Forbidden Colours

‘sonically it was incredible’

When it came to making casting decisions for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, there was no doubt that Nagisa Ōshima took an unconventional approach. ‘Unlike most directors, I find it frustrating to have to cast only actors,’ he later declared. ‘I’m always on the look out for people from a different field…I simply don’t like established methods. There are six billion people on this planet, but I’m supposed to choose someone after looking through just twenty or thirty actors’ portraits. I’ve felt the same way since the beginning of my film career. And if I do things differently, perhaps I can stretch the horizons of my work. It’s something I think about every time I make a film.’

First there was the decision to invite Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano to play the role of tough military officer at the prisoner of war camp in Indonesia, Sergeant Gengo Hara. Whilst Kitano would go on to establish himself as both movie actor and eminent director, to this point he was well known in Japan as a comedian. His public image could hardly have been further removed from the enforcer he was asked to portray. ‘I had a gut feeling that he had natural acting ability,’ said Ōshima, ‘having worked with him in the past on several TV variety shows. In fact, I think it was during one of those shows that I asked him if he fancied acting in a film. He said straight away that he was a bit shy about it…I urged him to do it and gave him two pieces of advice. The first was not to settle for a minor role. I told him to go for a big part right from the start. The second was not to appear in a comedy, simply because he was already well known as a comedian.’

Continue reading “Forbidden Colours”

Dumb Type – 2022

‘standing on the edge of a world where you can’t find the centre’

The history of the La Biennale di Venezia dates as far back as 1895 when the first International Art Exhibition was organised. During the 20th century this celebration of the creative arts expanded with the Venice Film Festival in 1932 being the first such festival in history and dedicated programmes launched for music, theatre, dance and architecture. Over time more and more nations have chosen to participate in the art exhibition by staging their own events in national ‘pavilions’. Some are rented spaces across Venice but there are also 29 permanent pavilions in the Giardini area adjacent to the central exhibition building.

Continue reading “Dumb Type – 2022”

Preparations for a Journey

‘exploring a different side of yourself’

‘Travelling clears your mind, inspires you with new ideas, or at least helps you pinpoint ideas you’ve had for a long time,’ David Sylvian told the NME in August 1984. ‘If you simply isolate yourself in a room in London, for example, you become too insular, you can no longer centre on the point you are trying to make. You can only struggle for so long in an isolated room before it becomes impossible for you to be objective about it. Travelling helps clear that, you begin to see things more clearly.’

Continue reading “Preparations for a Journey”