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IshiroHonda Cover

Steve Ryfle
Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film from Godzilla to Kurosawa

The first major biography of Japan's master of classic science-fiction cinema!
PLUS: A special screening of King Kong vs Godzilla (1962, 80 min.)

Thursday, November 2, 7 pm, Downtown Central Library Auditorium

How did a real-life nuclear crisis spawn the world’s greatest cinematic monster, Godzilla? Why did the menagerie of giant monsters from Japan’s Toho Studios—which also includes Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, among others—become an international pop-culture sensation? And who is the filmmaker that brought these creatures to life in epic sci-fi movies that are still thrilling audiences, 60-plus years on?

Steve Ryfle presents the first major overview of the life and career of Ishiro Honda, the director behind the original GODZILLA (1954) and many of its beloved sequels and spin-offs of the 1950s and ‘60s. Ryfle is a former Los Angeles Times reporter as well as a noted scholar of Japanese science-fiction and film; he co-wrote the book with Ed Godziszewski, also a noted genre scholar. Nearly 10 years in the research and writing, the book is published by Wesleyan University Press.

Honda’s story is about much more than monsters, however. The book chronicles Honda’s close lifelong friendship with the great Akira Kurosawa, alongside whom Honda apprenticed in the Japanese film studio system in the 1930s and with whom, five decades later, Honda collaborated on five major films including Kurosawa’s acclaimed RAN (1985). It’s also an epic story about the horrors of war and the dreams of filmmaking, and about the perseverance of a director whose international commercial success was unparalleled in his time. Today, Honda’s legacy is carried on in Hollywood, where Legendary Pictures is reestablishing the Godzilla film franchise with big-budget productions such as GODZILLA (2014) starring Bryan Cranston, and the forthcoming GODZILLA 2 (due in 2018) and GODZILLA VS. KONG (due 2020).

The event includes an author talk, book signing, and a special screening of Honda’s KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (English, 1962, 80 min).

Copies of Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film will be on sale (cash, check, credit card). Please use to RSVP for the event and help the Friends of the Library determine the number of books to bring for sales and autographs. Search: Steve Ryfle Friends of the Library

Visitors to Downtown Central Library receive 3 hours FREE parking across Harvard Street at the Marketplace parking structure with validation at the service desk. Handicapped parking is available on the east side of the building. Short term parking spaces are available on the east and south sides of the building. Metered parking is available on Harvard Street and on the west side of the building in Lot #10.

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