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CompleteMartialArts.com - A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History, with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos


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Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 791.430952
EAN: 9784770029959
ISBN: 4770029950
Label: Kodansha International
Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 319
Publication Date: 2005-08-01
Publisher: Kodansha International
Studio: Kodansha International

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Editorial Reviews:

The authoritative guide to Japanese film, completely revised and updated.
Now available in paperback for the first time, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie, the foremost Western expert on Japanese film, gives us an incisive, detailed, and fully illustrated history of the country's cinema.
Called "the dean of Japan's arts critics" by Time magazine, Richie takes us from the inception of Japanese cinema at the end of the nineteenth century, through the achievements of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu, then on to the notable works of contemporary filmmakers. This revised edition includes analyses of the latest trends in Japanese cinema, such as the revival of the horror genre, and introduces today's up-and-coming directors and their works.
As Paul Schrader writes in his perceptive foreword, Richie's accounting of the Japanese film "retains his sensitivity to the actual circumstances of film production (something filmmakers know very well but historians often overlook) . . . and shows the interweave of filmmaking-the contributions of directors, writers, cinematographers, actors, musicians, art directors, as well as financiers."
Of primary interest to those who would like to watch the works introduced in these pages, Richie has provided capsule reviews of the major subtitled Japanese films commercially available in DVD and VHS formats. This guide has been updated to include not only the best new movie releases, but also classic films available in these formats for the first time.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A great read...
Comment: There are two reasons why I enjoyed reading A Hundred Years of Japanese Film. The first is I have many of the films the author writes about. From Late Spring to Early Summer, from Manji to The Seven Samurai, from After Life to When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, I have watched a small cross-section of Japanese movies and it allowed me to understand many of the points he was trying to make.
Also, the author Donald Richie, has done the commentary of many of the above films, which means I already have a feel of where he is going with his views and observations. Overall the author is a very serious person when it comes to Japanese films, how they developed and what has happened to them over the years. A great book for anybody already deeply interested on the subject.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Huge fan
Comment: I am a huge fan of Japanese cinema and this book was an excellent accompaniment to my already huge collection.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Too superficial
Comment: I've seen this book assigned as the basic text for top college courses on Japanese cinema, and seen it praised by Amazon reviewers. Much as I hate to write about books I didn't like, I must make an exception here for the sake of future buyers. This is not college-level material, and it's way below five stars. It is a 200-page plus list of names and titles put in narrative form, with a batch of overly concise plot summaries at the back. None of the authors, works or topics mentioned ever gets more than a few lines of attention. You will be lucky to find a full paragraph on anything that you find interesting. Surprisingly for a history of cinema, the book gives no in-depth analyses of individual works or filmmakers' styles, makes no mention of the institutional developments in the filmmaking industry, and fails to position works within contemporary aesthetic movements or intellectual debates. In a word, this book is too superficial to be of any use.

As others noted, there are some perceptive observations scattered here and there, but these only serve to show how much better this author could have done, had he conceived this as something a little more substantial. The thing is, as far as I know there isn't a solid history of Japanese cinema in English around, and we have to make do with what is available.

Edit: I stand corrected. There IS a new history of Japanese cinema in English in print: Isolde Standish, A New History of Japanese Cinema.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: He knows what he's talking about!
Comment: Donald Richie has spent a good part of his life living in Japan and has been reviewing Japanese films for just as long. He personally knows many of the film makers and so his reviews carry weight and are sensative to the changes in Japanese film-making. A must buy for the serious fan of films made in Japan.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: The heart and soul, and mind, behind Japanese movies
Comment: I scout around for shortcuts to the Japanese mind, having a mild interest in the subject. This is the best I've found. The text usefully comments on the Japanese temperament, traces through film the trends in that temperament over the first two-thirds of the 20th C, and through those trends gives insight into the experience of the Japanese, through their film directores, in becoming "Westernized." I felt it could give me as much insight as I was ready for. And of course once I needed more I could view the movies themselves--a useful guide to sources of video and DVDs is included. Wonderful writing, from a trustworthy guide. An enjoyable read.


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