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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: March ::
Re: Romeo Must Die
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0612  Wednesday, 29 March 2000.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Mar 2000 11:28:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die

[2]     From:   Peter Hyland <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Mar 2000 22:02:42 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Mar 2000 11:28:55 -0500
Subject: 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die

Karen Peterson-Kranz wrote:

>I definitely don't want to be snippy, especially in response to anything
>Tanya writes, since she and Poor Yorick provide such a valuable service
>to all of us, especially those like me who live in far-flung corners.
>But...

aw, shucks.  *blush*

>It simply isn't accurate, nor is it far, to suggest that the two
>Kurosawa films Tanya mentions, Ran and Throne of Blood, are part of the
>"martial arts" genre.  In many ways, to classify them simply as "samurai
>translations" is oversimplifying as well.  True, they use medieval Japan
>as their setting.  But these films go far beyond their genre.  You
>simply must see them; you may not agree with me that Throne of Blood is
>the finest interpretation (note: not a "version") of Macbeth on film,
>but both are essential viewing.

Samurai swordplay, is related to kung fu (or wushu, which is what Jet Li
does) in that they all developed from the same principles of movement
and philosophy (again, I am over simplifying, but I don't think this is
the place to get into the specifics of martial arts).  Certainly the
Kurosawa films transcend their genre, but that doesn't change the fact
that they are rooted in Japanese culture and gain as much of their power
from their local history as they do from the Shakespeare films they draw
from.  I appreciate Karen's enthusiasm (which I share), but I didn't
think this was the place to extrapolate on the virtues of Kurosawa's
films beyond the fact that they are related by proxy.

At any rate, I understood Jimmy's question to be related specifically to
the fighting technique involved, and since I am not aware of any other
Hong Kong films that relate to Shakespeare in any way (please, if anyone
knows of any, tell me!), I thought it would be appropriate to expand the
topic to include other Asian films.

My apologies if I offended in my haste to respond.  Please be assured
that no harm was intended, certainly not against our dearly beloved
Kurosawa-sama.

Moshiwake arimasen

Tanya

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Mar 2000 22:02:42 -0800
Subject: 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.060 Re: Romeo Must Die

While Karen Peterson-Kranz is right to say that Kurosawa's Ran and
Throne of Blood are not simply part of the "martial arts" genre, in
suggesting that Tanya Gough is oversimplifying, she oversimplifies
herself. Karen objected to Tanya's description of these films as "superb
examples of Samurai translations", implying that samurai films are
basically the same as martial arts films.  It might well be that that is
what they have become, but the historical samurai culture contains a
very complex mix of social, ethical, political and military
relationships. Kurosawa knew this even if simple-minded martial artists
don't, so Tanya's description is not so far off the mark.

Peter Hyland
 

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