Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I'm sure by that title you're thinking this is one of those serious "I'm going through a life-changing event" posts. Well it isn't and I'm not.

By transitions i mean moving from one thing to another, a trick you need to learn when you're a DJ or your show will suck. So I try not to jar people by bridging two wildly different pieces of music. I will definitely switch from country to country or style to style (following, say a Brazilian samba with a warm bit of French jazz) but I try not to follow a high-energy dance track with, for example, an Irish war ballad. I will go from uptempo to midtempo, but not uptempo to downtempo. It's just a quirk of mine.

And I appreciate it when others who are in the position of programming transitions also do the same. Which was why I was amused to see the TCM schedule for tonight. They're in the process of showing five movies by Japanese master director, Akira Kurosawa. The last film will be Donzoko (English title The Lower Depths). The film is based on a story by Maxim Gorky. When you combine a director as artistically serious as Kurosawa and a writer as depressing as Gorky, you know you've got something of a dark masterpiece on your hands. Not a lot of laughs. It's apparently about a group of thieves and prostitutes living in squalor in a flop house, reflecting on the miseries that brought them there.

And then they're following this particular bit of Japanese misery with Meet the People, a lighthearted musical starring Lucille Ball and Dick Powell.

How in the world do you go from Kurosowa to Lucille Ball? That is one seriously odd transition.


Duke said...

TCM seems to have "Theme Days" a lot with yesterday being Kurosawa's turn. They also seem to start a new programming day at 6 am.

So it'll be screwball comedies until 6 at which point they shift to film noir or something like that. No attempt at a smooth transition, as you say.

Did you catch any of the Kurosawa films? A couple were rarely shown outside movie conventions.

Decca said...

I saw bits of all of them, but we TiVo'd the entire thing and will probably spend part of next weekend being alternately scared and impressed. I always find his films terrifying, depressing, and brilliant. I can't wait to see those I haven't seen before.

Duke said...

Kurosawa was one of the most brilliant film makers to ever sit behind a camera. His movies are such genius that, although they are decades old, they could have been filmed yesterday. They have a timeless quality few none have equaled.

Here's a fun game. Kurosawa always incorporated heavy elements of Shakespheare in his stories. See if you can pick them out as you watch this weekend.