Tuesday, 19 February 2013

To the Close Observer: In Memory of Donald Richie

Updated February 27

In this excerpt from The Story of Film, Mark Cousins, Donald Richie and Kyōko Kagawa discuss the life and films of the sublime Yasujiro Ozu.
What interests you about Donald Richie?
He's like my Uncle Boonmee. I think that he embodies a lot of memories about cinema, and if I work with him I almost have an excuse to research and get to know the generation of Kurosawa and Miziguchi, etc. He also lived through that time and saw the change of Japan, and I'd like to know that because it's such a fascinating country with great literature and cinema. I've only worked in Thailand, so if there's a country I want to step out and "know," it's Japan. [Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 'Interview', indieWire, May 17, 2011]
Film Studies For Free was very sad to hear of the death, at the grand old age of 88, of the preeminent English-language scholar of Japanese cinema and culture Donald Richie.

Richie, author of more than thirty books (including Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character, A Lateral View, Travels in the East, A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics, The Donald Richie Reader, and The Japan Journals was one of the must-reads of our generation but was also an experimental filmmaker of huge note, too -- see his 1968 film Five Philosophical Fables here for an example. This was one of the reasons why Apichatpong Weerasethakul (a filmmaker Richie considered to be "the new Kurosawa") was hoping to work with him - sadly, due to Donald Richie's ill health in recent years, it seems likely this intriguing collaboration did not take place.

Richie's work has featured many times over the years here at FSFF, so as well as celebrating the brilliant film studies content he produced, this blog also gives sincere thanks for his amazing scholarly generosity, placing much of his work online and in the public domain.

Key posthumous tributes to Donald Richie

Online works by Donald Richie
Online Interviews/Reviews, etc., about Donald Richie
For Donald Richie
On Japanese Cinema at FSFF

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