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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #282  (Vol. 6, No. 33)  This edition is for the week of August 15--21, 2005.

Doors Closing and Doors Opening: Part One
 by William Moriaty
"The 40 Year-Old Virgin"
 by Mike Smith
Is Horror at a Turning Point?...Happy 50th
 by Andy Lalino
Changing Tastes Puts Column on Hiatus
 by Peter Card
Birthday Bash....King Kong DVD Update....Go Bucs
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Birthday Revisited....Get Me Clive Owen....Gas Pains....Jaws: The Story, Part 30
 by Mike Smith
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Asian Film Update by Peter Card

Changing Tastes Puts Column on Hiatus

I cannot express how many emails Iíve received asking me why my weekly updates are becoming monthly updates for Asian Film. Well in truth Iíve received no emails but the lack of columns fills me with guilt. Every week it is difficult to write about Asian film not because Iím lazy or out of ideas but rather Iíve discovered that my huge interest in Asian film is slowly receding. For the past 2 years, Iíve been intensively going through Japanese films from 1950-1980 with the occasional contemporary Japanese film as well as films from other parts of Asia. For much of that time, the amount of Asian films that I watched weekly greatly out numbered those from America.

Its was beautiful to spend such a long time with Akira Kurosawa, Seijun Suzuki, Kinji Fukasaku, Takeshi Kitano, Wong Kar-Wai and so many other Asian directors. I really got a feel for these directorsí artistic intentions and outlook on living.

Unfortunately, my column began after already watching most of these directorsí films or at least those that are available in the United States. I could watch their films again each week to re-inspire the love I had for the films I saw, but my desire is to move on. I donít buy every film I see and even those I buy I often do not re-watch for many months and some viewings are over a year apart.

Recently my gaze has turned to the directors of the New German Cinema specifically R.W. Fassbinder and Werner Herzog. How long I plan to stick with their extensive body of work I cannot say, perhaps I may even return my focus to Asian film in one monthís time. However, right now I cannot even pretend to want to watch a Japanese film, Werner Herzog is to blame for that. This is not to say that I am dismissing the entire output of films from Japan throughout the existence of film but right now I have no desire to accept their motives of filmmaking and thereby undertake the act of viewing a Japanese film. Perhaps I am naÔve and there is a filmmaker just like Werner Herzog in Japanís long list of directors. In fact, Iím sure that I am overlooking someone but here I remain absolutely apathetic towards watching Asian film. The Japanese new wave represented for me a break from the focus on optical and computer generated special effects that film making has unfortunately only continued to focus on more with each passing year. These Japanese directors seemed more interested in creating illusion through the camera and on sets alone. They would modify sounds to create an emotional effect (Yasuharu Hasebe), violent tilt and shake the camera to create the gut wrenching impact of violence (Kinji Fukasaku), create lush and colorful sets filled with extreme characters (Seijun Suzuki). It was very recently that I seriously delved into Herzogís work and I found the absolute truth represented in his films. I could believe what I was seeing and realized that these new wave directors may have been using different and more believable tricks than the effects of today but it was still all deception. Through Herzog, I felt completely confident that if he were to show me a hypnotized chicken that he had figured out how to actually do this and capture it on camera. If Herzog shows me tens of thousands of windmills all nestled within a valley then he had gone out there and found this on foot. The effort and preparation and on occasion danger that are brought to a Herzog film are felt simply through the viewing of the film. This feeling is fulfilling in a way that no other style of the cinema can match. Herzogís body of work has sent me this one simple message: truth beats tricks any day.

I remain compelled and inspired by Herzog for now, I shall return once more to this column when I seek escapism from the cinema.

"Asian Film Update" is ©2005 by Peter Card.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.