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Japanese Cinema


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5.5 x 8.5"

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Japanese Cinema

A Personal Journey

An informal yet informed journey through the classic works of Japanese cinema and their visionary directors.

This is a passionate, personal journey through one of the world’s greatest national cinemas, beginning with the classic directors who came to the fore in the postwar period. The book traces the common themes explored by these directors as well as the impact of important historical and cultural issues, including World War 2, the representation of women, and the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s. 

Finally, Peter Cowie surveys the state of contemporary Japanese film and some of its greatest living practitioners. Cowie brings a lifetime’s commitment to film to bear on the human relationships so well explored by these Japanese auteurs.

"Cowie's study orients these films and filmmakers around auteur and genre cinema, employing the kind of uncluttered, potted analysis that initially brought Japan to international light in studies by Donald Richie, Audie Brock, Joan Mellen, and Tadao Sato, among others." 

Adam Bingham, Cinesate Magazine

"An impressively well written and seminal study of Japanese film making ranging from the iconic to the obscure."

The Midwest Book Review

"If you want to know why Kurosawa is the Beethoven, and Ozu the Chopin, of Japanese cinema--and much, much more—Peter Cowie’s Japanese Cinema is the book to read."

Walter Murch, three-time Academy Award winning editor and sound designer, and author of In the Blink of an Eye

"Peter Cowie’s erudition is stupendous. His critical acumen is unequaled. But it’s his humanity that makes his writing as special as it is. These short accounts of great Japanese filmmakers, and of Cowie’s relationship to their work, create a portrait of Japanese cinema that is both enjoyable and indispensable."

Glenn Kenny, film critic and author of Made Men: The Story of ‘Goodfellas’

"Peter Cowie has introduced more people to the glories of foreign cinema than any living writer. Japanese Cinema: A Personal Journey is both a warm labor of love and an indispensable work of scholarship, suitable for novices and aficionados alike. It's the only book you need to read on the subject."

Mick LaSalle, author of The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses

"Peter Cowie invites us to travel along with him through decades of exceptional Japanese films.  Along the way we meet many of Japan’s beloved directors and a host of others who have been influential in producing and promoting Japanese films (Madame Kawakita, Donald Richie, cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, to name a few). This “personal journey” extends from the frozen north of Hokkaidō to the warmer port cities of Hiroshima and Onomichi, and beyond. Along with Cowie, we explore Japan’s “alternating currents of violence and reflection” through his intimate, but also expansive, point of view."

Dr. Linda Ehrlich, author of Cinematic Reveries: Gestures, Stillness, Water

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About the Author(s)

Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie has spent his life writing about cinema, and in particular about the prodigious talents that emerged during the 1950s and 1960s such as Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa. 

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