Much better still for Melancholia
PROFILEGuenny Pires, Director, Cape Verde
As a Cape Verdean filmmaker, I know the history of my country better than anyone else.
Guenny K. Pires,is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California, US. He was born on the Island of Fogo, Cape Verde , West Coast of Africa. He is a pioneer in film making from his native country. He is a multi award-winning filmmaker dedicated to bringing the history and culture of his native Cape Verde to the world’s attention.
Director Guenny Pires has dedicated the last 12 years of his life to his vision of providing a bridge to and an understanding of these often overlooked Creole cultures. – Guenny Pires.com
PROFILEAna Ramos Lisboa, Director, Cape Verde
Born in Furna Brava, Cape Verde, Ana Lucia Lisboa Ramos studied music in Dakar, and then turn to the drama before turning to screenwriting. After some experience as assistant director, she directed her first short film, Fear, in 1996, for which she was also a screenwriter, producer and actress. After this she directed several short films, fiction and documentaries, including Amilcar Cabral, in 2001, which was selected at the Milano Film Festival 2002 and Festival of the Islands of Cape Verde. Cape Verde, My love was her first feature film. – Africulture
Currently Ana Ramos Lisboa is under the name Ana Lucia Ramos on her Mubi profile. This needs to be changed.
PROFILEDidier Ouenangare, Director, Central African Republic
Didier Florent Ouenangaré was born in 1953 in Bambari, in the Central African Republic. He began his studies in Abidjan, before returning to France, continuing his studies at Rennes and Paris. He has directed many documentaries and the short film “Why Not?”. The Silence of the Forest (2003) was his first feature film co-directed with the Cmaeroon filmmaker Bassek Ba Kobhio. It is a unique film and was also the first feature film from the Central African Republic. – Africulture
Didier Ouénangaré died September 29, 2006.
Sebastien Kamba, Director, Congo
Sebastien Kamba born in 1941 was the first local filmmaker of some name in Congo’s early period, he produced several shorts in collaboration with mostly European (French) filmmakers and supported by French money. In 1973 he directed the first feature film in the Republic of Congo: La Rançon d’une Alliance.- Film Birth
Nadege Batou, Director, Congo
The problem of cinema in Congo Brazzaville (as in several other areas) is a matter of governance. But hey! We hope that when each of us understands what must be done, things will change. For the moment we hope for the best.
Nadège Batou, 30 years old is a young and passionate self-taught filmmaker Congo 30 years. First a journalist, she assisted her compatriot Alain Nkodia on a film called Ndako ago bandeko (The house of brothers) in 2007. This film is about the rehabilitation of street children was purchased by the New York company that distributes Indiepix Movies. From this experience with a professional director, Nadège Batou has taken great satisfaction and desire to participate in the primary residence of writing Africadoc held in Brazzaville in 2008. With this training, she developed the idea of a documentary film Ku N’kélo in search of water. For Batou, problems of access to drinking water faced by the population Brazzaville are a scourge that must be denounced. – Africulture
PROFILEBalufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, Director, Congo Kinshasa
Yes, I think that you can take any subject to convey a serious issue, whether consciously or not. Film is manipulative! So, in order to tell a story, you first of all have to win the spectator’s confidence. He or she has to let go.
Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda was born 1957 in Kinshasa, he studied sociology, history and philosophy in Brussels, Belgium. He was trained in cinema in France, United Kingdom and United States. As a writer and a poet, he signed some analysis on African Cinema. He’s also teaching cinema and has been invited by the New York University to profess in the NYU-Ghana campus in Accra. He made his first documentary, DIX MILES ANS DE CINEMA (1991), and returned two years later with THOMAS SANKARA (1993). THE DRAUGHTSMEN CLASH (1996) is his first fiction film. 10 years later he finished JUJU FACTORY, his first long fiction film. The text below was written for a scheduled retrospective which unfortunately was cancelled in the last moment. “JUJU FACTORY” invites us to read a dense net of references and allusions, names and phantoms, memories and nightmares; but the film is not just about decoding signs. “Juju Factory” itself is about reading. It’s a story about a neighbourhood; a neighbourhood connected to distant places, culture and politics; evoking images that need to be read. The question is how? We often see people reading – in bars, in bed, in tramways. Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda leads us through Matongo, a district in the South of Brussels, renamed after the marketplace and the commercial district with the same name in Kinshasa, with the help of the writer Congo Kongo and his despotic editor Joseph Desiré. As we might know from the documentary by Raoul Peck, “Lumumba: Death of a Prophet” (1992), the spirit of the first Congolese Prime minister (assassinated by a wide international conglomerate, and, finally, the Belgians) roams from time to time through the streets of Brussels.
In “Juju Factory”, the face of Pactrice Lumumba cross-fades beyond the surface. His face is connected to the rhymes of young rappers. It looks back from the wall of the writers apartment. His photograph is framed as a precious souvenir inspiring poetic and thoughtful writing. Then the montage switches to an extract from the documentary by Thomas Giefer “Mord im Kolonialstil”. We see Gerard Soete; the man who finished off the conglomerate’s dirty work. He laughs while holding two teeth in his hands two teeth dislodged from Patrice Lumumba’s head. Finally, these transfers of remembrance lead to the whispered question: What have we made of ourselves?
The strategies of the two filmmakers re-creating the presence of Lumumba differ on a quite intersting and symptomatic level. With “Juju Factory”, his first long fiction film, Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda creates an inhomogeneous narrative. It is difficult to define and certainly easier to say what it is not. He refuses the category “theme”; prefering to think in phases. So, instead of following threads woven throughout all of his films, it might be more productive to examine and emphasize Bakupa-Kanyinda’s attitude of “becoming minor”.
When he shot his second film “Thomas Sankara” in 1991 he also had a long version in mind; but financing was impossible. The twenty-four minutes of “Thomas Sankara” are far from being heroic. The tone is intimate; affectionate without investigative gestures. Again and again there are close ups of eys; a mouth; hands; film-excerpts of Thomas Sankara, who gave Burkina Faso its name, “The Land of Upright People”. But Bakupa-Kayinda is not interested in glamourous rhetoric; footage which can be easily found now on Youtube. His montage builds silent interactions of complicity, an illusion of sitting around the same table even though Sankara isn’t there anymore. The aestetic reminds one of his “Dix Mille Ans de Cinema”, also shot in 1991 in Ouagadougou. “Dix Mille Ans de Cinema” and “Thomas Sankara” are two shorts presented for the FESPACO and its audience four years after the assassination of Thomas Sankara. It is a film “no Burkinan could have made at the time”.
Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda starts things right in the middle. He doesn’t explain — if there was something to explain it could be found in the eye of the other. This is possibly an adaption of an idea of Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety — one of the protagonists in Dix Mille Ans de Cinema. With acute sensitivity, Mambety insists cinema begins by looking in someones eyes and that images and narrative structure evolve after closing them.
There is someting courageous in the decision to start a filmmaking career with two pieces devoted to friends; friends in politics as well as in cinema. Bakupa-Kanyinda is part of a new generation. Born in the same year as John Akomfrah and Spike Lee, he more likely refers to Djibril Diop Mambety then to Ousmane Sembene. “Becoming minor” doesn’t mean to retire from virulent matter rather it describes an aesthetic relation to its subject. He won’t play the educator. In an extensive interview published on the Thomas Sankara website Bakupa-Kayninda draws another link between his first two short films; between Thomas Sankara and cinema. “Since 1987, after the death of Thomas Sankara, the franophone africain cinema lost its politic contemporaneity. It could have made the choice, as in the film by the Burkinabe master Idrissa Ouedraogo, to choose the sustenance of the village instead of dying of the misery in the city.”
Unlike Raoul Peck who didn’t retire after his essayistic approach “Death of a Prophet” until eight years later, he succeeded in realizing the long feature version of “Lumumba” — a detailed reconstruction of the steps towards independence, conspiracy and the circumstances of Lumumbas death. He maintained his distance by kind of “writing history” through film. A similar project about Thomas Sankara would have certainly been a tremendous exertion. Bakupa-Kanyinda follows another narrative desire. It will be six years before his highly commended “The Draughtmen Clash” is out in the world. The film is a bitter satire about a charcter named Mobutu Sese Seko, formerly known as Joseph-Désiré (!) Mobutu. It’s an intimate play about playing checkers and a dangerous play withthe dictatorial regime doesn’t come frome a superior point of view but from asides. The picture begins with the guards playing checkers while insulting each other with explicit verbal barbs. Later, when the peoples’ champion plays checkers with the dictator, and, somehow stoned, not only starts winning but insulting “Papa National”. On walkie talkies outside, the same guards comment on the game that the peoples’ champion is going way to far. A middleman reminds his collegues that talking harshly against an opponent is part of the game. With an internalised belief in the “righteousness” of the reigning powers, the other guards insists that speaking against authority is not permitted. Completely identified as servants of the regime they verbally abuse each others’ mothers as bitches and won’t stand for impertinant speech — which is just speaking out loud what the people are thinking. They know all too well that this kind of speech can only be punished by death. The slapstick and the comic would be just too dangerous.
Only two years later Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda realizes three short features, “Bongo Libre”, “Article 15bis” and “Watt”. While “Bongo Libre” connects to “Thomas Sankara” not only formally because it’s a documentary and portrait of the president of Gabon El Hadji Omar Bongo, but also on a more personal level. During the shooting of “Thomas Sankara” Bakupa-Kanyinda learned Omar Bongo did care about Thomas Sankaras’ wife and children after his death. His concern enabled them, to stay in Gabun for some time. “Article 15bis” connects somehow to “The Draughtmen Clash”. We stay with the guards and humor. With just few positions of the camera, some street in a rich suburb of some larger city, the radius of perception follows the gaze of the guards. Again an intimate play about downplaying… in a literal sense as well as in a more abstract one.
Bakupa-Kanyinda achieved a very elaborated expertise in finding the right tone – in gestures and speech: mockery, irony, insult, subjection. A fifteen-minute microcosm of playing power and powerplay. What fiction allows; work with actors and speech, a subversive accent or overdone habits which can be played and shown as such – all that needs another strategy in documentary filmmaking. A repetitive voice whispering from the off structure “Bongo Libre…!”: okumé, manganese, uranium, petrol, dollar. The battle around resources happens beyond the rhetoric of liberty.
“Bongo Libre…!” (1997) is a portrait of El Hadji Omar Bongo, who became president of Gabun in 1967 in the age of 31. He has managed to stay in office until now; becoming the world’s longest serving ruler. He survived Gnassingbé Eyadéma from Togo, Mobutu Sese Seko, Malawi’s Kamuzu Banda – and Fidel Castro. There is hardly anything excentric about the country nor the president. Making a film about Gabun and Omar Bongo is, probably, making a film about a possible african normality. Somehow, it is the opposite of the spectacular investigative documentaries about child soldiers, tilapia, diamants, smuggling of arms or food scandals. Bakupa-Kanyindas montage evolves around a precise use of official fotography, international meetings, handshakes, signing contracts, and negotiating, juxtaposed with official privacy, peculiar extensive shoots of the presidents daughter wedding ceremony, a tiring ritualised society dance inter-cut with interview scences with the president himself. The filmmaker doesn’t position himself in the role of some kind of notably clever journalist; his questions evolve more as a suggestive commentary; knowing too well that such an experienced politician won’t say anything wrong but praising youth and liberty.
As in his following documentary, the UNESCO financed “Afro@Digital” (1999), Bakupa-Kanyinda won’t have any interest in using images as illustrative material, as proove or antithesis; but neither he trusts the image as such. Still it remains difficult to describe the slight differences. Explaining his montage in an interview with Olivier Barlet he refers to kasala, the language of the Kasaï griots: "The kasala are very moving to listen to, especially when you understand how they function – not through emotions, but through images that the narrator conjures in you, the images of a brave past, of the present and future. Unlike the Malian griots, kasala performers do not glorify a person. They position him in a lineage, or a territory in a lineage. I thus wrote my texts starting out from a sculpture that is very close to the intertwined structures of the kasala. I applied this to my film “Dix mille ans de cinéma”. I first of all wrote it as you would a kasala, by trying, on a visual level, to weave what is said into what is filmed. Within the narrative sphere, I constantly tried to create this weave, which appears unstructured, but which becomes structured because that is how it’s meant to be. John Akomfrah from Ghana manages to create this same weave."
The Kasala language seems to fit perfectly in the digital mindset of “Afro@Digital”. It reflects an Africa which is in between and everywhere, the most profitable place for wireless operators, the origin of mathematics as the ishango bone might proove . The film dazzles of digital euphoria. It also reflects on new possibilities of filmmaking: Bakupa-Kanyinda uses a digital camera for the first time. In the end, he shot sixty hours of film from eight African countries with thirty different interviews. Yet, from the abundance of footage, he’ll wrestle only a single image.
“Juju Factory” also profits from these new possibilities of the DVcam. At the end of his long struggle, the writer Congo Kongo indeed has a book with a fancy cover: simple white with a red banderole. The design of a non-place enters the cultural machine. The muddleheaded and nightmarish images are gone, their concreteness is given away to the imagination of the reader. Young Belgian students and journalists are fascinated. They read passages and want to know about a new philosophy and if the writer did really fuck in a museum… The productiveness of misunderstanding is on its way. Maybe that’s “Juju Factory”.
Please add Jane Winton to the cast of The Patsy (1928), Hell’s Angels (1930), Sunrise (1927), and Don Juan (1926).
A rather reserved beauty who at one time was publicized as “the Green-Eyed Goddess of Hollywood,” Jane Winton turned up in films in the mid-‘20s, usually playing patrician girls but once in a while showing up among the working stiffs as well. She was beautiful and regal as Donna Beatrice in Don Juan (1926), vying for the favors of John Barrymore with the likes of Mary Astor and June Marlowe, and an extremely seductive model, long blonde wig and all, opposite Clive Brook’s artist in Why Girl Leaves Home (1926). Also fondly remembered are Winton’s rather unsuccessful attempts to offer George O’Brien a manicure in the classic Sunrise (1927), a brief scene but well executed by both. Despite a small but showy part in Hell’s Angels (1930), the advent of sound did her no favors, and Winton was later one of the many fading Hollywood stars vainly attempting to start afresh in England. She was at one time married to screenwriter Charles Kenyon.—allmovie guide
“I am the dream of my life.”
Gábor Bódy (30 August 1946 – 25 October 1985) was a Hungarian film director, screenwriter, theoretic, and occasional actor. A pioneer of experimental filmmaking and film language, Bódy is one of the most important figures of Hungarian cinema.
Bódy was born in Budapest, in an urban middle-class family. He studied history and philosophy at Loránd Eötvös University and later filmmaking at the Academy for Theater and Film Arts. During his university days he became an influential member of the Béla Balázs Stúdió (BBS). He made his first film A Harmadik (The Third) (a documentary about students preparing an adaptation of Faust on stage) in 1971. He established various experimental and avantgarde projects at BBS including the Film Language Series in 1973 and the K/3 experimental film group in 1976, reshaping the postwar Hungarian avantgarde film’s path.
In 1975 he completed his debut feature at BBS, which was also his graduation thesis film at the university. Amerikai Anzix (American Torso) won the Grand Prize for best new filmmaker at “International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg” and the Hungarian Film Critics prize for best first film. The film which depicts the lives of Hungarian 1848 Revolution veterans in the American Civil War features Bódy’s experimentalism at the fullest. The whole film was re-edited using his own method called “light editing” in order to make it resemble a wracked silent film from the late 19th century.
His next feature Narcisz és Psyché was the largest-scale Hungarian production of its era. This epic production based on Sándor Weöres’s poetic work Psyché starred Patricia Adriani, Udo Kier and György Cserhalmi and exists in three versions: an original 210min two part version, a 136min version for foreign distribution and a 270min three part television version.
In 1980 Bódy began to work on the first international video magazine INFERMENTAL and managed to publish the first of 10 issues (plus one special issue) while on a residency at DAAD Berliner Küunstlerprogram in 1982. The series published featured a range of guest editors and in total included work from over 1500 artists from 36 countries and was published up to 1991.
After many frustrated projects Bódy managed to complete what was to become his final feature film Kutya éji dala (Dog’s Night Song). Bódy cast himself as the lead in this ambitious and influential feature which incorporated Super8 and video footage as well as a range of Hungarian underground punk bands of the time in order to a film “deeply rooted in the fundamentals of today’s reality.”
In 1985 Bódy died under sketchy circumstances. A later published information (2001) hints his earlier collaboration (1973–1983) with the Hungarian Secret Police, the III/III. Authorities of the time (Hungary was then considered a ‘satellite’ country of the Soviet Union) stated that he had killed himself. His widow instead preferred a charge of murder against certain unidentified parties. No official investigation followed and Bódy’s fate remains a mystery to this day. —Wikipedia
Still for Diary of a Yunbogi Boy.
New photo suggestion for Emile Hirsch
Still suggestion for The Dreamers
Doug E. Fresh
Belly buttons are cool!
George Seaton has two profiles. Please combine both.
1. George Seaton
2. George Seaton
I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.
Raft spent his childhood in the tough Hell’s Kitchen area of New York, then left home at 13. He went on to be a prizefighter, ballroom dancer, and taxi-driver, meanwhile maintaining close contacts with New York’s gangster underworld. He eventually made it to Broadway, then went to Hollywood in the late ‘20s. At first considered a Valentino-like romantic lead, Raft soon discovered his forte in gangster roles. He was the actor most responsible for creating the ’30s cinema image of gangster-as-hero, particularly after his portrayal of coin-flipping Guido Rinaldo in Scarface (1932). He was highly successful for almost two decades, but then bad casting diminished his popularity. By the early ’50s he was acting in European films in a vain attempt to regain critical respect, but he was unsuccessful. He starred in the mid-’50s TV series “I Am the Law,” a failure that seriously hurt his financial status. In 1959 a Havana casino he owned was closed by the Castro government, further damaging his revenues; meanwhile, he owed a great deal to the U.S. government in back taxes. In the mid ’60s he was denied entry into England (where he managed a high-class gambling club) due to his underworld associations. Most of his film appearances after 1960 were cameos. He was portrayed by Ray Danton in the biopic The George Raft Story (1961).—allmovie guide
Pride & Prejudice
Paris, je t’aime
A Very Long Engagement
The White Ribbon
Good Night, and Good Luck.
New still suggestion for Fando y Lis taken by myself
Also, it would be nice to include Diana Mariscal to the cast of Fando y Lis. You have the actor for Fando listed but not for Lis :(
A picture and a quote for Patrick Tam (http://mubi.com/cast_members/4249):
[About himself, Tsui Hark and Ann Hui]: We tried to inject some energy, to revitalize local cinema, and we tried to devote the best of our ability to work on that. It was a healthy climate at that time for this.
From this interview:
Picture and quote for Wong Jing (http://mubi.com/cast_members/79610):
[Talking about art movies] I am not professional in that category. I am professional in commercial movies. If I do an art film, I am an amateur, why should I do an amateur film?
Just a suggestion for Boxers
Emily Hubley’s first feature film, The Toe Tactic had its theatrical premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in January 2009 and was released on DVD by Kino International in the Fall. In 2008, the film screened at numerous prestigious film festivals including SXSW, New Directors/New Films and the San Francisco and Rio de Janiero International Film Festivals. The Toe Tactic was developed at the Sundance Institute’s 2002 Screenwriters’ and 2003 Filmmakers’ Labs. She was in the first class (2004) of Annenberg Film Fellows named by the Sundance Institute.
In 2009, Ms. Hubley toured with the film to museums, art houses and universities, often with programs of her shorts and/or those by her parents, Faith and John Hubley.
Ms. Hubley has been making animated shorts for thirty years. Her hand-drawn films explore personal memory and the turbulence of emotional life. Her narration delivers concrete stories while visual elements question and embellish the meaning of specific ideas. Among Hubley’s shorts are Octave, Pigeon Within, Her Grandmother’s Gift (in collaboration with her mother Faith), The Tower (in collaboration with her sister Georgia) and Delivery Man.
Ms. Hubley’s shorts have shown at film festivals, including Sundance and South by Southwest; programs of her films have been presented at The Museum of Modern Art, the Tribeca Film Festival, Ocularis/Galapagos Art Space and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. In addition to the screenings of her feature, Ms. Hubley continues to present programs of her animated work, most recently at The International Animated Film Festivals in Poznan and Krakow, Poland and in China.
This year, Ms Hubley completed animated pieces for In Mother Words, a new play that premiered at Hartford Stage in February 2010 and was produced at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles (Feb – May 2011). She completed a musical short, commissioned by Victor Campos/Creative Outlet Productions and based on the song, Hail, composed and performed by Hamell on Trial. She is currently creating a poetic short, and ever with voices: Kevin Corrigan and Emily McDonnell and music by Yo La Tengo.
Ms. Hubley created the animated sequences for John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig And The Angry Inch. With associate Jeremiah Dickey, she provided inserts for documentaries Everything’s Cool and Blue Vinyl by Judith Helfand & Dan Gold, The Boy In The Bubble by Barak Goodman & John Maggio. Her company, Hubbub Inc., created short form series’ for the cable networks Nickelodeon and Lifetime.
Last year’s projects include Disturbing the Universe: Radical Lawyer William Kunstler, directed by Emily and Sarah Kunstler and What’s On Your Plate? directed by Catherine Gund.
A daughter of pioneer animators Faith and John Hubley, Emily worked on Faith Hubley’s films at The Hubley Studio, Inc. from 1977 to 2001. She lives in South Orange, NJ. -emilyhubley.com
Jonathan Ke Quan
Jonathan Ke Quan (born August 20, 1971) is an American actor and stunt coordinator. He is best known for his appearances in the 1980’s films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies.
Quan was born Quan Kế Huy (Hán tự: 關繼威) in Saigon, South Vietnam, and was forced to leave his country when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam was defeated during the Fall of Saigon. His family was selected for political asylum and immigrated to the United States. He became a child actor and at age 12, starred as Harrison Ford’s sidekick, Short Round, in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After being cast, his family changed his name to Ke Huy, the name by which he is credited on film. Another notable role was as “Data” in the 1985 movie The Goonies. He also appeared in the 1986 Japanese movie “Passengers” (Norimono) with the Japanese idol singer Honda Minako.
He attended Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California. After high school, he graduated from the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. He is fluent in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.
In 1986, he played Sam on the short-lived TV series Together We Stand (1986–1987) and played Jasper Kwong in the sitcom Head of the Class from 1989 to 1991. He also starred in the movie Breathing Fire (1991) and had a cameo in Encino Man (1992). He last appeared onscreen in the 2002 Hong Kong movie, Second Time Around, alongside Ekin Cheng and Cecilia Cheung.
Having studied Tae kwon do under Philip Tan on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he later trained under Tao-liang Tan. He worked as a stunt choreographer for X-Men and The One. -Wikipedia
Please add a photo of Arthur Crabtree
and Thorold Dickinson
and Alexander Mackendrick
and Robert Hamer
and Jessie Matthews
Zoe Lister-Jones grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of two artists. She graduated with honors from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied at the Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School. Lister-Jones wrote and starred in her critically acclaimed one-woman show entitled “Codependence is a Four Letter Word”, which premiered at NY’s P.S. 122, in November 2004. Additionally, she has completed her first screenplay, entitled “Dolly”, which is in the midst of pre-production. For a number of years, she toured the city with the glam rock art band, Maxi Geil, playing at venues such as Joe’s Pub, Luxx, and Galapagos, for which she was heralded by Culture Bunker Magazine as “Olivia Newton-John on glue.” (IMDb)
Better stills for:
A Humble Life.
Kyoko and Kagawa should be Kyoko Kagawa. By the way, her page could get improved:
Early in her career, Kyoko Kagawa worked in various film genres, specializing in the roles of innocent and sincere girls. She established her expertise at portraying this type of character in such roles as the kindhearted daughter in Mikio Naruse’s Okasan, as the youngest and most sensitive daughter in Ozu’s Tokyo monogatari, and as the student who tragically dies defending her native Okinawa in Tadashi Imai’s Himeyuri no to. Throughout her early performances, Kagawa demonstrated an acting style that was very natural, pragmatic, and realistic.
Kenji Mizoguchi expanded her capacity for believable suffering by giving her lead roles as the enslaved daughter who sacrifices her life for her brother in Sansho dayu and as a wife who elopes with her husband’s employer in the Kabuki-inspired Chikamatsu monogatari. In the latter role especially, Kagawa showed the tenacity required to survive the physical conflicts of human emotions. Her depiction of the dramatic changes a woman undergoes from a protected, wealthy wife to an independent, passionate lover was without compromise. Her next portrayal, of a helplessly shrewish wife in Toyoda’s Neko to Shozo to futaru no onna, was a surprising departure, with a stylized cynicism replacing the naturalistic innocence that was her trademark. Kagawa’s success in this unusual role, contradicting the actress’s image, widened her scope and reputation.
After appearing once more as an ingenue in Kurosawa’s Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru, she starred in another peculiar and stylized role as the apprehensive wife of a kidnapped president in Kurosawa’s Tengoku to jigoku. In Akahige, Kurosawa incorporated both facets of Kagawa’s image by casting her as an innocent girl who turns into a nymphomaniac at night. The performance, which was alternately naively idyllic and knowingly horrifying, was the highpoint of Kagawa’s career. —Kyoko Hirano
Another synopsys for Mother.
Mikio Naruse presents a compassionate, resigned, and poignant examination of human struggle, perseverance, and sacrifice in Okasan. Juxtaposing the innocence and optimism of youth with the austerity of life in postwar Japan, Naruse reflects the gradual erosion of hope in the face of change and uncertainty: the town festivals that coincide with episodes of illness and death in the family; the Fukuharas’ fond reminiscence of their hectic life as young parents with a newly opened business, as Ryosuke looks forward to the laundry shop reopening despite his debilitating illness; Chako’s picnic at an amusement park that exacerbates Masako’s motion sickness. From the opening shot of Toshiko’s affectionate voice-over against the image of the resourceful Masako, arched forward, cleaning the house, Naruse conveys the understated and bittersweet image of his archetypal, resilient heroine – an unsentimental, yet graceful and reverent portrait of a tenacious, aging woman struggling – and literally yielding – against the interminable burden of poverty, heartache, disillusionment, and unrealized dreams. —Strictly Film School