Blog Archives

Unforgiven (2013)

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It’s nice to see some turn about being fair play in Lee Sang Il’s Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 cowboy eulogy, The Unforgiven, and in some historical sense it is in fact satisfyingly apt. The samurai period film and the American western have a long history of inter-relatedness, both thematically and as a matter of record. In 1954, inspired by the early films of American western directors like Howard Hawks and John Ford, Akira Kurosawa made what is … (read more)

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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

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I was looking forward to Clint Eastwood’s new film Letters from Iwo Jima, the companion piece to his excellent Flags of Our Fathers. Unfortunately, Letters is a far lesser film than Flags. Produced in the Japanese language and screened with English subtitles, it is a serious attempt to give an honest view of the Iwo Jima campaign from the Japanese perspective. Apart from standout performances by Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya, the movie is crammed with stock … (read more)

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Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

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“…an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”

The Age of Innocence

I couldn’t help but think of Edith Wharton’s witty summary of 19th century opera society as I watched Memoirs of a Geisha. Hollywood’s oriental-chic movie of the year is based on a novel narrated by a Japanese geisha, but written by … (read more)

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