’s central figure, who is terminally ill with stomach cancer. An ordinary man suddenly confronted with death and the futility of his existence, he is desperately trying to find a meaning in life. Kurosawa […]

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Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: Affirming Human Dignity (Samurai Rebellion, 1967)

Masaki Kobayashi’s whole oeuvre is marked by his lifelong preoccupation with the complex relationship between the individual and society, the longing for freedom, and the struggle against oppression. Both as a member of the Japanese Imperial Army (the pacifist Kobayashi was posted to Manchuria during World War II) and as an artist, the filmmaker resisted […]

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Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: Inner Torments and Social Disease (The Quiet Duel, 1949)

In the long opening sequence of Akira Kurosawa’s The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru kettō), which takes place in 1944 in one of the Southeast Asian countries occupied by the Japanese, a man in a white coat is talking to another man who, dozing, leans against the wall behind them. The second man, his face hidden behind […]

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Architecture & Film Feature

New Otani Hotel, Tokyo as seen in You Only Live Twice (Dir. Lewis Gilbert 1967)

With the on-sale date of the first four titles of Intellect’s new book series, World Film Locations, fast approaching (September 12th), The Big Picture here publishes an extract from the Tokyo volume which features The New Otani Hotel as seen in Lewis Gilbert’s Japan-set Bond favourite You Only Live Twice. Tokyo’s 1964 Summer Olympics showcased […]

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Feature Reviews

Recommended: The Message (Chen Kuo-fu, Gao Qunshu, 2009)

Asian film enthusiasts will surely find their interest piqued by East Winds: A Third Window Film Festival which takes place at the Warwick Arts Centre from February 11-13 and includes titles from China, Japan and South Korea. The closing film of the festival will be Chen Kou-fu and Gao Qunshu’s excellent espionage thriller The Message, […]