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Donald Richie has always struck me as the ideal role model for the aspiring writer. More the distiller than the brewer, the cordon-bleu chef than the bone-cook, there is much to be learned from Richie’s refinements.

The foremost Western writer on Japanese cinema, Richie was instrumental in bringing Japanese film to the attention of the West during the ’50s and ’60s, a period here of almost violent creativity in the arts and movie industry. His gifts as a narrator have served him well in describing film, which is, after all, an essentially narrative form.

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