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.
Consuming the Cat: Brenda Lien Calls Out an Internet Fetish
In a short film now featured on the Criterion Channel, the German filmmaker interrogates our insatiable appetite for feline memes and what it says about our consumerist culture.
The Art of Lighting a Comedic Thriller
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how Ernst Lubitsch’s satirical masterpiece To Be or Not to Be employs a venerable cinematographic technique: three-point lighting.