Sunday Salon 4-29-12

Good morning, all! While we’re dealing with a power outage in my part of Reno, Nevada, I’m using my more-or-less trustworthy laptop to communicate with you today. As you might remember from last week, I’ve been experiencing some doubts as to whether my blog is going to continue. That question hasn’t been resolved yet, but in the meantime I thought I’d at least provide an update as to what I’ve been up to. This week I finished two of the three books I’d been reading: The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, and A Brief History of Ireland by Paul F. State. There’s a chance that a review of the latter will appear at some point. I’ve now moved on to The Yellow House by Martin Gayford, which so far has been very enjoyable.

A while back I’d also mentioned my plan to read and write about Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, which deals with Christianity in Japan in the early seventeenth century, and the film made of the book by Masahiro Shinoda. While this resides near the top of my list of things to do, quite coincidentally I came across a brand new non-fiction book on the same subject, In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians by John Dougill. It’s a really interesting bit of history, and I look forward to reading these books and re-watching the film (which according to rumor is going to be remade sometime soon by Martin Scorsese, with Daniel Day-Lewis starring). Might make a good subject for an blog article too – we’ll see.

Lastly, I’ve finished viewing the four films included in The Mizoguchi Collection, a recent U.K. Blu Ray release by the Artificial Eye company. These films by the great Kenji Mizoguchi from the 1930s and 1940s reminded me of why he is usually included in the great triumvirate of Japanese filmmakers, along with Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu. Particular revelations were Sisters of the Gion, which I’d seen before but hadn’t been so impressed by until now, and the melodrama The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum. With the new Blu Ray releases of two of Mizoguchi’s masterpieces, Ugetsu monogatari and Sansho Dayu, winging their way to me from England, it might be a good excuse to write at some length about Mizoguchi. Once again, maybe…

Have a great week!

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