Beginning in the 1980s, director Juzo Itami and his wife, actor Nobuko Miyamoto, became a powerhouse duo on the international film scene, finding success with a string of movies about hardworking independent women. In the latest installment of our Creative Marriages series, now playing on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, we’re taking a closer look at their artistic collaboration and the relationship they shared off-screen. As part of the program, we’re highlighting two of their greatest hits: the 1985 “ramen western” Tampopo, in which Miyamoto plays a widow determined to become a topnotch noodle chef, and the award-winning 1987 seriocomic thriller A Taxing Woman, in which she stars as a tax auditor investigating a shady millionaire. In the below video, programmer Michael Sragow explains how Itami and Miyamoto brought a fresh comedic perspective to female-driven narratives, one that departed from the tragic depictions of women that dominated Japanese cinema of the past.
The Pioneering Female Director Who Broke into the Hollywood Boy’s Club
Critic B. Ruby Rich pays tribute to the underappreciated career of Dorothy Arzner, who was the only woman directing movies in the studio system for the majority of her career.