23 February 2010
The publisher Intellect is currently offering a free download of The Directory of World Cinema: Japan, a shiny 298 page e-book on my favourite national film industry. While it's not short of ideas for the Netflix/Lovefilm/whatever rental queue in your life, the collection of reviews and essays "was never intended to be a conventional film guide, as the overall aim was to discuss Japanese cultural life and history as expressed through the medium of film," according to editor John Berra. I haven't read the book, but a skim this afternoon in my clunky .pdf reader looked pretty promising (and made me want to get an iPad).
Also of interest in the same generalist vein, but in old-fashioned print, is Donald Richie's A Hundred Years of Japanese Film. Richie's writing on Japan has been personally very influential on my own evolving views and tastes. His book on Ozu (my favourite director, from any country) is also one of the best things on my shelf. Or rather, in boxes in storage in a garage in California, but that's another story. My library will join me in Helsinki one day.
(Above: Yasujiro Ozu)