Author Spotlight

Tony Rayns

Tony Rayns is a filmmaker, critic, and festival programmer. He has been given two awards for services to Japanese cinema: the Kawakita Prize in 2004 and the Foreign Ministry of Japan’s Commendation in 2008.

8 Results

Branded to Kill: Reductio Ad Absurdum
Branded to Kill: Reductio Ad Absurdum

At the author’s request, Japanese names are given here in their traditional form: surname first. Branded to Kill has passed into legend as the movie that got Suzuki Seijun fired from Nikkatsu. It also has a rep as a delirious, absurdist deconstruct…

By Tony Rayns

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There Was a Father: Duty Calls
There Was a Father: Duty Calls

At the author’s request, Japanese names are given here in their traditional form: surname first. Ozu Yasujiro’s personal feelings about Japanese militarism in the 1930s and 1940s are not on record. Perhaps, like most people around him, he acce…

By Tony Rayns

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The Only Son: Japan, 1936
The Only Son: Japan, 1936

At the author’s request, Japanese names are given here in their traditional form: surname first. Nineteen thirty-six was a decisive year for imperial Japan, marked by extreme violence at home and abroad. In the very early morning of February 26,…

By Tony Rayns

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Empire of Passion: Love’s Phantom

At the request of the author, Japanese names in this essay are given in their traditional form: surname first. When Oshima Nagisa began making films for the French producer Anatole Dauman in the mid-1970s, his career as a filmmaker had been on hold …

By Tony Rayns


Patriotism: The Word Made Flesh

Patriotism, or The Rite of Love and Death, poses an unusual question: what impels a novelist to make a film? Actually, few have ever done so. The number has shot up recently, thanks to a surge in China, but for many years the French had the syndrome …

By Tony Rayns


The Threepenny Opera: Doubles and Duplicities

Ladies and gentlemen, you will now hear the strange and comical history of how an eighteenth-century English play went through diverse transformations and finally became a hit movie banned by the Nazis . . . The initial impetus came from Jonathan Swi…

By Tony Rayns


The Burmese Harp: Unknown Soldiers

The Burmese Harp was the forty-one-year-old Ichikawa Kon’s twenty-seventh feature, and the first real landmark in his career. He had entered the film industry as an animator (his first film was a ­twenty-­minute puppet short), but switched to liv…

By Tony Rayns


Fighting Elegy

In an essay published in 1981 in the Japanese film magazine Art Theater, Suzuki Seijun’s kid brother Kenji offered what still stands as one of the most illuminating comments on his brother’s cinema: “Seijun and I are completely different charac…

By Tony Rayns