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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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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

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“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
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