domingo, 13 de junho de 2010

CAHIERS: And Mizoguchi’s films, don’t you think that they deal directly with politics?

YOSHIDA: Mizoguchi is considered as a “réaliste à la japonaise,” a realist who depicts things such as they are. This is of course a very vague definition, which I will try to make clear by means of an example: if one wants to speak of the past, one cannot help but interpret it from the point of view of the present. The directors of Mizoguchi’s and Kurosawa’s generation were always at risk of falling into the trap of humanism, a trap Mizoguchi knew well. For example, he deals often, in his films, with prostitutes. For us, we considered them to be “alienated” by society, but Mizoguchi preferred at the same time to talk of the pleasure that such a woman might experience, and in this he came to the very brink of the problem. The best of Mizoguchi’s works from this perspective is The Sisters of the Gion (the 1936 version) – this is an absolutely anti-humanist film.

CAHIERS: But for example, in The 47 Ronin, doesn’t Mizoguchi reject the specific political meaning that would have been attached to the story at this time [i.e. this film was made during the war – Trans.], in order to give it a completely different one?

YOSHIDA: It’s a long time since I saw this film, and I only have a vague memory of it. Nevertheless, I think that your point is well taken: Mizoguchi is a filmmaker who appears to have turned his back on political issues, whereas in reality he wanted to go beyond them. According to him, politics is only one of the elements that make up a particular period, and what he sought was to get to the very bottom of the situation. But our situation is more complex than that of his time; even if one wanted to take the same attitude, it wouldn’t be possible to get to the bottom of things. In his time there was a very clear distinction between oppressor and oppressed, between power and the people. Thus, Mizoguchi’s mode of realism was completely effective. He was perfect, but this wouldn’t be the case for our time.

CAHIERS: And Mizoguchi’s final films, such as New Tales of the Taira Clan – don’t you think that they are more expressly, more openly political?

YOSHIDA: When it comes to this film, as with many others by Mizoguchi, the reaction of Japanese and French viewers has been different: perhaps your judgment is better due to your greater cultural distance. Nevertheless, I find that – in contrast to Ugetsu and Street of Shame, which are quite beautiful – Mizoguchi’s two color films (The Empress Yang-Kwei-Fei and New Tales of the Taira Clan) are “costume-plays.” It seemed to me that in those films Mizoguchi lost his dynamism, his “transparent” realism. (He found his energy again, however, with Street of Shame.) Maybe the evolution of his films corresponded to the evolution of the situation in Japan.

I’d like to add something here, in order to draw sharper distinctions among the three best-known filmmakers of the older generation, Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Kurosawa. Specifically, in order to try to define their various successes as “realists.”

Ozu, from the start, dealt in his films with the condition of the Japanese family, of the Japanese citizen. Right after the war, the family-system was in crisis. Japanese had a profound attachment to the family, and Ozu’s films, which depicted a vanishing family life, were very effective, they were profoundly realist. But once peace was established, he felt obliged to deal with young people who leave their families, and all of these young characters were very banal: this is how he lost his realism.

I’ve already spoken of Kurosawa, of his stoicism. His realism could easily accommodate itself with the intentions of the Japanese establishment and power structure [du Pouvoir au Japon]; the stoic man is precisely what this power establishment was seeking. In this sense, his films are quite dangerous.

As for Mizoguchi, his starting point was always “pathos” – an abstract emotion – in order to arrive at the perfection of his realism. Mizoguchi’s realism is perhaps the one that might outlast the other two. It appears not to have any interest in the current social situation, and instead concerns itself stubbornly with individual passions. But behind this appearance, one might be able to detect a political critique of society.

Yoshishige Yoshida entrevistado por Pascal Bonitzer e Michel Delahaye, Cahiers du Cinéma n° 224, outubro de 1970

3 comentários:

Jesús Cortés disse...

Nunca pensé que Yoshida tuviese tales ideas sobre el cine de Mizoguchi, pero quizá ayuden a entender por qué quien debió ser uno de los grandes directores del relevo generacional por talento visual y originalidad sólo ocasionalmente ha podido acercarse al nivel de los (pocos) medianos Mizoguchi y seguro que entonces creyó que algo habría hecho mal.

Anônimo disse...

Me parece que Yoshida hablaba de Mizoguchi sin conocerlo, o apenas recordándolo, o de oídas. ¿Dónde está el "placer que tal mujer (una prostituta) pudiera experimentar"). Y si "Shin Heike Monogatari" o "Yokihi" carecen de dinamismo, ¿qué podría decirse de la mayor parte de las películas más celebradas - que no son las mejores - de Yoshida, totalmente estáticas o estancadas? Espero que en 2010 haya variado un poco sus juicios, que recordaba como disparatados pero no en detalle; en 1970 parecía guiarle la fobia generacional frente a los predecesores que tan a menudo sufren los "nuevos".
Miguel Marías

Sérgio Alpendre disse...

vale lembrar que 1970 marca o final da fase mais radical da Nouvelle Vague japonesa, e o filme do Yoshida desse ano, Purgatorio Eroica, é o mais anti-mizoguchiano de sua carreira. Mas é uma fase, apenas. Creio que tanto ele quanto Oshima e Shinoda passaram a admirar Mizoguchi após esses anos de radicalismo. Quer dizer, Oshima talvez já admirasse antes, não lembro.

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