Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa

Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa

16 Episodes

Japan’s most renowned cinematographer, Kazuo Miyagawa came to film after studying traditional Japanese ink painting, training that influenced his professed desire “to use the camera to paint on film, to bring rhythm and music to camerawork, and to continue writing poetry in the tone.” That artistry is on display in some of the towering masterworks of Japan’s cinematic golden age. For Akira Kurosawa’s international breakthrough, RASHOMON, Miyagawa shot directly into the sun to achieve a glinting, abstracted dynamism. For Kenji Mizoguchi’s sublime period tragedies UGETSU and SANSHO THE BAILIFF, he composed gorgeously fluid long takes that unfurl like scroll paintings. To Yasujiro Ozu’s late-career jewel FLOATING WEEDS he lent exquisite framing and magisterial color. And for Kon Ichikawa’s stunningly ambitious TOKYO OLYMPIAD, he created a breathtaking meditation on bodies in motion. Miyagawa’s work with these celebrated auteurs is presented alongside some of the wildly entertaining action films he photographed, including installments of the popular ZATOICHI and LONE WOLF AND CUB series, which further showcase his extraordinary versatility.

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Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa
  • Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa Teaser

    Episode 1

  • John Bailey on Kazuo Miyagawa

    Episode 2

    Cinematographer John Bailey explores the art of Japan’s most famous cameraman, director of photography for Kurosawa, Ichikawa, Mizoguchi and more.

  • Rashomon

    Episode 3

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa • 1950 • Japan
    Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori

    A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, RASHOMON is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accou...

  • Ugetsu
    1:37:09
    Episode 4

    Ugetsu

    Episode 4

    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1953 • Japan
    Starring Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Kinuyo Tanaka

    By the time he made UGETSU, Kenji Mizoguchi was already an elder statesman of Japanese cinema, fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other directors of a younger generation. And with this exquisite ...

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Episode 5

    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1954 • Japan

    When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually wrenched apart by vicious slave traders. Under Kenji Mizoguchi's dazzling direction, this classic Japa...

  • A Story from Chikamatsu

    Episode 6

    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1954 • Japan
    Starring Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyoko Kagawa

    One of a string of late-career masterworks made by Kenji Mizoguchi in the first half of the 1950s, A STORY FROM CHIKAMATSU (a.k.a. THE CRUCIFIED LOVERS) is an exquisitely moving tale of forbidden love struggling ...

  • Street of Shame

    Episode 7

    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1956 • Japan

    For his final film, Mizoguchi brought a lifetime of experience to bear on the heartbreaking tale of a brothel full of women whose dreams are constantly being shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them. Set in Tokyo's Red Light District (t...

  • Conflagration

    Episode 8

    Directed by Kon Ichikawa • 1958 • Japan
    Starring Raizo Ichikawa, Tatsuya Nakadai

    Adapted from a novel by Yukio Mishima and told in an intricate flashback structure, CONFLAGRATION dramatizes the psychological collapse of Goichi (Raizo Ichikawa), a young Buddhist acolyte from a dysfunctional f...

  • Floating Weeds

    Episode 9

    Directed by Yasujiro Ozu • 1959 • Japan

    In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (RASHOMON, UGETSU). Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his ele...

  • Odd Obsession

    Episode 10

    Directed by Kon Ichikawa • 1959 • Japan
    Starring Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Kyo

    Kon Ichikawa’s ODD OBSESSION is a strange dark comedy on a then-forbidden subject—impotence, and jealousy as a cure for it. The movie explores the links between love, jealousy, and rage, all from the standpoint of...

  • Yojimbo
    1:50:52
    Episode 11

    Yojimbo

    Episode 11

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa • 1961 • Japan

    The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade tw...

  • Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold

    Episode 12

    ZATOICHI #6
    Directed by Kazuo Ikehiro • 1964 • Japan

    After arriving in a small village, Zatoichi finds himself accused of stealing the citizens' hefty tax payments. To clear his name, he must face off against a corrupt official, a succession of hired blades, and a bullwhip-wielding titan, played...

  • Tokyo Olympiad

    Episode 13

    Directed by Kon Ichikawa • 1965 • Japan

    A spectacle of magnificent proportions, Kon Ichikawa's TOKYO OLYMPIAD ranks among the greatest documents of sport ever committed to film. Utilizing glorious widescreen cinematography, Ichikawa examines the beauty and rich drama on display at the 1964 Summe...

  • Silence
    2:09:51
    Episode 14

    Silence

    Episode 14

    Directed by Masahiro Shinoda • 1971 • Japan
    Starring David Lampson, Don Kenny, Tetsuro Tanba

    Two Portuguese priests go to Japan to help Christian sects, driven underground by a ruthless magistracy, to regain a foothold. Quickly drawn into a mire of persecution, the missionaries learn the fat...

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

    Episode 15

    Lone Wolf and Cub #4
    Directed by Buichi Saito • 1972 • Japan

    In this distinctly lowbrow entry in the LONE WOLF AND CUB series, Itto Ogami is hired by the Owari clan to assassinate a tattooed woman who is killing her enemies and cutting off their topknots. Meanwhile, Daigoro is separated from his...

  • The World of Kazuo Miyagawa

    Episode 16

    Renowned cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa collaborated with a number of great Japanese filmmakers, including Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Kon Ichikawa, and Yasujiro Ozu. The following excerpts from the Japanese television documentary THE WORLD OF KAZUO MIYAGAWA explore Miyagawa and Kurosawa’s w...