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humanities 323 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 referencing and a fuller index might have been helpful. I also noted one or two omissions in the index. Dolzani has a deep and empathetic understanding of Frye, and his introduction is an excellent guide to what he calls the >secret imaginative background= to Frye=s published books. According to Dolzani, the >Third Book= notebooks have a special value in that they reveal the concealed mythological pattern which lies beneath all of Frye=s work. Dolzani=s discussion of this pattern makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the way that Frye=s thought developed, especially during the latter part of his life. (J. RUSSELL PERKIN) James Quandt, editor. Kon Ichikawa Cinemateque Ontario. 446. $29.95 For anyone interested in Japanese cinema, Kon Ichikawa is essential. It offers a variety of perspectives on the life and works of an often neglected but extremely important Japanese filmmaker. Three major perspectives emerge. First, there is Ichikawa in his own terms, through a selection of his essays and interviews. Second, the volume includes discussions of Ichikawa by some of his collaborators, peers, and Japanese critics, which provide a sense of his reception in Japan. Third, the volume gives a broad sample of scholarly work on Ichikawa, bringing together previously published essays and recent criticism. The recent scholarly work on Ichikawa especially poses challenging questions about how to organize film history and commentary. As James Quandt notes, at almost eighty films over sixty years in a variety of genres, Ichikawa=s works defy an overall director-centred evaluation . This may explain why Ichikawa has never received the critical attention accorded to Kurosawa, Ozu, or Mizoguchi, in Japan or the West. Indeed, many commentators have dismissed him as a filmmaker who simply followed studio trends, opportunistically. As if in response to such negative assessments, most of these essays are appreciations of Ichikawa=s work. One series of essays explores what makes him distinctive, stylistically , tonally, and thematically B particularly those by Audie Bock, Donald Richie, and Max Tessier. A portrait emerges of a master stylist whose initial training in animation encourages an emphasis on the graphic design or composition of filmic images, which produces a somewhat distant or detached relationship to his characters and stories B whence the distinctive Ichikawa tone, variously described as dark, ironic, macabre, wry, cool, witty, or, in Pauline Kael=s memorable phrase, >deadpan sophisticate.= Not surprisingly, many commentators then raise questions about Ichikawa=s humanism, for his style relies on a humanistic centre that continually recedes. Generally, such essays stress Ichikawa=s distinctive stylistic or tonal qualities, to establish Ichikawa as an innovator and creator of the highest calibre. 324 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Other essays, however, begin to trouble this portrait of the artist, particularly those dealing with screen adaptation (the majority of his films are adaptations of novels). From the angle of adaptation, Ichikawa appears less as an innovator and creator, and more as a follower and collaborator. Screenwriter Natto Wada, for instance, adapted the novels for many of Ichikawa=s renowned movies. One here gains the impression of a filmmaker who shadows the material, who follows it closely yet furtively, at a distance; who wishes to see through it. Ichikawa is the gumshoe stealthily pursuing his leads only to appear at the end to unmask the book=s crime (as in his adaptation of Ishihara=s Punishment Room or Tanizaki=s Kagi) B Wada is the >smart dame= with a thing or two to teach the detective about human nature. A complex image of filmmaking emerges here B an urban politics. This image of filmmaking is more in evidence in the numerous interviews with Ichikawa, but it is fellow director Yasuzo Masamura who sharply and insightfully hones it. His essay makes it easier to understand why more politically rebellious directors would see Ichikawa as one who, like the detective, remains on the side of law and order (the industry) while dubiously and cynically aware of their power of corruption. Still other essays present thoughtful critiques of, and alternatives to, auteur-centred film...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 323-324
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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