Sunday, July 24, 2016

BATTLE OF OKINAWA! Kihachi Okamoto's Classic Is Screened in Yokohama!

Teruyoshi Nakano, Takashi Naganuma, and Kensho Yamashita pose with a Battle of Okinawa poster. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today I attended a screening of Kihachi Okamoto's Battle of Okinawa (1971). It was my first time to see the film in 35mm, and it's never looked better. The movie remains a powerful anti-war statement more than 40 years after its original release. I was privileged to sit next to Nakano-san during the screening.

After the screening, SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano and assistant director Kensho Yamashita held a Q&A session in which they talked about their experiences. Given Nakano-san's expertise in explosions, he naturally described how many of those shots were accomplished.

Assistant director Kensho Yamashita focused more on the dramatic side of things. He even brought a scrapbook with him, which contained many behind-the-scenes photos from the set. There were many rare shots of Okamoto-san directing the action. Yamashita-san was also an assistant director on Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) and Blue Christmas (1978) and went on to direct Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).

Following the talk, it was dinnertime! Many of us gathered around separate tables and broke bread with the guests of honor. In particular, I talked with Naganuma-san about the model work on Godzilla (1984), a personal favorite of mine.

I always enjoy seeing Naganuma-san, as he is among the friendliest Toho alumni you could meet. It's always fun asking about many of the classics from the '70s, as he still has vivid memories of them.

Kensho Yamashita is also a lot of fun, and he seems to enjoy these events as much as anyone else.

And that's a wrap! There's always something happening in my neck of the woods, so stay tuned for the latest (and coolest) happenings in the world of Toho movies!

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