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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Shohei Imamura, 1926-2006

vengeance is mine.jpgBrilliant, contrarian Japanese director Shohei Imamura has died. “Imamura, a pioneer of his country’s New Wave movement, won the Cannes Film Festival’s [Palme d’Or] for The Ballad of Narayama in 1983 and The Eel in 1997,” writes the BBC. Other remarkable movies: Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, Eijanaika and the indelible Vengeance is Mine. “Imamura’s last work formed part of 11’09″01, a compilation of short films about events on 11 September 2001.” Agence France-Press’ Shigemi Sato quotes the great Japanese everyman actor Koji Yakusho, who starred in The Eel and Warm Water, “I feel so sad that we cannot see more Imamura movies that are original and powerful. He was a treasure of Japanese cinema.”[Notes from a retrospective here.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
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“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
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