From Film Comment (January-February 2013), with a few cuts made to this piece restored and the spelling of *Corpus Callosum (which Film Comment is determined never to get right, or even to acknowledge its former misspellings) corrected. I’ve retained their title, however, which is better than mine (“Mark Cousins’ Friendly and Innocent Odyssey”). — J.R.
“Much of what we assume about movies is off the mark.
It’s time to redraw the map of movie history that we have
in our heads. It’s factually inaccurate and racist by omission.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey can be an exciting,
unpredictable one. Fasten your seatbelts: it’s going to be
a bumpy ride.”
Delivered offscreen in Mark Cousins’ lilting Irish accent, this hefty promise and warning — only eight minutes into his lively, watchable, eight-part, fifteen-hour series — carries an undeniable thrill, even after one factors in the nod at the end to All About Eve, which suggests that some of the bumps along the way may be familiar and even predictable glitches. I haven’t read the book by Cousins (The Story of Film: A Worldwide History), written in 2002-2003, that served as his starting point and has already become an exorbitant collectors’ item on the Internet.… Read more »
Some thoughts on Kon Ichikawa, from the June 3, 1988 issue of Chicago Reader. — J.R.
AN ACTOR’S REVENGE
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Written by Daisuke Ito, Teinosuke Kinugasa, and Natto Wada With Kazuo Hasegawa, Fujiko Yamamoto, Ayako Wakao, Ganjiro Nakamura, and Raizo Ichikawa.
ALONE ON THE PACIFIC (aka ALONE ACROSS THE PACIFIC)
*** (A must-see)
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Written by Natto Wada
With Yujiro Ishihara, Kinuyo Tanaka, Masayuki Mori, Ruriko Asaoka, and Hajime Hana.
Scopophilia is a Freudian term that means the love of gazing, or pleasure in seeing. A punning use of the word often comes to mind when I consider the pleasures to be found in viewing ‘Scope movies. ‘Scope is movie buffs’ jargon for the anamorphic widescreen process known as CinemaScope (introduced by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953 with The Robe) and a number of similar wide-screen formats; they dominated commercial filmmaking across much of the globe for well over a decade.
While a certain number of American movies today still make expressive use of this Band-Aid-shaped format — Shy People is an outstanding recent example — most directors consciously avoid it because they know that at least a third of the image will get lopped off when their work gets transferred to video.… Read more »