The Kinoshita Project

Keisuke Kinoshita was a Japanese director whose career spanned nearly fifty years. Beginning in 1943 and ending in 1988, Kinoshita worked alongside Japanese masters like Kurosawa and Mizoguchi; he mentored Masaki Kobayashi; and he managed to last long enough to see the Japanese New Wave explode as the likes Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura took over the national film scene. Though Kinoshita is highly regarded in his home country, in the West he is an unheralded figure of the Japanese cinema, with only one of his movies (The Twenty-Four Eyes) available on DVD in the US courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

Now Criterion, with its Hulu Plus partnership, has made 26 other titles available. Because these titles have been so rare up until now, and because there’s virtually no academic research on Kinoshita, I’ve decided to embark on a journey through every one of these available films. I know I’m not a pioneer, but I feel as though I am about to set off on a journey to into uncharted waters, ready to discover an unknown world. When this project is over, I will be one of the few American’s who has any decent knowledge of Kinoshita’s work, and I plan to share that knowledge with you, dear FR readers.

I know this project will be a little esoteric when compared to Tyler’s The Solo Project, but it’s something that I feel I must do. So, beginning tomorrow, I will be going through each of these films in chronological order. I won’t be able to watch one movie a day or anything like that, so this should be spread over the next two or three months. Of course, Criterion could double back and put out more titles, which means that I too would double back and go over any added titles before I move forward. My hope is that someone, anyone will notice. This should be an opportunity to explore and hopefully appreciate a neglected director. I do not know what I will discover. Perhaps it will be great and perhaps it will amount to nothing. But in the end, I will know the films of Keisuke Kinoshita. And that is a privilege I plan to enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “The Kinoshita Project

  1. Hey guys, really enjoying this series so far! I’m going on a similar Kinoshita journey for a entry I’m writing in a Japanese film book. Perhaps we can share notes some time. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the remarks! I’m trying to post a new edition each Tuesday. So far it’s been a lot of fun to do. If you have any source information on Kinoshita, please direct me to it. All I really have is the Wikipedia article and Audie Bock’s section on Kinoshita in her book “Japanese Film Directors”. Beyond this, there’s not a lot on him out there, at least not in English.

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