• Donald Richie, 1924–2013

    By Kim Hendrickson

    Donald_current_large

    Today we mourn the loss of Donald Richie, writer, critic, curator, cultural explorer, and my friend since 2001. I met him when he came to New York to record a commentary track for our DVD edition of Rashomon. It was the beginning of our friendship and of many collaborations. Over the years, we recorded Donald’s insights about Yasujiro Ozu’s A Story of Floating Weeds, Mikio Naruse’s When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain, to name just a few.

    I visited Donald this past December in Tokyo, to say hello and, knowing he was declining, to say good-bye. He greeted me as he always did, with that incomparable smile and a slight twinkle in his eye. Donald taught me much about Japanese cinema, but that pales in comparison with what I learned from him in other ways. The first thing I did today was to look at this interview he did for us, about not a Japanese movie but Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar. Below are the beautiful final four-and-a-half minutes of that interview, which remind me what a humane man Donald was. I will miss him deeply.

    Photo by Grant Delin, 2012.

11 comments

  • By HarryZulu
    February 19, 2013
    05:54 PM

    Great writer and teacher. After 40 years of reading this man, I felt like I knew him, but of course I did not. He contributed so much to the collective appreciation of art in cinema, here in the US.
    Reply
  • By Sidney
    February 19, 2013
    06:52 PM

    The world of film will never be the same without him. He spoke so extremely well about movies, their techniques, their magic, and why Cinema is the greatest art form of the 21st century. I just wish I could have met him.
    Reply
  • By Moviefan777
    February 19, 2013
    09:13 PM

    R.I.P. Donald Richie. You were the one who made me fall in love with Asian cinema with your humane commentaries. I will pray for his family and friends. He was a great man.
    Reply
  • By Collection
    February 19, 2013
    09:15 PM

    Domo, Donald Richie, and Rest in Peace. May your valuable critiques and insight never be Lost in Translation...
    Reply
  • By Nan K.
    February 20, 2013
    12:18 AM

    I hope you get to meet Yasujiro Ozu , Mikio Naruse , Akira Kurosawa and Kon Ichikawa somewhere in the next life. Rest in Peace. Donald Richie
    Reply
  • By Gord
    February 20, 2013
    08:39 AM

    I loved Donald Richie; one of the most insightful and entertaining of critics. He was an asset to every Criterion disc he was on and to the film community in general - requiescat in pace.
    Reply
  • By Craig J. Clark
    February 20, 2013
    09:03 AM

    Very sad news. Time to break the seal on the copy of Rashomon I bought months ago.
    Reply
  • By Cnuts
    February 20, 2013
    09:34 AM

    I never went to film school, never sat in on a film lecture. But I've listened to and read Donald Richie, and so, I truly have. Thank you.
    Reply
  • By Batzomon
    February 20, 2013
    11:32 AM

    Thank you, Mr. Richie, for teaching the rest of the world what Japanese cinema and most especially Ozu had to offer.
    Reply
  • By ingrasp
    February 20, 2013
    12:12 PM

    I did not know Donald Richie personally yet I feel as if I've lost a dear friend. My secret hope was that he would live forever...
    Reply
  • By Don n.
    February 24, 2013
    06:26 PM

    The first book on Ozu I read, probably in 1980, was Donald Richie's. I greatly admire the later books on Ozu by David Bordwell and David Desser, but for me Richie's remains the warmest.
    Reply