holds his MFA in Film from NYU (specializing in Japanese and French
cinema). He appeared as an extra in such films as Star! and
Change of Habit.
Richard contributes Allen Ginsberg's
Top Ten Movies list, below, plus
translations of writings by directors Luis Buñuel and Mizoguchi Kenji, and by poet/screenwriter Yoda
Allen Ginsberg's Top Ten Movies
Allen Ginsberg's neighborhood video shop, Kim's Video, asked him for his
top 10 list of movies, and this is the list he gave them:
Orpheus (Orphée), Jean Cocteau, 1950
Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d’un poet), Jean Cocteau, 1930
Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du paradis), Marcel Carné,1945
The Flower Thief, Ron Rice, 1960
Pepe Le Moko, Julien Duvivier, 1930
The Battleship Potempkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin), Sergei
Pull My Daisy, Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie, 1968
Heaven and Earth Magic, Harry Smith, 1962
Port of Shadows, Marcel Carné, 1938
The Grand Illusion (La Grande illusion), Jean Renoir, 1937
More Poets' Favorite Movies Lists
Epigrams and Thoughts
Reality without imagination is only half of reality.
Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other twenty-two
Dreams are uncontrollable. Their secret has not yet been discovered. I
wish I could direct my dreams according to my desires. Then...I would
never wake up.
I'm passionate about insects. You can find all of Shakespeare and de
Sade in the lives of insects.
It's very attractive to me to see thighs with something viscous running
down them because the skin is brought closer; it's as if we were not
only seeing them but touching them.
we could only find the courage to leave our destiny to chance, to accept
the fundamental mystery of our lives, then we might be closer to the
sort of happiness that comes with innocence.
The best actors I've worked with have been children and dwarves.
Thank God I'm an atheist.
God and Country are an unbeatable team: they break all records for
oppression and bloodshed.
For me Surrealism was not an aesthetic, just another avant-garde
movement; it was something to which I committed myself in a moral and
spiritual way. You can't imagine the loyalty Surrealism demanded in all
aspects of life.
From Luis Buñuel: The Complete Films by Bill
Krohn (Courtesy of Bill Krohn)
About Luis Buñuel: The founder of surrealist cinema, Luis Buñuel
enjoyed a career as diverse and contradictory as his films: he was a
master of both silent and sound cinema, of documentaries as well as
features. Anarchist, communist and pious anti-Catholic he was condemned
by the Church and exiled by Franco from his native Spain. In his 70s he
attained international fame for his scathing satires of the bourgeoisie
and won an Academy Award near the end of his life. He once commented,
"Religious education and surrealism have marked me for life."
Jisei (death poem)
autumn chill is here—
Quickly with my studio comrades
Joyously I long to work
About Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956): 2006 marked the 50th
anniversary of the death of Mizoguchi Kenji. His death poem (jisei,)
written two days before his passing, is here translated into English for
the first time.
24 August, 1956 the greatest of Japanese film-makers died in Kyoto. Or,
quite simply, one of the greatest of film-makers…If poetry is manifest
in each second, each shot filmed by Mizoguchi, it is because, as with
Murnau, it is the instinctive reflection of the film-maker’s nobility.
Like the director of Sunrise, the director of Ugetsu
Monogatari can describe an adventure which is at the same time a
cosmogony…The art of Kenji Mizoguchi is to prove that real life is at
one and the same time elsewhere and yet here, in it’s strange and
radiant beauty.”—Jean-Luc Godard
Sensei all alone
taking a nap at midday—
beyond the eaves
of the soundstage
the deep blueness of the sky
Yoda Yoshikata: The screenwriter and poet Yoda Yoshikata (whose
family name is given as homage to a sage-like character appearing in
The Empire Strikes Back and other films in the Star Wars
series) is noted for his screenplays for several masterpieces by his
friend and mentor Mizoguchi Kenji. Among them are Naniwa Hika (Osaka
Elegy,) Gion no Shimai (Sisters of Gion), Ugetsu
Monogatari, Saikaku Ichidai Onna (The Life of O-Haru)
and Yokihi (Princess Yang Kwai Fei.) Mr. Yoda’s book of
poetry Roma was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize.