DUET for Cynthea Hayakawa Watching for once a woman dance with a cobra, I cannot believe her eyes: inwardly poised, they seem hypnotized, the space of her performance, art involved eternally with art. As belly dancer Zenobia, her full, veiled torso sparked the air, by discipline and heat shifting points of theatrical light. Now in […]

THE FOOL (Christine Edzard, 1990)

In a decades-earlier life, as a student of Victorian literature, I read cover to cover all four hefty volumes of Henry Philip Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, which still occupy a place on my living room floor next to a bookcase. This journalistic series by a high school dropout, in his twenties the […]

HIGH AND LOW (Akira Kurosawa, 1963)

Highly reminiscent of his moody police thriller Stray Dog (1949), which addressed Japan’s social deterioration as a consequence of its Second World War defeat and the ongoing U.S. occupation, Tengoku to Jigoku—literally, Heaven and Hell, but softened to High and Low for U.S. consumption—remains Akira Kurosawa’s clearest indictment of U.S. intrusion in Japanese society and […]

RASHÔMON (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

Rashômon brought postwar Japanese cinema to international attention.* ** Based on stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Akira Kurosawa’s film portraying multiple views of a single criminal event won the top prize at Venice. It is a bold, fascinating, visually entrancing piece of work. There is scarcely anyone who loves movies who hasn’t seen this film more […]


TRANSFORMATIONS for Mindy Aloff Voluptuous forms thin from another angle. With his camera he is a sight, intent on perfection, if not in the next world, in this. Wife and daughter watch him turn in a wound in rock, an apparition taken in. On a precipice, resembling her own face, flesh in accord with conception, […]