"Out of Asia: The Films of Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Abbas Kiarostami, and Zhang Yimou" is a collection of interviews with, and essays about, the four filmmakers who introduced the cinema of their respective countries to the West: Kurosawa ...
(Japan) and Ray (India), in the 1950s; Kiarostami (Iran) and Zhang (China), in the 1980s. Kurosawa and Ray were post-World War II phenomena, as the new breed of American cinephiles demanded more contact with Asian cultures of which they had known little until the 1940s. Kiarostami and Zhang, for their part, are both post-revolutionary filmmakers whose films have helpfully introduced Americans to two Eastern cultures with which the American government has long had - and continues to have - a problematic relationship.As a whole, then, "Out of Asia" documents an alternative to Western brands of cinema even as these four 'foreign' directors, with the possible exception of Kiarostami, integrate Western forms, styles, and genres into their own native traditions. As such, these artists could be said to represent a global filmmaking perspective that now, more than ever, this world - and the American nation - can use.Each of the interviews in this volume is accompanied by an overview of the director's career or an essay on representative films by him. In addition, "Out of Asia" is preceded by a contextualizing introduction; it is followed by filmographies, a bibliography, and an index; and the book is interspersed with photographs of the four directors in question or stills from their films. There are books devoted to individual filmmakers like Kurosawa, Ray, Kiarostami, and Zhang, but, until Out of Asia, there has not been one that treats representatives of four national cinemas from their own point of view, as well as from an international perspective.