Monday, June 30, 2008

Teruyo Nogami, Akira Kurosawa's right hand

by Chris MaGee

Teruyo Nogami is a name that has been heard more and more in the past year or so, and that's a good thing. Her autobiographical book "Kabei (Our Mother)" was adapted to the screen by Yoji Yamada just last year and she recently accompanied veteran actor Tatsuya Nakadai to New York City for an appearance at the "Nakadai" retrospective going on this month at the Film Forum; but Nogami's involvement in Japanese cinema goes back decades.

Nogami joined Daiei Studios as a "script girl" in 1949 when she was just 22 years old and shortly thereafter began not only one of the closest friendship's of her life, but also one of the most important professional partnerships in Japanese cinema history when she was hired as the script supervisor/ continuity director on Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon". She would work in this capacity on all of Kurosawa's films until his death in 1998 and today writes and lectures about her time with "the Emperor" in an effort to maintain, protect and expand the public's knowledge of Kurosawa's cinema. Her 2006 book "Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa" is an invaluable account of these five decades and now Jason Gray has translated some interesting highlights from an interview Nogami gave to Japanese website Cinema Today in which she discusses behind the scenes details of such Kurosawa classics as "Rashomon", "Ikiru", and "Dodesukaden".

Check out Jason's article here and for a very insightful review of "Waiting on the Weather" head over to Cathy Munroe Hotes' Nishikata Film Review and scroll down to her May 30th entry.

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