The golden age of Japanese cinema would not have been the same without visionary cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, as the Criterion Channel’s now-streaming retrospective attests. Miyagawa, who over the course of his fifty-year career shot more than 130 films, brought his painterly eye to many of his country’s halcyon works of the 1950s, helping filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, and Kon Ichikawa express their respective sensibilities on-screen. In the video above, one of Miyagawa’s biggest fans—John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and an acclaimed cinematographer in his own right—pays tribute to the astonishing range and adaptability of his talent. Here, Bailey compares the “revolutionary” photography of Kurosawa’s kinetic, high-contrast Rashomon with Miyagawa’s more muted and dreamlike approach to Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu, nodding finally to some of the Ichikawa films (Odd Obsession, Conflagration, Tokyo Olympiad) that took the cinematographer into more expressionist and technologically sophisticated territory. To explore the riches in our thirteen-film retrospective, simply click here.
A Swoon-Worthy Tribute to a Great Hollywood Romanticist
Critic Farran Smith Nehme introduces the underappreciated films of Frank Borzage, one of golden-age Hollywood’s underrated masters of melodrama.
In the Shadow of the Dictator: A Conversation with George Sikharulidze
In his short film Fatherland, the Georgian director pays a visit to Stalin’s birthplace to explore the townspeople’s nostalgia for their long-departed leader.