Haiku reflections on Japan

Tora! Tora! Tora!

What a fine film is

Tora! Tora! Tora! To

this day a pleasure…

to watch.   I bought the film this week because I came across it in a shop for as little as 3 euros.  Sugoiiiii!!   Then a couple of days later, it was on television as well.   Nice to have it on dvd though.    I had seen it before of course given that it`s on my list of films in the Film Homage page.    But taking time to watch it again was  nice.  I noticed things in the film that I hadn`t before which often happens to you when you watch a film a few times.  The laidbackness of the US army was incredible but in some parts it was really farcical – a bit like a situation you`d expect from the famous novel Catch 22.    I also noticed actors in it I had not recognised before.   Two more actors from Tokyo Story.  I realised before that Soh Yamamura who played Yamamoto was in Tokyo Story (the son who`s a doctor) but the guy who plays Admiral Nagumo was in Tokyo Story too and it was only when I listened to the directors commentary that I realised that I had watched the whole film without copping it.   As I said elsewhere, I don`t always like to watch these commentaries but this one was very interesting.  Though I think the actual director should have spoken more as the main person speaking was actually a man who had written a book /books on Kurosawa and the actor Toshiro Mifune.   Ok he`s an expert on Kurosawa (more about him in a minute) but he kind of dominated the commentary.   It was in interview form to be fair and maybe the director didn`t mind it but listening to this guy go on was a bit much at times.  I thought it was about Kurosawa and not the film itself at times.  Anyway, one thing which amused me and which I noticed myself in the film was that some of Japanese actors were overacting in parts.   One example is on the flight deck of the air carrier with the air pilots (very cheerful chaps they were).  And it turns out that the Japanese directors had to be instructed by the American director to tell his actors not to overact.  Apparently, it`s common, or it was common back then at least, for a director in the film industry in Japan to get his actors to overact on purpose.  Strange.   Anyway back to the film and its actors, another person from Tokyo Story is the Japanese ambassador to Germany who signs the tripartite agreement with Germany and  later  shows up in scenes set in Washington.  These two actors played the two old friends of the father.  They all go out drinking when the father comes to Tokyo and they end up being out really late, annoying the hairdresser daughter.    I love that film as well.  Another actor who plays one of the lead airforce pilots was in Madadayo and Ran, two of Akira Kurosawa`s films.    I also learned for the first time that Akira Kurosawa was initially involved in this film but he ended up having his contract terminated for various reasons.    Anyway, it`s a fine film and definitely worth buying if you`re into Japanese history/war films.

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