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05 August 2012

Japanese film "THERMAE ROMAE" meaning Roman Bath in Latin

Japanese actors playing Roman people in Hadrian era of Roman Empire.

One Roman architect of the bath time slipps to modern Japan and experience modern style bath.

All dialogues are done in Japanese except some short Latin dialogues. 

Interesting thing was viewers could learn how Roman Empire functioned. How Roman viewed other parts of the world, and how slavery functioned. How important it was for the Emperor Hadrian to be deifeid after retirement.

One of the shocking thing shown was Emperor Hadrian had a boy lover and he was very much saddened by the boy's death. It was very openly depicted in the film maybe because it was Japanese film. In the West, such depicting would be very controversial.

The film was in fact, comedy. But it can be great textbook to learn Roman Empire stuff. Since it is made by Japanese from Japanese perspective, portrayal of Roman people looked very neutral. Not too religious and not too ideological. Hope the film will be released in Italy and other parts of the world.

 

21:48 Posted in Film, Italy, Japan News | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, gay

20 March 2012

Film "Working Girl" Back to 1980's

Working Girl is a 1988 romantic comedy film, which tells the inspiring story of a Staten Island-raised secretary, Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), working in a Wall Street investment bank. When her boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), breaks her leg skiing, Tess uses Parker's absence and connections, including her errant beau Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), to put forward her own idea for a merger deal.

It was a typical success story. She suceeded in business and love and got promoted. The film reflected 1980's social phenomenon like feminists arising. More women in business fighting against male cheuvinism in the industry and economic booming by financial sector such as merger and acquisition. The scenes were shot in the World Trade Center which was later destroyed by 911 terror attack.

However these things have become outdated lately.

Feminism is no longer a big issue. It is because gender equality has reached certain level so there is not much needs like in the past. In the mid-management position, in the US, women accounts for 40% of all the positions in business. Of couse glass ceiling still exists, in top management positions like CEO, women only accounts for 10%. In Japan 10% is ratio in mid-management position, ratio in top management is only 1% or less. But no one argues women working in top positions in the business or politics. Now it is a matter of time and efforts for individuals to get what they want regardless of gender.

But ironically, people have become more conservative recently. Although public attitude changed, women traditionally face difficulty breaking barriers which precedors already created and continued for so long. Women are no longer exluded but still not welcome and not suitable in male dominated sector. In fact not many women want to do totally same things as men do. Girls are girls and boys are boys anyway.

After all, even rich, successful and independent women want to get married to richer and more successful guys.

Lately backlash has come, more younger women want to be housewife because that is easier in economic recession and people discovered being good wife and wise mother is one of greatest choices in life. In the old days women could hardly chooose the way to live. Besides being housewife and mother was secretary, teacher or nurse. Now housewife is what they can choose besides working girl. In fact they can do the both if they want to. Recent feminist film "Mona lisa smile" implied traditional role of women is not bad at all although you do not have to comform to what the society expects you to be.

The other thing outdated is business success, especially in financial sector. After Lehman Shock and Occupy Wall Street movement, financial sector seemed to be con and dirty business that exploits many commoners in the society. Merger and Acquisition was a kind of money game which never cared about people working in companies.

Although people wanted to be and believed to be richer, only a few of them could achieve that. Just 1 % of people occupy vast majority of the wealth in the society. 

Success in business cannot always link to happiness in life. Working all day long and no time to use money for fun. No time to have good communication with your family. You have no friends and no one to trust or nobody who trusts you. What does money help you?

Furthermore, because of necessity of economic growth, our earth and lives are in danger such as global warming by carbon dioxide and recently radioactives from nuclear power plants. To grow more states and corporations have to exploit more natural resources and take huge risks for our lives.

Our lives, happiness, environment are at risk for materialistic success. That kind of things shouldn't be valued in motion pictures any more.

We are now living in a different era from 1980's materialistic era. We have to think and change.  

 

 

10:13 Posted in Film, Society, un-USA | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: feminism, women, fukushima

06 February 2012

Documentary film"The Cove" Good for brain training

I rented a DVD of the film which contains Japanese subtitles and censored faces for the release in Japan. The film won US film Academy Award for documentary. It is about dolphin loving westerners trying to save dolphins in the cove in Taiji town in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan.

This documentary is interesting one in the sense that anyone can learn that documentary shouldn't be produced in neutral stance, in other words it can be propaganda or be very biased.

To me, it was like brain training material. The film is based on the producers' emotional matters. The story is mainly narrated by Rick O'berry, a former dolphin trainer for the famous TV show "Flipper." He felt guilty of using dolphins for entertainment. Since then he started activity to protect dolphins. He even had broken the law to do that. In this film he trespassed to capture dolphin hunting scenes.

I list up things agreeable and disagreeable matters in the film.

  • Dolphins shouldn't be used for aquarium shows because they are put in stressful situation. 

Agree, in that sense we should treat them better. Maybe animals shouldn't be used as toys or entertainment like bull fighting in Spain or Rodeo in US.

  • Dolphins are as intelligent as human, so they shouldn't be killed and eaten.

Disagree. What is definition of "intelligence" they mean? Does that mean not intelligent creatures should be killed and eaten?  

  • Dolphin hunting is not Japanese culture but only local matter in the town. Most Japanese do not eat dolphin or whale meat. Cultural aspect can not be a reason for justifying dolphin hunting.

Disagree. Although dolphin hunting is only local culture in the town, it is their culture anyway. No foreigner or Japanese outside the town can interfere their activity. What they eat is their business. As long as the specie is not endangered, anyone can eat anything except human on the earth. I do not care Koreans eating dog meat though I don't and I think dogs are as intelligent as human.

The film featured some facts Japanese merely pay attention as follows.

  1. If people continue to fish in the oceans at current speed, the marine resource will all disappear in 40 years. Japan is the world's largest consumer of seafood.
  2. If you are arrested by the police, the police can detain you for 135 days until indictment is decided. If indicted, you are convicted at rate of 90%.
  3. Japan pays so much money to small nations to gain pro-whaling votes in IWC. Japan's intention is not economic one but very political, which is protesting western imperialism.
  4. IWC delegate from Japan says whaling is one way of pest control because they are eating smaller fish.
  5. Dolphins and whale meats sometimes contain very highly concentrated mercury inside and those are provided to school lunches for children. (Now we should be worried about radioactives.)

One thing I wondered was why Taiji town did not permit the documentary crews to videotape their hunting of dolphins, not letting them do that illegally. That way they can solve the problem. It is bloody and brutal but what is the problem? That is what humans do for survival. We do that to cows, pigs, birds and even to fruits and vegetables. Plants are living creatures. Even vegetarians cannot avoid such sin for survival.

Let's be logical, rational and realistic rather than emotional racist, imperialist or idiotic idealist.   

19 November 2011

Film "Mississippi Burning" and President Obama

The story is one Afro-American civil activist disappeared somewhere in Missippi 1964 and FBI men searched for them. Then they faced brutality of local people. The film described how uncivilized and scary deep South like Mississippi was.

I remember when I was in America, Afro-American professor of Black Studies criticized the film because the main characters were two good white men saving poor Afro-Americans. In fact, the film was made from white people's perspective.

When we, Japanese hear about Mississippi, first thing to come up is "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. But reality is racist conservative deep South. Now things have changed a little bit better, I guess.

America has changed since that time, which was proven by the fact that Obama was elected as President. However, it seemed he dissappointed those who voted for him. His supporters believed Obama can understand pain of the poor people because he shared the same experience. After he was elected, what appears to be was he was after all, American President just like other Presidents, who had different skin color. He had to serve for rich white men who dominate the country's wealth. He had to keep sending troops to the battle fields to save America's pride and military industry.

The consequence is "Occupy Wall Street." Now new type of seggregation emerged in a country of democracy and freedom. The rich and the poor.

Agony goes on as life goes on.