Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Director's Place: Kyoto, My Mother's Place

GB/JP (c) 1991 BBC Scotland. D+SC+Presenter: Nagisa Oshima. DP: Yasuhiro Yoshioka - shot on film - Eastman Kodak. LOC: Kyoto. A documentary film. Format: video. Original in English: Oshima speaks in English, and the interview parts have English subtitles. 50 min. Viewing format: Betacam SP. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 Aug 2009. - An affectionate portrait of Nagisa Oshima's mother - she loved flowers in her garden - interviews with two of her childhood friends - Kyoto was traditional, the dress was the kimono - the wife's place was tough and hard - Kyoto was hot in the summer and cold in the winter - her fingers hurt with frostbite - serious, frank, tenacious - the woman's place: impossible to do anything but marry - arranged marriage - I was born in Kyoto, the family moved, but then the father died, the family returned to Kyoto - the history of Kyoto, the capital of Japan until 1868 - a city like a castle, strictly North-South = Up-Down - we lived South - Genji monogatari - Kyoto became the city of commerce - people believed in the spirits of the dead - I was the bespectacled schoolboy in an age that admired physical strength - I was crazy about history - Oshima was a long established samurai warrior family - Genji and Heike the samurai clans - the double power of the Emperor and the Shogun - slowly Kyoto changed into the capital of commerce and manufacture - during wartime, there was no big bombing of Kyoto - we were shocked by the defeat - the shortage of food was very serious - mother had to sell her kimonos for rice - calligraphy - KANNI = PATIENCE - Shingaku philosophy of the heart: don't gossip, don't meddle, careful with fire, patient with everything, clean up carefully - I could not be patient - student movement, student theatre: I was a clumsy actor, and not a promising director - 1954: assistant director at Shochiku Ofuna studios, expelled - Chiomi - graveyeard, husband's family, Japanese cemeteries different from the Western ones, paradise is far away in the West - my mother was not an original Kyoto woman, she was different, a stranger, but she looked like a born Kyoto woman - she kept to that way all her life - when I became a film director in 1959, married an actress and our first son was born I invited my mother to live with us - she devoted the rest of her life to our two sons - she said that she was deceived to become a nursemaid - there was a terrible truth in that joke - only once she left our home, but she returned on the same day, and my wife apologized - she was always cheerful, always with a sense of humour, always joking, never stopped smiling - never free - forced by Kyoto - Kyoto had such power - I hated Kyoto - but my life, my work, my kimono are from Kyoto

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