Kon Ichikawa (市川 崑)
b. 20th November 1915, Mie Prefecture, Japan
One of the better known Japanese directors and one of the most unpredictable. He gained his western credibility in the 1950s and 1960s with a number of bleak films - two antiwar films with The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain, Conflagration in which a priest burns down his temple to save it from pollution, Alone in the Pacific and the technically formidable An Actor's Revenge about a Kabuki actor. Most of these films are literary adaptions, often screen-written by his wife, Natto Wada, and when she ceased this activity at the end of the 1960s it marked a change in his films.
It can be said that his main trait is technical expertise, irony, detachment and a drive for realism married with a complete spectrum of genres. He has made all kinds of film, often to order or as a 'rescue' director and so his films have wildly varying quality.
Some critics class him with Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu as one of the masters of Japanese cinema. But this is not reflected in his work or in the attitude of his home country - In Japan he is regarded a spent force, a man who has hung around just too long.
Hana Hiraku (1948), Sanbyaku Rokujugo-ya (1948), Ningen Moyo (1949), Hateshinaki Jonetsu (1949), Ginza Sanshiro (1950), Akatsuki no Tsuiseki (1950), Ye-Rai-Shang (1951), Koibito (1951), Mukokuseki-Mono (1951), Nusumareta Koi (1951), Bungawan Solo (1951), Kekkon Koshin-kyoku (1951), Lucky San (1952), Wakai Hito (1952), Ashi ni Sawatta Onna (1952), Ano te Kono te (1952), Pusan (1953), Aoiro Kakumei (1953), Seishun Zenigata Heiji (1953), Aijin (1953), Watashi no Subete O (1954), A Billionaire (1954), Seishun Kaidan (1955), The Heart (1955), The Burmese Harp (1956), Punishment Room (1956), Nihonbashi (1956), Manin Densha (1957), The Men of Tohoku (1957), Conflagration (1958), Sayonara Konnichiwa (1959), The Key (1959), Fires on the Plain (1959), Keisatsukan to Boroyuku-dan (19 (1959), Ginza no Mosa (1960), Bonchi (1960), Jokyo (1960), Her Brother (1960), Kuroi Junin no Onna (1961), The Sin (1962), Being Two Isn't Easy (1962), An Actor's Revenge (1963), Alone in the Pacific (1963), Dokonji Monogatari (1964), Tokyo Olympiad (documentary) (1965), Top Gigio e i sei Ladri (1968), Tournament (1968), Ai Futatabi (1971), The Wanderers (1973), Wagahai wa Neko Dearu (1975), Akuma no Temari-uta (1977), Inugamike no Ichizoku (1977), Gokumon-to (1978), Hi no Tori (1978), Joh-on Bachi (1978), Hi no Tori (1980), Kofuku (1982), Sasame Yuki (1983), Biruma no Tategoto (1983), Ohan (1983), Rokumeikan (1986), Eiga Joyu (1987), Taketori Mongatari (1987), Tsuru (1988), Tenkawa densetsu satsujin jiken (1991), Fusa (1993), Shijushichinin no shikaku (1994), Yatsuhaka-mura (1996), Dora-heita (1999)