Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa

Overview

Teruyo Nogami was a relative newcomer to film production when hired as a continuity/script assistant on Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. A witness to its filming—and its near destruction in a fire—over the next fifty years she worked on all the master’s films—Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Kagemusha, and Dreams. No one was more closely involved in Kurosawa’s productions, and in this memoir, charmingly illustrated with her own sketches, Nogami writes candidly about the director’s energy, creativity, and his famous rages, telling...

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Overview

Teruyo Nogami was a relative newcomer to film production when hired as a continuity/script assistant on Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. A witness to its filming—and its near destruction in a fire—over the next fifty years she worked on all the master’s films—Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Kagemusha, and Dreams. No one was more closely involved in Kurosawa’s productions, and in this memoir, charmingly illustrated with her own sketches, Nogami writes candidly about the director’s energy, creativity, and his famous rages, telling the inside story on how so many classics of world cinema were made.

"Teruyo Nogami was Akira Kurosawa's script supervisor throughout his career, more importantly she was his loyal assistant and supporter during both the good and bad moments of his life. She is an extraordinary woman and these memories are a path to understanding the temperament and genius of one of the few...geniuses of cinematic history. It's not uncommon for a film director to have made one or two great films, but Kurosawa was able to create many masterpieces in many styles, set in both modern and classic times. So the opportunity to know this artist through the lucid eyes of a long-time collaborator is a privilege and an opportunity. Nogami-san's salty personality is perfect to show his many sides, not always flattering, which is essential in grasping him. This book is a treasury of stories and a key to the great body of cinematic work of Akira Kurosawa." — Francis Ford Coppola

"If you're interested in movies, then you're interested in the work of Akira Kurosawa. Teruyo Nogami was by Kurosawa's side for almost 50 years, as he quietly (and sometimes, not so quietly) revolutionized the very  grammar of cinema. This is a wonderfully intimate and beautifully written portrait of one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived, which makes it essential reading." — Martin Scorsese

"Sure to become a classic memoir, essential for our understanding of one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century." — The Japan Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933330099
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

B. 1927 in Tokyo. She joined Daiei Films in 1949 and since 1950 served as Kurosawa's assistant on every film he made until his death. She now writes about films for magazines and works to spread and protect Kurosawa's legacy. Donald Richie has been writing about Japan for over 50 years from his base in Tokyo and is the author of over 40 books and hundreds of essays and reviews. He is widely admired for his incisive film studies on Ozu and Kurosawa, and for his stylish and incisive observations on Japanese culture.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Donald Richie     7
Mansaku Itami, My First Mentor     16
Letters     16
Listening to Memories     21
A Female Muhomatsu     25
Images     30
The Life of a Giant     34
Face to Face with Death     39
Life in Miniature: At the Daiei Kyoto Studios     44
Inside a Small Arena     44
An Apprentice     48
Eyes on the Goal     53
Black-Market Cigarettes     57
Smiled on by Lady Luck: Rashomon     63
Akira Kurosawa Arrives     63
Dancing on Mount Wakakusa     68
The Camera Work is 100+     73
Shooting the Sun     77
Get the Negative, the Negative!     82
Lady Luck     88
Farewell to Kyoto     93
Toho Paradise     99
The Fountain     99
Script Supervisor     104
Cinematography     109
Art Direction     115
The Assistant Director and the Ants     120
The Past Won't Return: Remembering Dersu Uzala     127
Off to Siberia     127
Ticks, Mosquitoes, and Outdoor Toilets     132
Feeling like Napoleon     139
Bone-Freezing Night Shoots     144
Dosvidanya, Sayonara     149
Kurosawa and Animals     157
Tigers     157
Horses     164
Crows     172
Kurosawa and Music     183
A Solo Conductor     183
Fumio Hayasaka     188
Masaru Sato     193
Toru Takemitsu     201
Sentimental Recollections     210
Death Notices     210
Kamatari Fujiwara     215
Junzaburo Ban and Bokuzen Hidari     220
Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune     225
Mifune's Embarrassment     230
Remembering Juzo Itami     234
Observing the Kurosawa Group     244
Director Toshiro Mifune     244
The Petition     247
What Really Happened with Shintaro Katsu on Kagemusha     251
Footfalls of a Giant     261
Parting Sadness: Director Akira Kurosawa     265
Kurosawa and Mifune after Red Beard     268
Akira Kurosawa and World Filmmakers     277
John Ford     278
Laurence Olivier     280
Jean Renoir     281
Foreign Filmmakers Offer Support     281
Jean-Luc Godard and John Milius     282
Werner Herzog     282
Martin Scorsese     283
William Friedkin     284
Sidney Lumet     284
Francis F. Coppola     284
George Lucas     285
John Cassavetes and Jim Jarmusch     286
The Directors Guild of America     287
Afterword     288
Afterword to the English Edition     291
Notes and Sources     293
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