Kon Ichikawa, the Japanese director responsible for, among other things, the great anti-war films "The Burmese Harp" and "Fires on the Plain," passed away yesterday in Tokyo. From Douglas Martin in the New York Times:
Mr. Ichikawa’s career reached what many consider its high point when
Americans were streaming to art-cinema houses in the 1950s and ’60s to
see movies by emerging masters like Ingmar Bergman. In those years some critics rated Mr. Ichikawa on a level with Akira Kurosawa. He was “once hailed as one of the world’s greatest directors,” Olaf MÃ¶ller wrote in 2001 in Film Comment.
From Mark Schilling at Variety:
Best known abroad for "The Burmese Harp" (1956) and "Fires on the Plain (1959), pics that vividly, if grimly, portrayed the human costs of WWII, as well as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics docu "Tokyo Olympiad" (1965), Ichikawa was the last directorial giant of Japan’s now vanished studio studio system, which reached its peak in the 1950s and early 1960s, before succumbing to the advance of television.
Michael Atkinson wrote about "The Burmese Harp" for IFC News:
A decade after Hiroshima, a Japanese filmmaker makes the most heartbreaking anti-war film of all time. Little about "The Burmese Harp" seems groundbreaking today — it is simply a cudgel on your tear ducts, and arguably the first war film made anywhere that suggests that war finishes nothing, and indeed creates traumas and responsibilities without end.
+ Kon Ichikawa, Japanese Film Director, Dies at 92 (NY Times)
+ Ichikawa dead at 92 (Variety)
+ "The Burmese Harp" and "Un Chant d’Amour" (IFC News)