The Daily Tofu

A place for art, culture, history, and creation


Culture: Koi-Tsukami "Fight with a Carp"

Art, CultureTrey TakahashiComment

Tokimado Shiganosuke fights the mighty koi spirit of Kozakura-hime. Photo: Ross Takahashi

A lone woman crosses the large waters in front of the Bellagio famous for the dancing water displays. She sings her song along the cool mists of water in the hot summer air; wearing a brilliantly colored kimono she represents a mystical beauty alone in the dark. Caught by her charm and beauty, the mighty Tokimado Shiganosuke begins to charm her win a tale of song and dance. However, not all things are as they appear--

Shiganosuke being charmed by the red Koi in disguise. Photo: Ross Takahashi

In celebration of the Las Vegas Kabuki 2015-2016 festival the Bellagio Hotel and Casino hosted Las Vegas' first Kabuki show. With a dazzling display of water and use of powerful projectors by Panasonic, the show Koi-Tsukami sets out to combined the traditions of Kabuki theatre over 400 years in the making with modern 21st century flare.

The show features a mighty fight between Tokimado Shiganosuke and the vengeful spirit of a mighty red Koi disguised as a beautiful young woman, seeking revenge for her fallen love. In a battle that rages between the fountain waters, to the stage, and onto massive water jets, Shiganosuke takes on the Koi represented in various forms as he himself develops as a mighty warrior.

Shiganosuke in a mighty battle with the Koi spirit. Photo: Ross Takahashi

While the traditional theatre stage featured lackluster art (a very important aspect of Kabuki theatre), the jaw dropping use of projectors compensated for it. A digital and interactive recreation of tradition is a challenging risk, but something that came together just right for Koi-Tsukami. While the three days of performances from August 14-16 has sadly come to an end, it leave me eager to see what other kind of tantalizing displays the company can muster up next. Check out the full gallery below:

-Trey Takahashi

Film History: A History of French Cinema - The Old Ones, the Good Ones (Part 1)

Film, Art, Culture, HistoryTrey TakahashiComment

Anna Karina, starlet of many of Jean-Luc Godard's film appearing in Le Petit Soldat.

For the longest time I had a very strong opinions when it came to French cinema, I used to say “Oh boy, I hate today’s French movies. It might be very well filmed with textbook cinematography, however they are very dark and depressing. What happened to the French film industry that had influenced a generation of film makers? Why do modern French films pale in comparison to those our countrymen had produced in the sixties?”

François Truffaut stands outside of cinema showing Charbol's Le Beau Serge, one of the first New Wave films.

The 1960s is marked as possibly the greatest time in French cinema history. The new film movement, known French new wave, hit the scene and revolutionized the way people saw film, viewed color, and how they lived a story. It was an explosion of innovation and self-conscious films by young filmmakers living in a time of rejection, revolution, and renaissance. This movement was led by critics from Les Cahier du Cinema. Among them, the famous Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Demy, and Claude Chabrol. Their approach to film-making broke away from what French cinema was used to. Those young directors revolutionized the way of filming and producing. They rejected the traditional way of storytelling and created a new language. Leaving the film studios, New Wave directors began to film more outside, using the natural environment or city as their backdrop. New methods of editing and shooting films broke through limitations in the way in which narrative was created in the cinema. The invention of Nagra-brand tape recorders, of the 16mm movie camera, proclaimed a new aesthetics, much closer to real life.

Séverine Serizy (Catherine Deneuve) and her husband Pierre (Jean Sorel)  in Belle de Jour "Beauty of the Day" (1967)

In early 70s, cinema attendance was on the decline. On one hand, France was facing the birth of a movement that would influence generations of directors. On another hand, Frenchmen were disinterested and attendance at the theaters was sparse. With the rising popularity of TV and video cassettes, French cinema was beginning to experience the crisis that it still faces to this day.

Les Films 13: Claude Lelouch shooting with a Caméflex camera

The Nouvelle Vague was a major influence on the next generation of American directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. This style has continued to inspire many major figures in contemporary American cinema, including Steven Soderbergh, and Wes Anderson, professing admiration for the movement and employing many of its techniques.

The directors of the New Wave continue to have a profound influence on cinema and popular culture. Some, like Godard, still make films. And If you have time, go watch his latest film « Adieu au Language "Goodbye to Language" (2014) or one of his classics Une femme est une femme "A Woman is a Woman" (1961), both well worth a watch.

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