People You Should Know: Akiko Koyama
Pictured: Her appearances in Sing a Song of Sex; Boy; Violence at Noon; 1960 wedding to Oshima; at Cannes with Oshima in 2000
In the discussion of filmmaker Nagisa Oshima’s accomplishments, it is rare that they acknowledge the woman who enabled nearly all of it - Akiko Koyama. His wife since 1960, with their marriage ending only in his death in 2013, Koyama starred in many of his best-known films and helped fund them with earnings from her own career. When Oshima had a stroke, she risked everything - including her own health - to devote herself completely to his care, even publishing a book about their lives together in 2011. At his funeral, “Oshima’s coffin was filled with origami cranes[…], with a message from Koyama, saying, “I was happy to be with you.””(x) The Japan Times writes, “[In reading her book], I am reminded of the abiding contribution its author has made to the achievements of her husband and the Japanese film industry in general.”
The Backstory of Koyama, Oshima, and His Films
In 1955, Koyama debuted as an actress to quick success. Shooting her second film, she happened to meet a young assistant director by the name of Oshima. For five years they were kept apart pursuing their separate careers.
The couple exchanged 360 letters during the five years leading up to their marriage. In one of them, Oshima wrote: “I will become an internationally recognized director and take you to the Cannes International Film Festival.” He kept his promise. (x)
The year of 1960 was deeply eventful for the pair. They got married (see this photo of them at their wedding) while Oshima’s career rapidly gained speed, but trouble soon followed. His daringly political “Night and Fog in Japan” had been withdrawn from circulation within three days of release. Oshima balked at this “censorship”, saying ”my film is the weapon of the people’s struggle” and left the studio. (x) This lead to a long-term trial for both him and Koyama to sustain careers outside of major studios. Through loans from friends and savings from Koyama’s acting career, Oshima made some of history’s most important films. During the long shoot of “Boy”, money often ran out. Koyama, who also acted in the film and earned a Best Supporting Actress award, would then earn money for the production through modelling and commercials.
After Oshima’s stroke in the 90s, the pressure to care for him lead Koyama into a four-year depression. But an event occurred that gave her new solace and feeling of fulfillment - the unexpectedly large celebration of Oshima’s accomplishments during their attendance at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Despite incredible obstacles and health problems for both, Koyama has no regrets:
“I want to live valuing each and every day as it comes,” she writes. “That has been my motto ever since the day that my husband, Nagisa Oshima, fell ill in 1996 — and it hasn’t changed. Faced with my husband’s illness, I made it a priority to care for him over pursuing my career as an actress. And I have not wavered once from that choice.” (x)
Learn More About Her
- In this detailed article: In the realms of true love and devotion, few could fault Akiko Koyama - The Japan Times
- See her performances in many Oshima films, including Violence at Noon, Sing a Song of Sex, Boy, a brief appearance in Death by Hanging, among others.
#23: Claire’s dad was one of my high school’s substitute teachers.
This will forever be my favorite story told by Eddie Redmayne.
"Costumes are also used to show Mr. Darcy’s evolution as he comes to love Elizabeth Bennet and let go of his snobbery. His costume had a series of stages. The first time we see him he’s at Meryton, where he has a very stiffly tailored jacket on, and he’s quite contained and rigid. He stays in that rigid form for the first part of the film.
By the time we get to the proposal that goes wrong in the rain, we move to a similar cut, but a much softer fabric. And then later he’s got a completely different cut of coat, not interlined, and he wears it undone.
The nth degree is him walking through the mist in the morning, completely undressed by 18th-century standards. It’s absolutely unlikely, but then Lizzie’s in her nightie, so what can you say?”
(Jacqueline Durran, Costume designer)
30 years ago today, The Breakfast Club met for detention.
“Dear white people: Breaking news – the amount of black friends required to not seem racist has now been raised to two. Sorry, your weed man Tyrone does not count.”
So begins the “concept trailer” for Dear White People, a biting independent satire written and directed by Justin Simien. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, a special jury award for breakthrough talent and, according to Vulture, “effusive praise” from audiences.
But its future was never certain, being an indie comedy that deals with the ever-volatile subject of American racial politics. That changed Wednesday, when Variety reported that Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions had “acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights” to the film.
What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.(x)
"For his audition for Prince Hans (from Frozen) he sang a cover of "I Feel Pretty" from the musical West Side Story, though had altered lyrics, turning the song into a self-centered, narcisistic, yet funny chant.” [x]
THEY SHOULD HAVE PUT THIS IN THE MOVIE AS HIS VILLAIN SONG, OMG HANS.
Ted Tally: No movie had ever opened in February and gone on to win any Oscars. You know, it was gonna be a full year before its Oscar chances. We had 7 nominations, we were the only movie nominated in all 5 of the so-called major categories, and I was the first to win. And I stayed and watched Tony win; watched from the wings as he came up and got the standing ovation.
Anthony Hopkins: When Billy Crystal came on at the beginning wearing that mask, I thought they were just being nice to us, and I thought ‘Oh, well’. I didn’t know what to expect, and so, when Kathy Bates called my name out I didn’t know what to say. And I mean that, I really didn’t expect that.
The Great Gatsby with and without visual effect.
you know how movies can have effects that are like 400% realistic and there’s just no way you can wrap your head around the fact that it’s not real
and then some movies have really really great effects but there’s just something still kinda obviously fake about it that you just know it’s cgi
even though there’s very obviously the technology and budget to have perfect special effects for Gatsby, they still kept that little something, that too perfect flow that makes it pretty obvious that it’s cgi. and it’s got this dreamy quality to it and it’s pretty much perfect considering the point of the story is this foggy dream-like hysteria clouding Gatsby’s mind and just wow holy shit i love movies wow fuck
This is amazing
god bless visual fx
W Magazine: Best Performances photographed by Juergen Teller.