Sunday, February 12, 2012

Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa –by Teruyo Nogami. Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

296 pages
Footnotes/Endnotes: Yes (Endnotes, Sources etc.)
Illustrations: Yes (10 small black and white photos and 27 small black and white illustrations by the author)
Suitable for eReaders: Yes

If you are a fan of Kurosawa movies, as Rainy Day is, you will find this book a must read. It is a collection of essays, many previously published in Japanese magazines, and now available in English.

Francis Ford Coppola wrote for the back cover: "Teruyo Nogami was Kurosawa Akira's script supervisor throughout his career; more importantly, she was his loyal assistant and supporter during the good and bad moments of his life. ...Nogami-san's salty personality is perfect to show Kurosawa's many sides; the portrait is not always flattering, but it is essential to understanding him. This book is a treasury of stories and a key to the great body of cinematic work of Akira Kurosawa."

This book is not an apology for his actions, nor is it a 'kiss and tell all' type of book. Nogami-san, or Non-chan, as Kurosawa called her, tells the story of the man she worked for and greatly admired, as she remembers him. She readily admits her memory may be fallible.

Rainy Day was surprised to learn that Katsu Shintaro* had originally been cast to star in Kagemusha then walked off the set in a fit of pique. And she could hardly wait to get 'the scoop' as to why the last film Mifune Toshiro and Kurosawa Akira made together was Red Beard. She had, of course, read a few bits of gossip, none of which were more substantial that smoke from last year's forest fire.

Rainy Day read this as her 'bed time book.' The essays were short, and left Rainy Day with pleasant thoughts with which to close out her day. If you are a fan of Kurosawa, or Mifune, or of movies in general, Rainy Day thinks you will like this book.

Thank you, Nogami-San for a delightful and insightful book.

*Katsu Shintaro played Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman in a favorite series of Rainy Day