Archive for the 'Movies' Category

ドイツ無声映画ふたたび

February 5, 2006

愛読中の「街頭から見た新東京の裏面」に名を連ねる町々を、ちょうど線一本でつなげたら現在の銀座線になる。新橋、日本橋、三越前、神田、上野、浅 草など、すべては80年前に夢野先生が見たり聞いたり歩いたりした縁のある土地ばかりで、地下鉄に揺られる感慨もひとしお。そんなわけで、今日は京橋に 行って参りました。

東京国立近代美術館フィルムセンターで、ドイツ無声映画の2本立て=「巨人ゴーレム(1920)」+「キリストの一生(1923)」。先日雑誌の取 材でインタビューした無声映画の伴奏音楽家、ギュンター・ブーフヴァルド氏にご挨拶したところ、この間は渡しそびれて申し訳ないと笑いながら背広の内ポ ケットに手を入れたかと思うと、CDを一枚プレゼントしてくださった。私がもう一度観に来るのを知っていたかのような素早い対応。プロだ、と思った。

ブーフヴァルド氏は日本映画の作曲も手がけていらして、そのなかでもCD化されているのは鈴木重吉監督の「何が彼女をそうさせたか(1930)」。見ればドイツ製のCDなのですな。貴重な音源をいただいたからには、早速インタビュー原稿に取り掛からねば。

フィルムセンターでは普段から手ごろなお値段でドシドシ古き良き映画を上映しているので、これからもぜひ足繁く通いたいと思います。

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Der Student von Prag

February 2, 2006

No, I don’t speak any German, but I didn’t need to in order to appreciate “The Student of Prague,” a silent film directed by Henrik Galeen in 1926.

The National Film Center (part of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) is running a series of German and Austrian movies as part of the “Deutschland in Japan” initiative. I went in part to enjoy a quaint little movie on a depressingly rainy day, but also to listen to the work of accompanying pianist/silent film music composer, Mr. Gunter A. Buchwald. My editor and I were there to check him out in preparation for a magazine interview with Mr. Buchwald tomorrow AM.

Overall film rating: ★★★☆☆

I won’t spoil the fun by revealing too many details. Suffice it to say that the absence of CG and other modern conventions made for a ingenious and refreshing use of the silverscreen. The actors were stellar: their facial expressions spoke louder than words (well OK, they had to.) The silence of the actors built an uneasy tension throughout, and culminated in all-out insanity. Misfortune, deaths, and drunken craziness abound.

For this admirer of semiotics, I found it intriguing to connect certain recurring motifs like [cemetary], [flower], [mirror], [saw], and [letter]. They all came together beatifully, and tragically, in the end.

In a nutshell, this film chronicles the fall of Balduin, best fighter in Prague and a bankrupt university student by profession. He bargains for money to buy the love of a pretty heiress in exchange for his reflection in the mirror. Devils don’t cast their reflections in mirrors, right? Nifty special effects and chiaroscuro lighting to answer this question.

The film would have been just a laughable hodge-podge of jagged little movements were it not for the music. It would have been someone else’s tragedy somewhere far, far removed from Tokyo. Instead, people filled the theater. People stayed in their seats even when a M-3 earthquake hit. Mr. Buchwald brought color to this otherwise monochromatic film.

Am v. excited to interview him!

Best Gwynnie movie ever!

January 30, 2006

A theatrical adaptation of “Proof,” written by David Auburn and performed at the Trinity Repertory in Providence, remained one of the most memorable stages Kaoru and I had seen together in the U.S.

So heading out to Yurakucho for the movie adaptation of “Proof,” directed by John Madden and starring Gwynnie, was naturally a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon — and we both loved it!

Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine was sensitive and brilliantly low key. So much depends upon a subtly arched back, neatly gathered knees with canvas sneakers.

Hope Davis turned in a stinging performance as the intolerable older sister of Catherine’s. I love it that her voice changes into a whiny tone at every emotional pinnacle.

Jake Gyllenhaal was hunky and cute, but I adore his sister twice more. Haven’t seen “Secretary” (2002)? Great quirky-kinky movie. (Rated R for strong sexuality, some nudity, depiction of behavioral disorders, and language.) First and best Maggie movie yet!