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hand-painted billboards

October 30, 2005


Taking a short-cut through one of Naha’s labyrinthine covered markets, I passed a small shop that had been set up temporarily as a cinema. It was surrounded by a couple of dozen hand-painted billboards for old Japanese films, including one of my favourites, Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (用心棒, above — whose plot, incidentally, was the basis for the (also very good) Sergio Leone / Clint Eastwood western A Fistful of Dollars).

The billboards were in such immaculate condition that it was hard to believe they were decades old – and in fact, it turns out they weren’t. I asked the man running the place where he got them, and it turns out that a friend of his painted seventy or so over the last year! It’s really nice to know that the art of movie-poster–painting is still alive and well.

Another movie poster
... and another

posted in Okinawa4 comments


  1. Posted by graeme — November 30, 2005 at 3:58 pm

    oh man! those billboards are amazing! and he turned the shop into a cinema you said… how was that possible? i`m thinking of nicking the school`s projector and hooking it up in my living room! it`s wierd to have such a booming sound system and only a screen the size of a gameboy to watch on!!

  2. Posted by lva — November 30, 2005 at 8:08 pm

    Yeah, they were amazing! Spot-on versions of the old movie posters. I wonder what he did with them all after the exhibition, though. Seventy-something old movie billboards would decorate a small city like Naha quite nicely…

    Ooh, a projector would be nice. I’ve been indulging my two-years-on-a-tiny-island-induced film craving by watching DVDs and videos at a friend’s house lately. Last week we watched a surreal Japanese horror called Uzumaki (‘Spiral’) — about a town where everyone first becomes obsessed with, and and then starts turning into, spirals. One of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen. It seems there’s a sequel about a city being attacked by giant floating girls’ faces with lethal nooses hanging from them like balloon-strings. Nice!

  3. Posted by graeme — December 2, 2005 at 2:22 pm

    uzamaki! i wrote about that a little bit at university, but i actually concentrated more on the adaptation from manga and use of cgi technology!! at the time i didn`t have a version with english, only japanese and i couldn`t speak any japanese, i would love to see that again. does the japanese version have english subtitles? i have never seen it for sale here… giant floating girls faces, i can`t work out if that would be cool or bad…

  4. Posted by lva — December 2, 2005 at 6:33 pm

    I might have known! That’s really interesting. Don’t suppose you have the manga, do you? I went looking for it in second-hand bookshops yesterday, but no luck so far. How’s the drawing? I’m imagining it might be quite stylish…

    The version I watched was Japanese only, but it’s definitely been released in other countries, so I reckon there must be a version with English subtitles out there.