Teinosuke Kinugasa: Film History Series

Teinosuke Kinugasa, “Kurutta Ippeiji (Page of Madness)”, 1926/1975, Film Scene Gifs, Cinematogapher Kōhei Sugiyama, Seventy-one Minutes, Kinugasa Productions/New line Cinema

Born in January of 1896 in Kameyama located in the northern prefecture of Mie, Teinosuke Kinugasa was a Japanese film maker. He began his career as an onnagata, an actor who specialized in female roles, and performed in the silent films of the Nikkatsu Studio, Japan’s oldest major movie studio founded in 1912.

Kinugasa started directing in the early 1920s when Japanese cinema began using actresses in its films. He worked for various producers, including Shozo Makino considered one of the pioneering directors of Japanese film. Kinugasa became an independent director and producer to make what is considered his best known film “A Page of Madness”. Lost for forty five years, the film was discovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971 and re-released in 1975 with a new print and score.

Released in September of 1926, the silent film “A Page of Madness” is part of the work of the Shinkankakuha, an avant-garde group of Japanese modernist artists  known as the School of New Perceptions which sought to produce direct, intuitive sensations to its subjects through dramatic and theatrical strategies. Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature, is credited on the film with the original storyline and also worked on the film’s scenario with Banko Sawada and Minoru Inuzuka, who became well known for his later scripts on the Zatoichi film series. 

The film takes place in a countryside asylum where a janitor interacts with various patients with mental illnesses. His daughter arrives to visit her mother who happens to be a inmate in the asylum, gone insane due to her husband, the janitor. Feeling guilty, her husband had taken a job at the asylum to care for her. After hearing from his daughter the plans of her marriage, the janitor becomes worried due to the belief  that his wife’s mental illness might cause the marriage to be canceled. The stress of his wife’s condition and the impending marriage of his daughter causes the janitor to lose control of the difference between dreams and reality. He experiences fantasies of taking his wife from the asylum and his daughter marrying a bearded inmate. He finally returns to a sense of realtiy after his dreams of providing happy-faced masks to the inmates.

Teinosuk Kinugasa’s “A Page of Madness” and his later 1928 silent film “Jûjiro (Crossroads)”, the first Japanese film to be commercially released in Europe, are both praised for their inventive camera work, which has been compared to Germany’s Expressionist work of the same period. In “Crossroads”, Kinugasa dispensed with chronological construction and instead used flashbacks to stimulate the mind of the main character. He also used a drab gray setting and an experimental camera technique which focused attention on one significant detail at a time, such as a hand. 

Following a period of silent films, Kinugasa directed jidaigeki, period dramas most often set in the Edo period of Japanese history, at the Shochiku Studios where he helped to establish the career of  film and stage actor Chōjirō Hayashi, known by his professional name Kazuo Hasegawa. After the war, Kinugasa produced films for Daiei Studios, including lavish costume dramas and films such as the 1946 “Aru Yo No Tonosama (Lord for a Night)”, which won the first Mainichi Film Award for Best Film, and the 1952 “Daibutsu Kaigen (Dedication of the Great Buddha)” which was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1953, Kinugasa wrote and directed the 1953 jidaigeki film “Jigokumon (Gate of Hell)”. This film, one of the most internationally famous of all Japanese films, exemplified Kinugasa’s mastery of period film in its meticulous reproduction of a historical period. Produced during the golden age of Japanese cinema, the film was the first color work released by Daiei Film and also the first Japanese color film to be released outside of Japan. The film won the grand prize award at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, a 1055 Academy Honorary Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1954, and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color. Kinugasa’s film also won the Golden Leipard at the Locarno International Film Festival and the 1954 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

The director of fifteen films, many of them award winners, Teinosuk Kinugasa died at the age of eighty-six from cerebral thrombosis on February 26th of 1982 in Kyoto, Japan. He was the first Japanese motion-picture director to present his story from the point of view of one of the characters and thus create a subjective world in a film.  He also pioneered in the use of flashbacks and in the creation of a visual atmospheric effect. 

Note: Teinosuk Kinugasa’s “Page of Madness” is available in its entirety on YouTube located at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb6JEY3M_Ag

Second Insert Image: Film Scene, Teinosuke Kinugasa, “Dai Chushingura”, 1932, Starring Jusaburo Bando and Chojiro Hayashi, First Sound Version of the Classic Story, 139 Minutes

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Teinosuke Kinugasa”, circa 1912-1920, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Film Scene, Teinosuka Kinugasa, “Jujiro (Crossroads)”, 1928, Starring Akiko Chihaya, Toshinosuke Bando and Yukiko Ogawa, 88 Minutes

Gloria Grahame: Film History Series

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Gloria Grahame in Fritz Lang’s 1954 “Human Desire”

Gloria Grahame Hallward, born November 28, 1923, was an American film star, singer, and stage and television actor. After appearing on Broadway for several years, she was signed to a contact with MGM Studios in 1944 . Two years after her film debut in “Blonde Fever”, she was given the role of flirty Violet Bick, saved from disgrace by Stewart’s George Bailey,  in the 1946 “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Her contract was then sold to RKO Studios in 1947 which featured her in several film noir pictures, portraying beautiful, flawed but seductive, women.

Gloria Grahame received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role portraying Ginny Tremaine in the 1947 “Crossfire”, a film noir drama based on the theme of anti-Semitism. In 1950 she appeared with Humphrey Bogart in Columbia Pictures’ film “In a Lonely Place”, garnering praise from critics. Her very short role of nine minutes playing southern belle Rosemary Bartlow in the 1952 “The Bad and the Beautiful” won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Grahame appeared in two films directed by Fritz Lang: the 1953 film noir “The Big Heat”, a crime drama co-starring Lee Marvin and Glenn Ford; and the 1954 film noir “Human Desire”, playing the femme fatale Vicki Buckley opposite her jealous film husband played by Broderick Crawford. As her film career began to wane, Grahame returned to the stage and made several guest appearances on television, including “The Twilight Zone” and “The Fugitive”.

After an initial bout with breast cancer in 1974, which had gone into remission, Gloria Grahame was again diagnosed with its return in 1980. Despite her failing health, she continued to work on stage in England and the United States. At the age of fifty-seven in 1981, Gloria Grahame was admitted to Saint Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, where she passed a few hours after admittance. She is buried at the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. For her work in the film industry, Gloria Grahame has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An account of Grahame’s final years of life, based on recollections of actor Peter Turner, was presented in the 2017 film “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”.

Main Image reblogged with thanks to http://doctordee.tumblr.com

Tope Insert Image: Burnett Guffey, “Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart”, 1950, “In a Lonely Place, Film Still

Bottom Insert Image: Charles Lang, “Gloria Grahame”, 1953, “The Big Heat”, Film Still

Riz Ahmed, “Encounter”: Film History Series

Riz Ahmed as Malik Khan in “Encounter”, Directed by Michael Pearce, 2021

“Encounter” is a 2021 drama-thriller film directed by Michael Pearce from a screenplay written by Pearce and British screenwriter Joe Barton. It is a story of a recently paroled man, suffering from a mental disturbance, who abducts his two sons and flees on a road trip. The film stars Riz Ahmed as Malik Khan as the parolee, Janina Gavankar as  his wife Piya, and Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada as the two sons, Jay and Bobby Khan. Misha Collins plays Dylan, the mother’s new partner, and Octavia Spencer plays Hattie Hayes, the federal law enforcer attempting to retrieve the children.

In October of 2018, Film4 Productions and Raw, both British film production companies, agreed to produce the film. The principal photography began in October of 2020; by November of that year, all the cast members had joined the production. Amazon Studios became the distributor. “Encounter had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and an international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. It was later screened at film festivals in London, Chicago, and Philadelphia. “Encounter” appeared on Amazon Prime Video on the 10th of December in 2021.

Born in December of 1982, Riz Ahmed is a British actor and rapper. He has won multiple awards for his acting, including a London Film Critics’ Circle Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two British Independent Film Awards. He was also nominated for two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Ahmed appeared in the 2016 action film “Jason Bourne”, the Star Wars anthology film “Rogue One” as the character Bodhi Rock, the 2018 film “Venom” as Carlton Drake, and Ruben Stone in the 2020 “Sound of Metal”, which earned him his second Golden Globe nomination and his first Academy Award nomination.

Akira Kurosawa, “The Hidden Fortress”: Film History Series

Akira Kurosawa, “”Kakushi Toride sn san Akunin (The Three Villians of the Hidden Fortress)”, 1968, Starrring Toshiro Mifune, Cinematographer Kazuo Yamasaki

A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas’s Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.

Buster Keaton, “Neighbors”: Film History Series

Buster Keaton Remix from “Neighbors”, December 22, 1920 Release Date, Length: 17 minutes

“Neighbors” was a two reel silent film produced by Joseph M. Schenk for Comique Film Corporation. Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline wrote and directed. The film was photographed by Elgin Lesley and Metro Pictures was the distributer. The story followed the romance between the boy, Buster Keaton, and the girl, Virginia Fox, who lived in neighboring tenant buildings. Keaton’s actual father played the role of the boy’s father in this film.

The silent film, without any added soundtrack, is in the public domain and can be viewed here: https://publicdomainmovie.net/movie/buster-keatons-neighbors-1920

Reblogged with thanks to http://ensalada-de-lengua-de-pajaritos.tumblr.com

Francis Lee: “God’s Own Country”

“God’s Own Country”, Directed by Frances Lee, 2017, Computer Graphics, Gay Film Gifs

“God’s Own Country” is a 2017 British drama film written and directed by Francis Lee in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Josh O’Conner and Alec Secăreanu.. The plot follows a young sheep farmer in Yorkshire, England, whose life is transformed by a Romanian migrant worker. The film was the only UK-based production to feature in the world drama category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the world cinema directing award. It was released in the United Kingdom on the 1st of September 2017.

“God’s Own Country” was banned in some Arab countries due to explicit sex scenes between the two main actors. Romania was the only country in Easter European where the film was screened. The film won the Harvey Award at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, presented by the Teddy Awads program for LGBT-related films.

Note: The film is a quiet, moving exploration of loneliness and the beginning of intamacy between the two male characters. It is a quality story almost on par in its effect with the breakthrough feature length film “Brokeback Mountain”. It is available on disc from Netflix, and is online at Amazon Prime Video and Tubi.