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Preview: Comments on jasongray: JG Podcast

Comments on jasongray: JG Podcast





Updated: 2016-12-04T16:34:39.408+09:00

 



The mutual appreciation is well known and surely p...

2007-07-08T16:51:00.000+09:00

The mutual appreciation is well known and surely provides the backdrop. With no track record as a director I was just curious how the French media "profiled" Matsumoto. The Kitano/France love affair set the precedent I guess.

Sometimes I think Japan (mainly Tokyo) wishes it were part of Europe, not Asia (Region 2 DVDs!)



I'm not sure, but I think there seems to be a mutu...

2007-07-07T22:51:00.000+09:00

I'm not sure, but I think there seems to be a mutual appreciation thing going on between people of a certain outlook in Japan and France. I think a lot is to do with style and asthetics - I remember seeing lots of Parisian-style boutiques in Ginza, less upmarket ones in Shibuya (I may be mis-remembering), and although I've never lived in France, I think it extends the other way to an extent. The classical era of Japanese cinema, especially Mizoguchi and Ozu seems to still be especially popular in France in particlar, possibily partly for this reason.

So I think that's been there for a while. Also, I think Kitano has been quite big in for some time, so French audiences may well have been primed for Matsumoto and 'Japanese humour' in general. He got quite a bit of press, and the screening was a high-profile one.

Off topic slightly; in Spain 'yellow humour' is a well-established TV subgenre. They love クレヨンしんちゃん and Takeshi's Castle there!

Tom



Tom,Thanks for the kind words. I've received some ...

2007-07-07T18:44:00.000+09:00

Tom,

Thanks for the kind words.

I've received some positive feedback on the blog and by email so I'll probably do another one. Not sure when, but I'm thinking late summer or fall.

It must have been interesting to see Dai Nipponjin in Cannes. What's your impression as to why French critics and audiences took to Matsumoto so quickly?



I really enjoyed this. I used to live there, and n...

2007-07-07T03:54:00.000+09:00

I really enjoyed this. I used to live there, and now work in film education...

I hope to hear more at some point - I found the cast an involving way of keeping in touch with what's happening in Japan. Would love to hear more reports.

I was at the Cannes screening of Dai Nipponjin, where it got big laughs throughout from a more or less 50/50 Japanese French audience. I thought it was too long, and could sense that others did too. In any case, the French critics and public seemed to love Matsumoto and his film (and of course Kitano, who was there too). The Hiroshi Ryuichi movies were popular there as well...

All the best, and keep up the good work!

Tom Vincent, Huddersfield UK



Man I would kill to get on a crew for one of my fa...

2007-07-03T03:58:00.000+09:00

Man I would kill to get on a crew for one of my favorite directors. You definitely never see open crew calls for any studio or mid-major production outside of maybe PA. For example, they've been shooting Indy 4 here in Connecticut for the last few days and I couldn't crack that set in an official capacity. It's even worse when you consider that Ct is becoming popular for filmmakers due to huge tax exemptions. Sam Mendes is literally shooting 40mins from me and I can't even get on their 2nd unit. What can you do...unions. Maybe I should be in Japan.



Imran,Thanks very much for the comments. Glad you ...

2007-07-02T11:56:00.000+09:00

Imran,

Thanks very much for the comments. Glad you enjoyed it (and did something productive while listening to it!). I may do another podcast later in the year.

The gaffer/director comment was a bit of exaggeration, but not much. In all my years here I've never heard announcements of how much an actor, director or screenwriter got paid (I'm sure someone can cite at least one example), whereas in Hollywood it's an hourly occurrence.

As an illustrative example -- the company producing Nightmare Detective 2 posted an open crew call on their website. I told them to hit the Film School of Tokyo. This is the sequel to a film picked up by TWC...



A little late to the show but I just wanted to say...

2007-07-02T06:18:00.000+09:00

A little late to the show but I just wanted to say it was a joy to listen to now that I finally got around to it. Always good to have intelligent film fodder to listen to while I'm hammering out this script. I thought the Kurosawa/Kitano comparison was very insightful. I hadn't thought about them in the same context as far as their respective current transitional phases creatively. Then again I've yet to see Retribution so I can only speak of Loft's unfocused madness. I had the opportunity to see one of the first international screenings of the film with Kurosawa in attendance at Yale's Kinema Club. He said quite candidly that after watching the film he can't help but think it was made by a mad man. Even though the film fails at almost every turn, it's always fascinating to watch an auteur trying to evolve through deconstruction. Hopefully he along with Kitano will return to a more orthodox path soon.

Also, I've always heard about hoe difficult it is for japanese filmmakers to make a living through their craft, but hearing you say that a Gaffer here in the west makes as much if not more than a director in Japan really put it in perspective. It actually makes me admire my favorite J-filmmakers more because it takes a tremendous amount of dedication to do what they do with so little financial security. Here even a moderately active indie filmmaker can make a decent living. Now I can see why someone like Miike would be compelled to knock out 7 films in a year!

It was great to hear Don as well. Anything topic sounds more insightful with a New Zealand accent! I have to disagree with his notion that Jo Odagiri is more of a Johnny depp type than Asano. Sure in the looks department Odagiri has a more traditionally handsome look, but the greater comparison for me comes in the skill department where there is really no comparison. Asano is the more interesting actor of the 2 and certainly the hardest to pin down creatively. He marches to a different beat much like Depp. That's not to say Odagiri isn't doing interesting work because he is and has been growing, but Asano still reigns supreme.

Hopefully you'll consider doing another cast down the road. Thanks Jason!



Maybe, but I'm reluctant to equate racist cops wit...

2007-06-29T12:37:00.000+09:00

Maybe, but I'm reluctant to equate racist cops with incompetent theater staff . . .

I was joking! But there must be something that links someone who gets harassed by the cops with recurring bad cinema experiences.

I didn't see Paris, je t'aime, but apparently Tom Mes is an extra in Tom Tykwer's segment.



Maybe, but I'm reluctant to equate racist cops wit...

2007-06-29T06:36:00.000+09:00

Maybe, but I'm reluctant to equate racist cops with incompetent theater staff . . . Besides, if I shave I'm afraid all the overcaffeinated girls in Shinjuku will mistake me for Brad Pitt.

Yep, used to be near Nakai (and Shimo Ochiai, and Higashi Nakano). Great location. (Bad apartment though--if any of your readers are looking for places to live in Tokyo, I'd strongly recommend they avoid rooms managed by Amms International.) Anyway, I still have pleasant dreams about the wonderful hours I spent at Toshimaen.

Say, did you ever see Paris, je t'aime? I watched it a week or so ago here. I fell asleep during the second half, but it had one segment directed by Suwa Nobuhiro, starring Willem Dafoe and Juliette Binoche (?!). The first thing I've seen him do since H Story.

Cheers again for the podcast. Looking forward to the next one!



Mike, I'm telling you it's the moustache and beard...

2007-06-28T14:50:00.000+09:00

Mike, I'm telling you it's the moustache and beard. You and the omawari, remember? It's a curse in Japan, unless it's grey and your name is Miyazaki Hayao.

I think you actually first told me about Toshimaen, Jason. I would have loved to have seen Zodiac there. Instead I saw it here at the local multiplex for $5 in an unused disabled persons' seat with about 5 feet of leg room.

NFC can be a little stuffy and/or smelly at times, but the projection is great, the selection is unbeatable, the price is unbelievable, and the sleepy atmosphere is totally forgivable. I don't mind falling asleep in the middle of some 1950s melodrama when the ticket only cost me 300 yen. Cheaper than a nap at a coffee shop!


Thanks for providing my laugh of the day. I just remembered you lived around Nakai stn., right?



I tried to post this last night but the text for B...

2007-06-27T07:18:00.000+09:00

I tried to post this last night but the text for Blogger's visual verification never appeared...Sorry this got so long!I know I'm a magnet for some things, but I always thought the bad experiences in Tokyo were just because I went to the theater so often. I always tried to justify it by remembering that I was seeing the films in the same environment as general audiences (as opposed to press or festival screenings). What I put up with is basically what everyone has to put up with when they go to see a movie in Tokyo. The bad facilities and incompetent staff seemed to indicate the sickly state of the industry.I went to Ebisu once or twice, but I don't remember it too well. It seemed to be really popular though...Kicking chair backs seems to be a problem in any country. Even in the States, if someone sits behind me I move immediately because, without fail, they'll kick the chair a dozen times during the film. But overall, the U.S. theaters I've been to are great. I go to see crappy Hollywood movies in the multiplexes here as often as I went to see multi-national movies in Tokyo theaters (two so far this week: "1408" and "Knocked Up"). There's no comparison. When something happens here (framing or focus is off, teenage girls jumping around, overweight NRA members explaining the plot to themselves out loud, etc.) I complain and the staff here apologizes and fixes it immediately. Usually someone else complains first or the staff fixes it on their own though.My favorite Tokyo example is probably when I waited in line early on a Saturday morning to see the premiere screening of Pistol Opera at Teatoru Shinjuku (complete with an appearance by Suzuki himself). When the movie started, the sound was low-volume mono (about as good as the Shinjuku Kokusai Gekijo) and the picture was about 20-25% off center for the entire film. I complained to the staff and they rudely dismissed me in front of a lobby full of people lined up for the next showing. I've complained half a dozen other times at other prominent Tokyo theaters and at best the staff brushed me off, at worst they feigned ignorance or ignored me completely. At 1800 yen a pop it's just not worth it. Out of all my experiences though, Japanese cartoons seem to get the rudest audiences in Tokyo (which really sucks, because Oshii's films are great on the big screen).>That's another level right there.Yep, believe it or not. Seems to happen every time I see a Crayon Shinchan or a Kon Satoshi film. I remember one time when an oily-haired guy was saying sweet nothings to the anime heroine on the screen for the whole film, while giggling to himself and opening and closing bags of potato chips. Several of the people around him told him to shut up or threw stuff at him but he didn't budge, and the theater staff didn't lift a finger. This was at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. (!) When I saw Tachigui retsuden, two stereotypical otaku opened cans of beer, started smoking, and gave running commentary throughout the film. After the movie was over they stood in the lobby and insulted everyone else in the audience because nobody understood the jokes as well as they did (or so they claimed). As much as I hate to admit it, Toshimaen (and probably the other major [foreign owned?] multiplexes) is a pleasant exception. I've never had to complain there at all. When I realized it was only a 30 minute bike ride away from my apartment, with 1200 yen late shows and a buy-six-see-one-free membership, I started to go at least once a week to the latest showing of anything that looked vaguely interesting, armed with a flask of a good single malt scotch and a bar of the darkest chocolate I could find. I saw Star Wars 3 there on screen 8 (I think?), the biggest screen in the theater. There were maybe 20 people in the room. Paradi[...]



mika a said,"trying to make friends with the chara...

2007-06-27T03:34:00.000+09:00

mika a said,

"trying to make friends with the characters on the screen"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

That's another level right there.



Hi Maxine! What a nice surprise. It was a sad day ...

2007-06-26T23:31:00.000+09:00

Hi Maxine! What a nice surprise.

It was a sad day indeed, but great to have everyone there.

I'm going to check out your new blog right now -- I'm sure it's a good one.


J
x



hi jason, found your blog! great stuff as i have o...

2007-06-26T20:52:00.000+09:00

hi jason, found your blog! great stuff as i have one too ... i've just begun mine so be good to have another blogger i know on board. was lovely to see you recently at anita's shame about the circumstances. i thought the day went really well tho. maxine



With the exception of someone snoring fairly loudl...

2007-06-26T16:39:00.000+09:00

With the exception of someone snoring fairly loudly during Kung Fu Hustle, I myself have never had a disruptive cinemagoing experience in Japan, not even The Incredibles, which was filled with kids because it was, after all, a Disney movie. In fact, I thought they can be a little too quiet during comedies. Then again, I've never been to the arthouse theaters (non-English films in Japanese-only subtitles wa dame dayo), so I wouldn't know.

About knowing Chinese and helping with Japanese, it helps with the practical things, like understanding a fair amount of signs, if you understand the way Japanese people use kanji (Japanese words can be different from Chinese words, even in kanji form). My Japanese friend went to Taiwan and he understood all the street signs because the Taiwanese has adapted the way Japanese use kanjis from their colonial period. On the other hand, he didn't understand the signs in Hong Kong. Go figure.

Anyway, knowing Chinese can also hinder kanji learning because one might keep going back to the Chinese reading of it when the Japanese pronunciation can be quite different. Same goes for grammar.



You guys must be magnets, because in all my years ...

2007-06-26T11:46:00.000+09:00

You guys must be magnets, because in all my years here I've had maybe one or two annoyances where I said something, but that's it.

In Toronto's downtown cinemas, for example, people are eating their plastic trays of Kentucky or nachos with cheeze, kids running in, kids running out, talking, kicking chair backs, f*cked up projection, the list goes on.

Though I have to say that when I saw Rocky 6 there, it was a great audience participation screening with people cheering and yelling "Yo, Rocky!" -- it was like being transported back to the fun of the 70s and 80s. That kind of thing would never happen here (even at the now-defunct Tokyo Fantastic Film Fest).

Funny you mention Toshimaen -- that's my local (It's about a 10 minute walk). I live on the 1200 yen late shows. The great thing is that all the screens are huge, regardless of the number of seats. Saw Zodiac there recently -- three hours of cinemagoing perfection.


NFC is excellent, too though it's so quiet and reverent (and geriatric), there's a danger of nodding off if it's a less than brilliant film.



Logboy:Does my bum look big on my blog?Mike:I thou...

2007-06-26T09:55:00.000+09:00

Logboy:
Does my bum look big on my blog?

Mike:
I thought I was a magnet for annoying filmgoers, but it seems I've got nothing on you. They seem to follow me wherever I go so I haven't gone as far as boycotting particular cinemas, and the only one that's reliably safe is the Ebisu Garden Cinema thanks to its draconian ban on food and drink (crap air conditioning though). The least comfortable indie/art cinema I know (without counting the little digital ones) would have to be Cine Amuse East/West in Shibuya.
I like the NFC too, although the prevalence of dried squid breath amongst its wrinkly patrons can be pretty damn distracting.



That was fun! You guys should do it again. It's al...

2007-06-26T06:23:00.000+09:00

That was fun! You guys should do it again. It's almost easier to enjoy Tokyo from the other side of a podcast...

I have to agree with Don about theaters. I've seen rude behavior in Japanese cinemas that would be unimaginable anywhere else I've been--people smoking in their seats, having conversations throughout the entire film, eating and throwing food everywhere, using cell phones, trying to make friends with the characters on the screen, etc. After a while I renounced Shibuya and Shinjuku art cinemas and tried to stick to the multiplexes (especially Toshimaen's cheap, clean, and empty late shows). When I had to go to an art theater I'd calculate the emptiest screening I could find, some odd hour of a weekday. The only Tokyo art theaters I still respect are Pole Pole, Laputa, and maybe Bungeiza. You'd have to pay _me_ 1800 yen to go back to Eurospace, Teatoru Shinjuku, Cine Amuse, Rise, or Image Forum.

The NFC is fantastic, of course...

Speaking of shashinshu, have you ever heard of Shojo M? As an 11 or 12 year old she was in an infamous nude photo book. In the mid-80s she starred in a 'maboroshi' Wakamatsu Koji film.



believe it or not, the first thing i thought when ...

2007-06-26T00:39:00.000+09:00

believe it or not, the first thing i thought when i heard don browns voice was "sounds slim... that's odd". dunno why. i have no objects or agendas for those potentially classed "overweight", it's just somehow you get a mental picture from a distance that's altered over time or not matched by meeting people in person... no that i'll ever meet any of you guys, so you can't punch me for what i said. :)

logboy



listened to it, late last night, after watching th...

2007-06-25T22:35:00.000+09:00

listened to it, late last night, after watching the second zatoichi movie... i quite liked it, i will get it a logboy certified mini woot instead of my prejudiced mega woot from before. it's great to hear voices, gets rid of those preconceptions about what you guys look like... didn't know you were canadian, jason, at least it certainly slipped my mind. why the british connection? why the love of morrissey? i've wondered about foreign fans of the smiths and how they take the very british lyrics.

The connection is that I was born in England and lived there when I was small. Other than my parents, my family are there. When it comes to music or clothing, I'm an anglophile, otherwise not.

oh, and it was good to hear don brown too, both of you sound far smaller and slimmer than i imagined, too.

Oi, what's that supposed to mean?! :)
Okay, I'm not Brian Blessed but I weigh in at about 12.5 stone.

Cheers



listened to it, late last night, after watching th...

2007-06-25T17:33:00.000+09:00

listened to it, late last night, after watching the second zatoichi movie... i quite liked it, i will get it a logboy certified mini woot instead of my prejudiced mega woot from before. it's great to hear voices, gets rid of those preconceptions about what you guys look like... didn't know you were canadian, jason, at least it certainly slipped my mind. why the british connection? why the love of morrissey? i've wondered about foreign fans of the smiths and how they take the very british lyrics. oh, and it was good to hear don brown too, both of you sound far smaller and slimmer than i imagined, too.

as for the content of the cast, well, it was interesting... i suspect it's the same for any english-speaking japanese-speaking (and living) person to quite get a grasp on just how many aspects of the culture over there (films, other things too i suppose) aren't entirely grasped when viewed from afar. nic rucka got a shock when i descended on his blog and in the last week and said as much - though i hit him with a long list of the kinds of things i would personally like to see - and the same goes for this podcast (if it continues - i hope so) with an additional mention for the idea of various figures entering into discussion with you, to talk about their history, opinions, latest films they've caught, how things work out there, tips, guidance, and anything else you could imagine might help flesh things out...

logboy



Within my immediate vicinity, the audience was lea...

2007-06-25T14:16:00.000+09:00

Within my immediate vicinity, the audience was leaning towards laughter. I can only recall the people around me being genuinely scared once (I don't remember what the actual scene was, but I do remember several of the girls screaming).

It might've been the case that a lot of people were scared, and were laughing out of nervousness. Or it couldn't been the case that the majority of the audience were scared but remained quiet. - thus making it difficult to gauge the audience's overall reaction.

I on the other hand was mostly laughing cause I thought it was funny.



Thanks for the comments -- it helps justify having...

2007-06-25T12:37:00.000+09:00

Thanks for the comments -- it helps justify having had to listen to myself for the hours I spent editing it.

Ian -- that's interesting about Retribution. Did the Toronto audience laugh/get scared in equal measures, or was it leaning toward laughter?

Golden Rock -- I've wondered if it's easier for someone who can read Chinese to get by in Japanese or vice-versa. I'd guess the former more than the latter. You can find a couple dedicated Sawajiri Erika uwasabanashi threads on 2ch, but I don't know what the latest is.



I'd like to add that when Retribution was playing ...

2007-06-25T11:12:00.000+09:00

I'd like to add that when Retribution was playing at Toronto After Dark film fest, the audience including myself were laughing at most of the scary moments.

There's just something inherently comical about those scenes with the flying ghost in the red dress.



I actually enjoyed it a lot as well, just because ...

2007-06-25T07:30:00.000+09:00

I actually enjoyed it a lot as well, just because I like hearing people who are knowledgeable in films shooting the breeze about what's happening in the film world. I would certainly love to hear more from you guys.

And I really really can't imagine anyone surviving in Japan without even knowing hiragana and katakana. I studied there with one year of Japanese under my belt and barely survived because I know to read enough Chinese to understand the kanji.

And what exactly are those Erika Sawajiri rumors about?