Daily Archives: February 4, 2018

Scopophilia

Some thoughts on Kon Ichikawa, from the June 3, 1988 issue of Chicago Reader. — J.R.

AN ACTOR’S REVENGE

**** (Masterpiece)

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 »