The Fossil (Kaseki, 1975), based on a novel by Yasushi Inoue, is about the elderly businessman Itsuki (Shin Saburi), who is diagnosed with cancer while on a trip to Europe. The film was initially a television miniseries consisting of eight one-hour episodes because for Kobayashi and for many other directors, including Akira Kurosawa, the decline […]
Continuing In our new article series, in which writers select and discuss great director debuts to explore the possible origins of recurring themes or stylistic approaches, that often help to define the uniqueness of these one-of-a-kind filmmakers.
I began 2016 by watching a lot of Masaki Kobayashi. It was a year that year marked both the centenary of his birth, and the 20th anniversary of his death. My aim was to deepen my knowledge of his work, and to pay homage to a filmmaker I greatly admire by writing articles in which […]
Easy Tavern is an infamous inn on the edge of town, in the wetlands of the Fukagawa. The inn’s regulars are petty crooks and smugglers. Sadashichi, one of the smugglers, not only looks dangerous: he demonstrates his ferocity by killing a police officer. Yet it’s clear from the beginning that the director’s sympathies lie with […]
Kobayashi’s vitriolic portrayal of a society dominated by crime and corruption.
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 […]
In Kwaidan, Masaki Kobayashi adapts four Japanese moralistic fairy tales retold by the Greek-American expatriate Lafcadio Hearn in the early twentieth century. Mirroring each other, the four episodes present a carefully structured series of repetitions and counterpoints. Their protagonists are haunted characters who face the unknown while struggling with a traumatic past or a present […]
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, […]