Author Steve Ryfle will discuss “Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, From Godzilla to Kurosawa” on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Little Tokyo Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 203 S. Los Angeles St. (at Second Street) in Little Tokyo.
Honda was arguably the most internationally successful Japanese director of his generation, with an unmatched succession of science fiction films that were commercial hits worldwide. From the atomic allegory of “Godzilla” and the beguiling charms of “Mothra” to the tragic mystery of “Matango” and the disaster and spectacle of “Rodan,” “The Mysterians,” “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” and many others, his films reflected postwar Japan’s real-life anxieties and incorporated fantastical special effects, a formula that appealed to audiences around the globe and created a popular culture phenomenon that spans generations.
Now, in the first full account of this long-overlooked director’s life and career, authors Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski shed new light on Honda’s work and the experiences that shaped it — including his days as a reluctant Japanese soldier, witnessing the aftermath of Hiroshima, and his lifelong friendship with Akira Kurosawa.
The book features close analysis of Honda’s films (including, for the first time, his rarely seen dramas, comedies, and war films) and draws on previously untapped documents and interviews to explore how creative, economic, and industrial factors impacted his career. The authors cover Honda’s non-science fiction films for the first time in any language.
Fans of Honda, Godzilla, and tokusatsu (special effects) film, and of Japanese film in general, will welcome this in-depth study of a highly influential director who occupies a uniquely important position in science fiction and fantasy cinema, as well as in world cinema.
Director Martin Scorsese, who wrote the foreword, said, “This carefully researched and detailed book gives us a full picture of the man and his life.”
The authors have provided audio commentary tracks and produced supplemental material for numerous home video releases, including “Godzilla” for the British Film Institute. They co-produced the documentary feature “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size” (2008).
For more information, call (213) 612-0525 or visit www.lapl.org/branches/little-tokyo.