Archive for 'Films and Videos'

Bali Temple Explorer

Bali Temple Explorer is now live, both on our website and in the galleries. This remarkable interactive film by Martin Percy, produced by unit9, lets you explore a complex of three small temples located near the village of Bedulu in Bali. You can travel through the site by clicking on the video images, and a menu at the bottom of the screen offers a map and commentary. The museum is grateful to Martin Percy and unit9 for making this interactive experience available as a complement to our Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance exhibition. Let us know what you think!

UPDATE: Bali Temple Explorer has won the 2011 Webby award in the Travel and Adventure category. Congratulations to all!

Wisdoms of the East & West: A meditation on the murals of Jean Charlot and Affandi


Wisdoms of the East and West is an animated video created in 2010 by artist Ben Wood and puppeteer Michael Schuster to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the East-West Center in Honolulu Hawaii. The video is based on the flagship Charlot and Affandi murals in Imin Center-Jefferson Hall at the East West Center.

In keeping with the East-West Center’s mandate to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the Pacific region, the video shows Semar, the Javanese shadow puppet on a voyage from East to West. The video’s soundtrack is a fusion of Indonesian and western music and was performed by musicians Annie Reynolds and Made Widana.

Ben Wood is a British-born visual artist. A recipient of the California Governors Award for Historic Preservation, his work has been shown Internationally, at the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City, the London Jewish Museum, and the East West Center in Hololulu. Since 2004 he has carried out over 5 large scale video projections onto Coit Tower in San Francisco.

China in the 21st Century–discussion on KPFA this morning

Jeffrey Wasserstrom gave a really interesting interview on KPFA this morning about China. (He comes on at 34 minutes into the morning show).

The Morning Show – June 1, 2010 at 7:00am

Click to listen (or download)

It made me think anew about the rapid changes China has undergone over the past 40 years. When asked for his predictions for the future of China, Jeffrey said he expects China to keep surprising us since all predictions have been off base for a long time. Jeffrey, who is professor of History at UC Irvine, will be at the Asian introducing some films about contemporary China on September 5 at 11am and 2pm, and at 12pm will be signing copies of his books, including his latest Global Shanghai, 1850–2010.

Shanghai film clips

My homework this week is scanning old Chinese movies for interesting clips of Shanghai for possible screening in the exhibition. The exhibition curator Michael Knight was given a stack of DVDs from a Chinese contact with permission to use. (I think they are all in the public domain).

乌鸦与麻雀 / Crows and Sparrows poster (1949)

乌鸦与麻雀 / Crows and Sparrows poster (1949)

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When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

If there are two things to learn from the 1960 Japanese movie, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, they are: 1) life is cruel and 2) it’s a man’s world.

The Criterion DVD box description reads:

…a delicate, devastating study of a woman who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s very modern postwar Ginza district, entertaining businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society.
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Samurai: From the green to the Inner Richmond and beyond

For the past few months we’ve been working hard on a fun lil’ project and finally,  the time has come. We are THRILLED to unveil it.

Are you ready? Here we go…

Though the final products have strayed from the original storyboards, the overall take away message remains and echoes a major theme of Lords of the Samurai: there’s more to samurai than you think.

The star samurai is none other than our very own “Kenji,” the museum’s school programs associate.

We hope you enjoy! If you dig them, then please help spread the word and share the love. Let us know what you think. We love comments / feedback!

A special shout out goes to Sean Dana / 7G Productions, for realizing our vision on limited resources. His wicked sense of humor was right in line with our intended hamminess, and he’s super-creative!

Hattori Hanzo

I saw Kill Bill again the other day and the sushi bar scene between Hattori Hanzo and Beatrix always keeps me rolling. It’s funny that the master swordmaker hides behind the guise of a skilled sushi chef. So I thought, is Hattori Hanzo based on a real Samurai? Yes he is. According to Wikipedia, Hattori Hanzo (1542–1596), also known as Hattori Masanari, the son of Hattori Yasunaga, was a famous Samurai who also was a Ninja. Hanzo was born a vassal of the Matsudaira (later Tokugawa) clan, and served Tokugawa Ieyasu; he would later earn the nickname Oni-Hanzo (Devil Hanzo) because of the fearless tactics he displayed in his operations.

Here’s the Kill Bill scene. Enjoy!

Hindu temple on YouTube–why the swastikas?

Lorraine, our education resources coordinator, has been uploading some of our short documentaries on YouTube, and I noticed an interesting dialog in response to the Hindu Temple video.  One viewer commented:

whats up with the nazi logos : (

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How much do I love Japanese cinema?  Don’t get me started.   When I lived in Los Angeles, the only person who went to more screenings of the American Cinemateque’s Japanese Outlaw Masters Series was Quentin Tarantino.  I’m not entirely sure he didn’t set up camp in the parking lot, calling out for delivery so he didn’t have to miss any of the yakuza-psychedelic-bushido bounty.

Maybe that’s a little hyperbolic, but whatever.  Anyhow, I’m working hard at re-watching as much of the samurai canon as possible in advance of finalizing our DVD orders, and I realize that somehow I haven’t seen everything.  How could that be?  Actually, I’m relieved that there are still treasures to be discovered.  And the ones I’m revisiting?  I still love my favorites and can happily find new details over which to obsess.
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Best Samurai film ever!

Lone Wolf and Cub

In my opinion, the best Samurai movie I’ve seen when I was a kid. Here’s the description from Amazon.

“Child and expertise for rent, reads the banner flying from the wooden cart of rogue samurai Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama). With his infant son and a baby carriage stocked with a veritable arsenal in tow, Ogami rents his services for 500 pieces of gold while awaiting his revenge on the corrupt clan that murdered his wife. Director Kenji Misumi draws his distinctive graphic style from the legendary manga series written by Kazuo Koike (who adapted his own work for the screen) and adds an inspired cinematic device: when Ogami enters battle, the world falls silent, literally, until his sword strikes. The fights are savage—blades slash, limbs fly, and blood spurts like geysers—yet the film relaxes in moments of serenity and tenderness as the cooing baby boy marvels at the wonder of the world.”

See a preview on YouTube.