February 21, 1992 |
With "Tampopo" (1986), the movie that brought him some celebrity in the United States, Juzo Itami took the story of a student noodle-maker and turned it into a sensual and ticklish look at Japanese society. It's an excellent film, with all the small comic elements tuned just right to Itami's vision. Itami followed "Tampopo" with "Marusa No Onna" ("A Taxing Woman") in 1987. It didn't do as well in this country, most likely because it lacks something of its predecessor's flavorful eccentricity.
January 1, 1991 |
The world's greatest economic powerhouse is staffed by some of the world's weakest men. From that simple but stark assumption, Japan's movie-directing sensation of the 1980s has fashioned "Ageman," the film he hopes will carry his momentum into the 1990s. "Japan has not yet invented fatherhood as a part of its culture," filmmaker Juzo Itami said. "So where most societies have three main figures--father, mother and child--Japan has only two, and men grow up to be children."
May 26, 1992 |
In a defiant letter written Monday from the hospital bed where he is recovering from a Mafia-style stabbing, film director Juzo Itami called on the Japanese public not to back down in the fight against gangsters. " Yakuza (gangsters) must not be allowed to deprive us of our freedom through violence and intimidation, and this is the message of my movie," wrote Itami, one of Japan's most popular filmmakers.
May 31, 1993 |
Even before gangsters, outraged by his last movie, attacked him, director Juzo Itami had started thinking about death. * "There won't be that many more movies I can do," said Itami, who just turned 60. "There is no possibility of doing dozens more--at most, five or so. Or in that range. The time that is left starts weighing on one's mind." That's why, he said, he began planning his latest movie a year and a half ago--a comedy about death. A comedy? "Well, movies are a business," observed Itami.
June 2, 1993 |
Another Attack: Popular Japanese film director Juzo Itami, attacked last year by gangsters who were outraged at his anti-gangster film "Mimbo no Onna (Mob-Fighting Woman)," has come under attack once again for the work. During a showing of Itami's latest film, "Daibyonin (Very Sick Patient)," a young man who police said belonged to a small rightist organization that had opposed the distribution of "Mimbo no Onna," slashed a movie screen in Tokyo while 400 filmgoers watched.
April 19, 1989 |
Following are capsule reviews of today's screenings in the American Film Institute Los Angeles International Film Festival at the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas: 'A Taxing Woman's Return' Japan, 1988, 127 minutes 9:00 p.m. Once again Nobuko Miyamoto plays that most implacable of tax inspectors, but this time her husband Juzo Itami's comedy is actually more accessible than the original. Instead of spoofing the specific foibles of the inscrutable Japanese tax system Itami this time comments with pitch-dark, fatalistic humor on widespread corruption at the highest levels of government.