Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Before the Sky Tree

Film Forum is showing Samuel Fuller's 1955 film "House of Bamboo," the first American film shot in occupied Japan, and in bright color and gorgeously wide format. I went to see it for the scenery (though the story has its interest, too). Aspects of Japanese mid-century culture I know from black and white films and photographs in exuberant if touristic profusion! The Great Buddha at Kamakura as if time doesn't pass, and the lost Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel as confirmation that it does. The finale, with winks to the Prater scene in "The Third Man" and the merry-go-round in "Strangers on a Train," takes place on the rotating globe of the amusement park atop a department store at Asakusa. That's the Sumida River above, Sensoji below.

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