The True Gen

Friday, August 1, 2014

Yasushi Akutagawa: Orpheus in Hiroshima

A 1960 opera by Yasushi Akutagawa which was revised by him in 1967 for this Japanese TV film. The libretto is by novelist Kenzaburo Oe. There are no English subtitles, alas.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Bernard Herrmann: Columbia Workshop: "Melodrams"

The May 14, 1938 episode of the CBS radio program Columbia Workshop was entitled "Melodrams" and featured poetry spoken by David Ross and underscored by Bernard Herrmann. The episode has been divided into four sections as follows:

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Sisters (1973) is a film written and directed by Brian De Palma that stars Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt and is scored by Bernard Herrmann. It's a psychological thriller, not without aspects of satire, that uses techniques like split-screen effects in highly-inventive ways.


The Sadist

The Sadist (1963), a low-budget film written and directed by James Landis, is about an escaped convict and his girlfriend who hold a group of teachers hostage in a junkyard. Despite the film's limited means, the basic situation is so well-rendered that it creates a constant tension throughout.

More information about the film can be found here:

Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation (Website)

Mark and Delia Owens have been working in Africa since the 1970s with hyena and elephants and more recently in Idaho with grizzly bears and gray wolves. They have written books about their work and have been the subject of a National Geographic special and a made for TV film. More information about them and their organization can be found here:


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Akira Ifukube: The Sea of Okhotsk

A work originally composed in 1958 (and revised for piano, voice, bassoon, and contrabass in 1988) by Japanese composer Akira Ifukube.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Tangemania (Website)

is the website of Yale Cinema professor Aaron Gerow who has written widely on Japanese cinema. Follow this link to take a look:


Monday, November 7, 2011

Paleothea (Website)

Paleothea is a website that recounts tales involving women in Greek mythology in down-to-earth prose. Most of the myths are illustrated with images from classical paintings. Follow this link to take a look: 


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Briauna Mariah (Website)

Briauna Mariah is a model based in the Northwest. Follow this link to take a look at her website:

She also has a blogsite where she talks about her experiences modeling. Follow this link to take a look:

You can also follow or friend her on Facebook. Follow this link to see her page:!/model.briaunamariah?sk=info  

The same with Google Plus. Follow this link to see her page: 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intimate Lighting

Intimate Lighting is a 1965 Czech film, directed by Ivan Passer, that is considered one of the highlights of the Czech New Wave.

Here is Roger Greenspun's 1969 review of the film from The New York Times:

IVAN PASSER made "Intimate Lighting" in 1965. It played at the 1966 New York Film Festival. I've seen it several times now, most recently in connection with its opening at the Fifth Avenue Cinema, and it loses none of its charm, to age or to repeated viewing. It is one of those very special movies that does not so much reveal new secrets each time you see it as confirm a justness and good humor that was never hidden.

Passer's anecdote (it doesn't amount to a story) concerns a cellist from Prague who, with his young mistress, visits a country town where he is to give a concert with the local orchestra. He spends a day and a night with an old school friend, a violinist who heads the town's music school and who has settled down with his mother and father, a plump wife, three kids, a car, and a garage full of chickens.

Nothing very significant happens. There is a family dinner, some amateur chamber music, and country funeral and a wake, a drunken late-night session involving the two friends and a family breakfast the next morning—with which the movie ends.

"Intimate Lighting" is constructed out of a series of minor embarrassments and low-keyed confrontations. Everything in the film's situation suggests incongruity and ironic distancing. But Passer has been at pains to keep all lines of communication open and never cruelly to play lifestyles off against one another. His warmth is neither sentimental nor condescending. And in all likelihood he has made a funnier movie from an awareness of imperfect reconciliations than he could have from an exploitation of disparities.

Understatement both in performance and technique, which has become a characteristic almost to cliché in many Czech movies, works perfectly in "Intimate Lighting." Passer, who has been known mostly as a scenarist to Milos Forman, is a perceptive director, and he has a fine cast to work with.

Because everybody except Vera Kresadlov (the mistress) has essentially a character part to play, it is difficult to single out anyone for praise. But I especially enjoyed Vlastimila Vlkova as the athletic grandmother, and Karel Uhlik as the town pharmacist whose violin technique is a struggle between musicianship and arthritis.

"I love this music. I love it passionately," says the pharmacist, who then takes up his violin and virtually saws apart a movement of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." But he does love it, and the mess he makes of Mozart is the kind of testimony to love with which "Intimate Lighting" is filled. All the country people protest too much—their love of art, of family, of the lives they have to lead—but their protestations add up to a truth to which men agree and which it would be folly to disapprove.

For the final breakfast the grandmother has made an eggnog so think and rich it won't pour out of a glass. She tells the family and guests that "with a little patience" they will have a treat. And so in the last scene they all stand, glasses raised, mouths open, utterly ridiculous but sublimely patient.


Thunderbean Animation (Website)

Thunderbean Animation is both an independent animation studio and a company that releases DVDs of classic animated shorts. To see examples of the work they've done and find out how to purchase their DVD releases of vintage cartoons, follow this link: 


Japan Today (Website)

Japan Today is a website devoted to current news from Japan. Included are news items about Japanese art, entertainment, and culture. Follow this link to take a look: 


Sights Within (Website)

Les Noisettes (The Nut-Gatherers) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

SightsWithin is a website that offers high-quality scans of classical paintings by such artists as Watteau, Fragonard, Bouguereau, Alma-Tadema, Gerome, & Friedrich, and other works of early photography and architecture.

In their own words: "SightsWithin is here to share the magnificence of art created throughout history. Its goal is to give everyone access to all of these creations. However, there are contemporary limits to this striving. Newer artworks, unfortunately, cannot be published. Any artwork of an artist that hasn't deceased more than 70 years ago cannot be displayed on this page due to copyright restrictions. The exception of that rule is given in the cases where we receive explicit permission to display one's artworks. Nevertheless, we hope you find many personal treasures among the works we have managed to collect."

Follow this link to take a look: 


Friday, October 14, 2011

The End of August at the Hotel Ozone

The End of August at the Hotel Ozone is a 1967 Czech science-fiction film, directed by Jan Schmidt and written by Pavel Juracek, that concerns itself with a band of women looking for mates in a post-apocalyptic landscape.


Pajama Guy (Blogsite)

Steve Kurtz is a Los Angeles-based writer-television producer. His personal blog serves up his opinions on television, music, theater, films, news events, and politics. Follow this link to take a look: 


Geoff George (Website)

Follow this link to visit the website of Michigan-based photographer/filmmaker Geoff George:


Friday, October 7, 2011

Corpus Fluxus (Website)

Corpus Fluxus is the website of independent filmmaker and performance artist Ross Lipman. Lipman is also one of the team of people who restore films at the UCLA Film & TV Archive. Lipman can be seen at work in Alejandra Espasande Bouza's 2010 short, Allegro Non Molto:

Follow this link to see Lipman's own website and learn more about his activities:


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ikarie XB-1

Ikarie XB-1 is a 1963 Czech science-fiction film directed by Jindrich Polak and written by Pavel Juracek who later wrote the screenplays for the Czech films Daisies and The End of August at the Hotel Ozone.

More information about the film can be found here:

You may need to click on the CC closed captions icon for the subtitles to play with the image:


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Koko's Earth Control

Here is Max and Dave Fleischer's 1928 surreal and apocalyptic animated short, Koko's Earth Control.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Benjamin Frankel (Website)

Benjamin Frankel (1906-1973) was a British composer who wrote several symphonies, a violin concerto, and many scores for films and television. Follow this link to the composer's official website run by the Benjamin Frankel estate: 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Projection Booth (Website)

Follow this link to The Projection Booth, a website that features downloadable podcasts of talks about cult films that often include interviews with actors and filmmakers: 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Nihon Poster (Blogsite)

Follow this link to visit Nihon Poster, a French-language blogsite devoted to vintage Japanese film posters:


Rene Gruau (Website)

Rene Gruau (1909-2004) was an illustrator best known for creating ads for postwar French fashion houses. Follow this link to learn more about his life and work:

Follow this link to the official website for his illustration work: 


Jacques Fath (Website)

Jacques Fath at work

Moira Shearer wearing Fath in The Red Shoes 

Jacques Fath (1912-1954) was a French fashion designer, responsible, in part, for what was called the "New Look" in postwar haute couture. He designed the wardrobe that Moira Shearer wears in The Red Shoes and the front of his fashion house can be briefly glimpsed in the film as well. Follow this link for more information about Fath's life and work:

After Fath died in the mid-1950s, the fashion house bearing his name continued to produce a line of scarfs and perfumes. Today, it is producing a line of handbags styled to appear vintage.

Follow this link to the fashion house's current website: 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

PCO Concert Recordings (Web page)

Follow this link to a web page on The Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University website where you can listen to and download free classical music recordings by the Peabody Concert Orchestra:


ReDiscovery's Paperback Classics (Web page)

Follow this link to a page on the ReDiscovery website where you can find free downloads of classical music: 


A Different Stripe (Blogsite)

Follow this link to read a blog about books from the New York Times Review of Books: 


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Die Verkaufte Braut (The Bartered Bride)

Here is Max Ophuls' 1932 film, The Bartered Bride, an adaptation of the operetta by Bedrich Smetana, in German with English subtitles. 


Here is Iran, a 1971 documentary directed by Claude Lelouch with a score by Francis Lai.


American Look

Here is the 1958 industrial documentary American Look, directed by W.F. Banes & John Thiele, an amazing time capsule of 50s home, office, and car design.


SatoriMentor (Website)

Follow this link to SatoriMentor, a website devoted to information for beginning filmmakers wanting to make their own indie films or break into the Hollywood film industry:  


Elephant On a Wire (Blogsite)

Elephant On a Wire is simply the personal expression of a woman who likes elephants, makes jewelery, and loves inspirational slogans and images of glamor.

Follow this link to take a look: 


Doctor Macro (Website)

Follow this link to see free, high-resolution scans of film posters, lobby cards, film stills, and stills of actors and actresses. Doctor Macro has a great collection to peruse and download: 


Artinfo (Website)

If it's about painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, or design, old and new, ARTINFO has the latest news from "the scene".

Follow this link to take a look: 


Sankaku Complex (Website)

Whoever named Sankaku Complex wasn't kidding. It's complex! Prepare yourself for an overload of visual and textual information. Also, prepare yourself for large breasts and a lot of nudity in general. Of course, this isn't just a porn site, what is going on here is a lot of information and fan input about anime and manga, a majority written by Japanese commenting on their own culture. And, in addition to the anime-manga-related posts, there is a lot of off-color news stories about real Japan itself.

Follow this link to take a look: 


Monday, August 29, 2011

Atlas Obscura (Website)

Follow this link to the Atlas Obscura website to see images and read descriptions of some of the oddest tourist destinations on the planet: 


Midnight Eye (Website)

Follow this link to the Midnight Eye website devoted to information and interviews about Japanese cult films: 


Art of the Title (Website)

Follow this link to the Art of the Title website devoted to background information on the design and creation of title sequences for films and television shows: 


National Film Preservation Foundation (Website)

Follow this link to see the National Film Preservation Foundation website. Be sure to visit the "screening room" to see clips from the films they have helped to preserve: 


The New Zealand Film Archive (Website)

Follow this link to The New Zealand Film Archive website where you can see film clips and read news about film in this remote corner of the Pacific: 


British Pathe (Website)

Follow this link to look at 90,000 clips from British newsreels made by the British division of the Pathe film company: 


The Banff Centre (Website)

Follow this link to The Banff Centre website to learn more about their programs and festivals devoted to mountain-themed art and culture: 


Steep Edge (Website)

Follow this link to the Steep Edge website where you can see clips and trailers and rent or purchase downloads of films devoted to extreme sports: 


Kendall Mountain Film Festival (Website)

Follow this link to the Kendall Mountain Film Festival website to learn more about modern-day films about mountain-related sports and cultures: 


New England Ski Museum (Website)

Follow this link to the website of a museum devoted to the history of winter sports in New England. See photos, read stories, and buy memorabilia: 


Mont-Blanc Speed Flying

Here is an excerpt (the opening minute) from the 10-minute long 2008 film, Mont-Blanc Speed Flying, directed by Didier Lafond, about a team of paragliders in the French alps. 


The Birdman of the Karakoram

Here is Alan Hughes' 2009 film, The Birdman of the Karakoram, about two men paragliding in the mountains of Pakistan.


David Bordwell: Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema

Follow this link to download a pdf of this now out of print 1988 book on the films of Yasujiro Ozu: 


Noel Burch: To the Distant Observer

Follow this link to download a pdf of this now out of print 1979 book on Japanese cinema from the link below. The file includes a cover scan and an essay about Burch's work and viewpoint: 


Donald Richie: Japanese Cinema


Follow this link to download a pdf of this now out of print 1971 book on Japanese cinema from the link below. The file includes a cover scan and a new introduction by Donald Richie:


Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto

Here is an appreciation of the Korngold Violin Concerto from The Wall Street Journal:

Here is the entire concerto performed by Hilary Hahn:


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jerry Goldsmith: The Thunder of Imperial Names

This is a live performance of The Thunder of Imperial Names, a short work celebrating key names of Americana originally composed by Jerry Goldsmith in 1957 for an episode of the CBS Radio Workshop.


Eames Office (Website)

Charles Eames and his wife Ray Kaiser Eames were primarily furniture designers. But this is only the tip of their entire output. Follow this link to learn more about them and their work:

The Eames design office is still being run by Charles's grandson from his first marriage, Eames Demetrios. Follow this link to the Eames Office website:



Here is SX-70, a 1972 film made to promote a camera from Polaroid, directed by designers Charles and Ray Eames with music by Elmer Bernstein. 


The Fiberglass Chairs

Here is The Fiberglass Chairs-Something Of How They Get The Way They Are, a 1970 film about industrial production directed by designers Charles and Ray Eames film with a light jazz score composed by Buddy Collette. 


Les Cristaux Liquides

Here is Les Cristaux Liquides (Liquid Crystals), a 1978 film by Jean Painleve set to music by Francois de Rouxbaix. 


La Peine du Talion

This is La Peine du Talion [The Talion Punishment (aka Tit for Tat)] (1906), directed by Gaston Velle, a charming, if archaic (and even somewhat violent), early hand-tinted French short film about a group of magic butterflies who turn the tables on a lepidopterist and his two assistants.


Life in Japanese Film: Donald Richie (Interview)

Donald Richie is one of the finest writers on Japanese film and culture. Follow this link to see a 75 minute discussion with him about those topics: 

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page about Donald Richie mentioned in the interview clip:  

And don't forget to look over all the selections at to see other lectures and interviews on a wide variety of subjects.  


Die Toten Hosen: Auflosen

This is a music video (in German without English subtitles), directed by Wim Wenders in 2009, for the song "Auflosen" by the group Die Toten Hosen from their album "In Aller Stille".

The couple in this music video obviously enjoy visiting each other but for some reason have chosen not to live together. She has a larger loft space than his hotel room and perhaps she requires "space" for herself, just as she writes in a journal which is a personal activity and space he is excluded from. Even though they seem to wait boring hours for each other, perhaps they fear that if they live together or marry, another sort of negative quality would emerge where they'd rather be dead, as might be indicated by the brief shot of the couple shooting themselves in the head in silhouette when they stand together in the same window frame. At another point, the couple is framed again in a window whose pane comes between them. Throughout the video, they are together, yet separate. 


Perfume: Voice

Here is the incredibly cute and leggy J-Pop girl group Perfume with their 2010 song "Voice". I do not know who directed this music video (which is in Japanese without subtitles), but it presents a self-reflexive view of celebrity and stardom. Despite the main lyric, " need to use your voice," the life of a pop icon is more than just singing: the icon lives in an unreal (and as depicted in the video, surreal) world of cartoon props where timing, dance, and image are just as important as the voice.

The girls are dominated by cookie cutter patterns (actually patterns of all kinds, background patterns, patterns on their clothing, etc.) but struggle to fit themselves into these molds. In one key shot (2:56-3:10), the girls cannot discover themselves in a forest of figures and end standing apart from them. The women are nominally icons who don't completely become symbols and so retain some of their own individuality and human identity. On the other hand, in another shot (3:24-3:39), the girls walk aloofly through a row of similarly-shaped silhouettes of people indicating that they are apart from the crowd and exist beyond the ordinary public.

The icon is both human and celebrity, someone who exists between the real and myth, between person and projection. In one moment, she's human, but in the next second, she can become a photograph with fake tears coming from her eyes. Or, as is indicated when the girls complete billboard images of themselves (2:10-2:24), the star is a half human/half-icon sort of hybrid.

The girls obtain their false diamond treasure. It's the "heart" from inside the chest of one of those public figures implying that fame, money, or the love of fans still originates with the public. It's also "the real thing" (as fake as it looks) as opposed to the version they reject from a different origin in a store window (you can't purchase the love of fans). The trio hold their diamonds aloft in the same position that their hands were held in in the video's opening shot. Does this gesture mean they were special to begin with and destined to find the treasure all along? At the start they hold aloft "thin air". Does this means the diamonds they obtain at the end are also no different from thin air? But just then, at their moment of triumph, their false patterned world collapses around them. Fame is fickle. Stardom insecure. The wall that forces itself on them at the very end is not unlike the other walls (either solid or with some part cut out) that they’ve had to file past or conform through to get to their destination. Indeed, it's simply a larger version of the wall of black dots that one of the trio walks past near the start of the video. But this time the holes in the patterned wall are ironic. By falling around the girls, the holes reveal just how fake the fake world they’ve been inhabiting really is while revealing the lights and set of the video they've been making. Oh well. Confronted with nothingness, the girls simply laugh and remain "just girls". Or do they? Throughout the video, surface appearance is contrasted with reality. We see the trio laughing like normal girls but, because we don't also hear them laugh as we should, in this last moment, the girls miss out on becoming completely real people to us. Finally, voiceless, the girls, surrounded by the darkness of the set in the real world, can't break free from their ghostly limbo somewhere between life and artifice.


Plastic Bag

Plastic Bag is a short film from 2009 about a specific environmental concern, told from a unique point of view, narrated by film and stage director Werner Herzog, and directed by Ramin Bahrani. 


Deep Glamour (Website)

Virginia Postrel's amazing website, Deep Glamour, is constantly on the lookout for "things glamorous". Perhaps the site is more for the ladies in the audience, but it looks at culture through a very specific prism and discovers a number of appealing surprises. The site also links to a plethora of other neat sites, images, and articles.

Follow this link to take a look: