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Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film Paperback – August 11, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

""Legends have a basis in both a perceived 'virtual' reality and in a 'true life' reality. Chris D.'s book shows both sides, which is essential in understanding how filmmaking legends are born."" -- Takashi Miike (director of such films as ""Ichi, Dead or Alive"" and ""Audition"".

About the Author

Chris D. is author of the forthcoming ""Gun and Sword: Yakuza Eiga - An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1956-1980"". He is a programmer at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles and his first feature film as director, ""I Pass for Human"", has recently had limited festival release in the US. He is also leader of the rock bands The Flesh Eaters and Divine Horsemen.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris; First Edition edition (July 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845110862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845110864
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I originally came to this page, it was to order another copy of this book for a friend. But then I saw two pretty unfair reviews here and felt the need to chime in with a much different take on the subject. Both seem to be upset about what they think is an obsessively encyclopedic bent in the book - a perception that seems unwarranted. This methodical rundown of the films of the directors (and two actors) is exactly why I bought the book - to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of these filmmakers' work. I more than got what I wanted. Brown's complaint in his review laments that there are plenty of other outlaw Japanese directors that are more deserving than those included - the book's author addresses this very subject in the introduction, naming scores of directors, actors and actresses he would have liked to have included but was unable to because of matters of space. I also have to rebut the complaints of "feeling at sea" with the book's approach to the films and Japanese film history and film industry. This book is written for people who already have seen a few Japanese genre movies, have picked up on several of the films of the "masters" included in the book and want to know more. And it delivers. No writer in English, to my knowledge, has ever bothered to investigate or write about the numerous films Seijun Suzuki made before 1963's YOUTH OF THE BEAST. But Chris D. gives descriptions of scores of Suzuki's fifties and early sixties output, and it was greatly illuminating to this reader. Likewise, his chapter (with a nice long interview) on enfant terrible underground filmmaker Koji Wakamatsu is one of the most detailed and in-depth ever to appear in English and covered twice as many of Wakamatsu's films as Jack Hunter's laudable but more scattershot approach in his "Eros In Hell" book.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Around the 1950's, the studio system of Japanese film started to show cracks. Not large cracks, but big enough that a few ambitious rebels could squeeze their fingers in, and start breaking molds and showing their own individual styles. Crazy psychedelic colors, hot warrior chicks with big floppy hats and big guns, rice-sniffing assassins...Japanese film got a whole lot more interesting.

Author Chris Desjardins describes these "outlaw masters" as "the directors coming out of the Japanese production lines of the late fifties, the sixties and the early seventies: genre filmmakers who made genre movies usually labeled as samurai, yakuza, horror, pink, etc, but who pushed the envelope beyond the usual conventions in some way, either in style or content. " These are the men and women who didn't mind working in the "b-films" because of the freedom it gave them to create their own vision and keep pushing boundaries of sex, violence, politics and style.

In much the same way as No Borders, No Limits: Nikkatsu Action Cinema, "Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film" springs from a series of film festivals and director retrospectives, in this case from The American Cinematheque in Los Angeles. Film programmer Dennis Bartok and author Chris Desjardins shared a passion for the edgy, hard-boiled cinema that came from Japan during these times, and the actors and directors who exemplified it. They put together the "Outlaw Masters" series starting in 1997, and have been bringing these fantastic films to a wider audience ever since.
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I really enjoyed this book. I can see why the other reveiwers might not have. Chris D really assumes you are already deeply into these films (which I am). I have been enjoying Chris's articles on Japanese flicks for many years now and was hoping this was going to be his Ency of Yakuza flicks he has been working on for so long. It's not, but I found it to be agreat source of info on Japanese film makers' most of whose work can only be found by people who really have the time to do alot of digging. Essential for the big time fan of the Japanese action films.
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