Friday, April 24, 2009

Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu

This is a documentary from 1994 about the brilliant contemporary and film composer Toru Takemitsu. If you're into Japanese cinema, you probably already have an awareness of his moody, abstract and utterly atmospheric work on such films as Kwaidan, Woman of the Dunes, Samurai Spy and tons of others. He was the first to score a Japanese film with traditional Japanese instruments (before Takemitsu, all Japanese film scores were Western-style). Additionally, unlike most other film composers, Takemitsu was involved with each film project from the beginning, developing his ideas in collaboration with the director, in many cases influencing the course of the film itself.

The documentary features a treasure trove of interview footage with such luminary directors as Hiroshi Teshigahara, Masaki Kobayashi, Masahiro Shinoda and Nagisa Oshima, as well as plenty of illustrative film clips. I found a copy (VHS) online for $10. Can't beat that with a bo stick!

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