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Kon Ichikawa

Kon Ichikawa (born November 20, 1915, Mie Prefecture, Japan) is one of the better known Japanese film directors and one of the most unpredictable.

He gained his western credibility in the 1950s and 1960s with a number of bleak films - two antiwar films with The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain, Conflagration in which a priest burns down his temple to save it from spiritual pollution, Alone in the Pacific and the technically formidable An Actor's Revenge about a Kabuki actor.

Many of his films are literary adaptations, works including Tanizaki Junichiro's The Key (1959) and The Makioka Sisters (1983), Natsume Soseki's Kokoro (1955) and I Am a Cat (1965), and Mishima Yukio's The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (as Enjo (1958))

His films were often screen-written by his wife, Natto Wada, and when she ceased this activity at the end of the 1960s it marked a change in his films.

It can be said that his main trait is technical expertise, irony, detachment and a drive for realism married with a complete spectrum of genres. Some critics class him with Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu as one of the masters of Japanese cinema.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Kon Ichikawa Facts

Birth NameUji Yamada
BirthdayNovember 20, 1915
BirthplaceMie, Japan
Date of deathFebruary 13, 2008 (age 92)

Selected Filmography

Ten Nights of Dreams
The Makioka Sisters
Burmese Harp
Fires on the Plain
Visions of Eight
Revenge of a Kabuki Actor
Tokyo Olympiad
Kon Ichikawa's 47 Ronin
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