Sunday, April 17, 2016

TOHO ALUMS IN YOKOHAMA! Two Female Filmmakers Meet to Talk Movies!

Producer Mineko Okamoto (left) and writer-director Yukiko Takayama (right) discuss their work on the drama Musume Dojoji (2004). Photo by Brett Homenick.

A screening of the kabuki story Musume Dojoji (2004) was held today in Yokohama, and in attendance were writer-director Yukiko Takayama and producer Mineko Okamoto. On the way to the event, typhoon-force winds shut down the Tokyu Toyoko Line, and that meant having to take a detour to my destination. All told, I was about 45 minutes late. Still, I had a great time.

Writer-director Yukiko Takayama answers questions about her film career. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Yukiko Takayama was the screenwriter for Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), one of my favorite entries in the Godzilla series. Mineko Okamoto is the widow of director Kihachi Okamoto, one of Japan's best filmmakers. Kihachi Okamoto helmed such classics as: Desperado Outpost (1959), The Sword of Doom (1966), Kill! (1968), Battle of Okinawa (1971), and Blue Christmas (1978). Kihachi Okamoto is one of my favorite directors, so the chance to meet his wife was truly a gratifying moment.

Producer Mineko Okamoto discusses the making of Musume Dojoji. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Takayama-san was surprised to see me again, largely because Musume Dojoji is about as far as you could get from Godzilla! During dinner, she mentioned that she's a big fan of Nicolas Cage, and that she particularly enjoyed his Oscar-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). When I asked if she'd ever seen The Rock (1996), she said she had and that she liked it! Regarding kaiju movies, she cited Mothra (1961), the Daimajin series, and the Heisei Gamera series as being among her favorites.

Yours truly between Yukiko Takayama and Mineko Okamoto.

I spent most of the evening with Takayama-san, but I did get to speak with Okamoto-san. I conveyed my admiration for her husband's work, and when I told her that one of my favorites is Blue Christmas, she mentioned that she likes that film as well, largely because it's a love story.

Overall, it was a fun evening, with many great conversations. I only wish the day had gotten off to a better start. Despite the delays in travel, I had a great time.

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