Evidence has come to light that whales can live for 150 years or more. A harpoon with the date of 1880 in it was removed from a bowhead whale recently. Since whalers (then) didn’t shoot at calves, and whales tend to reach full growth in about 30 years, that makes that whale in the 200 year range.
“His greatness was that he never gave up trying to heighten the reality of each scene. He never made compromises. He never said that something or other ‘would do.’ Instead, he pulled—or pushed—everyone along with him until they had created the feeling which matched his own inner image. An ordinary director is quite incapable of this. And in this lay his true spirit as a director—for he had the temperament of a true creator. He pushed and bullied and he was often criticized for this but he held out, and he created masterpieces. This attitude toward creation is not at all easy, but a director like him is especially necessary in Japan where this kind of pushing is so resisted. In the death of Mizoguchi, Japanese film lost its truest creator.” —Akira Kurosawa on Kenji Mizoguchi (May 16, 1898 — August 24, 1956)
Often named as one of Japan’s three most important filmmakers (alongside Akira Kurosawa and Yasujirō Ozu), Kenji Mizoguchi created a cinema rich in technical mastery and social commentary, specifically regarding the place of women in Japanese society. After an upbringing marked by poverty and abuse, Mizoguchi found solace in art, trying his hand at both oil painting and theater set design before, at the age of twenty-two in 1920, enrolling as an assistant director at Nikkatsu studios. By the midthirties, he had developed his craft by directing dozens of movies in a variety of genres, but he would later say that he didn’t consider his career to have truly begun until 1936, with the release of the companion films ‘Osaka Elegy’ and ‘Sisters of the Gion,’ about women both professionally and romantically trapped. Japanese film historian Donald Richie called ‘Gion’ “one of the best Japanese films ever made.” Over the next decade, Mizoguchi made such wildly different tours de force as ‘The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum’ (1939), ‘The 47 Ronin’ (1941–42), and ‘Women of the Night’ (1948), but not until 1952 did he break through internationally, with ‘The Life of Oharu,’ a poignant tale of a woman’s downward spiral in an unforgiving society. That film paved the road to half a decade of major artistic and financial successes for Mizoguchi, including the masterful ghost story ‘Ugetsu’ (1953) and the gut-wrenching drama ‘Sansho the Bailiff’ (1954), both flaunting extraordinarily sophisticated compositions and camera movement. The last film Mizoguchi made before his death at age fifty-eight was ‘Street of Shame’ (1956), a shattering exposé set in a bordello that directly led to the outlawing of prostitution in Japan. Few filmmakers can claim to have had such impact. —Criterion
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To view more of Anastasia’s photos and videos, follow @anastasiatl on Instagram and visit her website.
“Traditionally, photographers are taught not to share their work before it’s finished,” says documentary photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind (@anastasiatl). “What if someone steals your idea, or the work turns out completely different than what you told people it would be about? Photojournalism is all about being invisible, but I think it’s more honest to show how I work and how I make my photographs.”
Anastasia’s Instagram account stands as a deep look into her photographic process. Since October, she has been working on a long-term personal project called Negative Zero that documents population decline in 19 European countries. She’s shooting entirely on 6x6 negative film using her Hasselblad and Bronica film cameras, but by holding her iPhone above the viewfinder and making photos directly through the ground glass, what she calls “the view from my belly button,” she’s creating a whole new subset of photographs that can be published and shared instantly on Instagram.
For Anastasia, being so open on Instagram “allows me to muse on my own process. To sound things out and be encouraged. It’s a way of pondering what I’m doing.”
Her integration of digital and analog expanded to shooting video portraits when she found herself in Ukraine during the outbreak of anti-government riots in Kiev. With a custom-built flexible mount for her iPhone that attaches to the camera body, she devised a hands-free system to record video while making portraits of protestors inside the barricades of Maidan Square. Through these video portraits, we are able to watch her subjects prepare to have their portrait made: we see the slight shift in their stance, their gaze tilting, and ultimately, the precise moment Anastasia releases the shutter. These videos bring her subjects to life and provide an immediate, living connection to the images that Anastasia will release this summer in a book entitled MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square.
Idina Menzel performs Let It Go from Frozen with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.
Thursday 4/10: We speak to songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez who wrote the music for the Disney movie Frozen (including Let It Go). Robert Lopez also co-created the musicals The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q.
"With brainswarming, the ideas of introverts aren’t as likely to languish like in traditional conversations, where extroverts tend to grab the floor. All ideas stand on equal footing, a single Post-It Note placed on the board." - Amen.
The Your Shot team hosted our first-ever community meetup on March 30, when members and photographers David Liittschwager, Deanne Fitzmaurice, and Anand Varma got together for a sunrise photowalk in San Francisco.
Digital Director of Photography Keith Jenkins and Your Shot Managing Editor Monica Corcoran reflect on the event. Thank you to the photographers who submitted their photos under #yourshotmeetup. We will be editing a selection from the photowalk for an upcoming post.