Born in Tokyo, 28 January 1927. His father Teshigahara Sofu founded the Sogetsu School of Ikebana and became a leading figure in the movement that transformed traditional flower arrangement into a highly expressive art form.
Teshigahara Hiroshi first studied
painting at the Tokyo Art Institute. In the early 50s he began directing documentary shorts, moving on to feature films in the 1960s.
His best known film, “Woman in the Dunes”, was made independently, for a mere $100 000. It won the Jury Prize at Cannes, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category in 1964, then nominated again in the Best Director category in 1965. The award went to Robert Wise instead, for “The Sound Of Music”.
In the late 1960s, he was the toast of the international film community, appearing at festivals and promoting Japanese film.
In the early 1970s, he withdrew from feature filmmaking and concentrated on ceramics, calligraphy, and experimental cinema. After the death of his father and sister in 1980, he became the third head of the Sogestu School. Exhibitions of his large-scale bamboo arrangements were held, amongst others, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (1989), the Palazzo Reale in Milan (1995), and the Kennedy Center in New York (1996).
As if all that wasn’t enough, Teshigahara Hiroshi also undertook stage direction and art direction: of the opera Turandot (Lyon 1992, Geneva 1996), of the Noh play Susano (Avignon Theatre Festival 1994), of the piece Sloka by the Chandralekha Dance Company (1999), and of the outdoor dance play Susano Iden (1991). Apparently his stage art mainly relied on bamboo. In the field of Ikebana, Teshigahara promoted “Renka”, a series of improptu Ikebana arranged by more than one artist.
In 1989, he again returned to feature films. “Rikyu” won the award for best artistic contribution at the Montreal World Film Festival.
Hiroshi Teshigahara had his own film company, Teshigahara Productions.
Hiroshi Teshigahara Official Web Site, solid documentation, including specials e.g. on “Woman in the Dunes” showing original posters and film stills, as well as a gallery of Teshigahara’s more recent artwork (with bamboo).
The Sogetsu Foundation
Strictly Film School on “Woman in the Dunes” and “Antonio Gaudi”
Oh, and what do you know, an old friend from Hiroshima wrote a brief piece on Teshigahara and his films, on the occasion of Teshigahara’s death by leukemia in 2001.
“Otoshi-ana” (The Pitfall), 1962. (In the words of the director, a “documentary fantasy”). Review.
“Suna no onna” (Woman in the Dunes, based on a novel by Abe Kôbo, score by Takemitsu Toru), 1964, 123mins. Eiji Okada, the male lead, is also known from Alan Resnais’ “Hiroshima mon amour”. Review by Garry Morris (Bright Lights Film Journal), Review by Jasper Sharp (Midnight Eye)
“Tanin no kao” (The Face of Another, original story and screenplay by Abe Kôbo, score by Takemitsu Toru), 1966.
“Moetsukita Chizu” (The Man Without a Map, original story and screenplay by Abe Kôbo, score by Takemitsu Toru), 1968.
“240 Hours in One Day”
“Natsu no Heitai” (Summer Soldiers), 1972.
1977-1981 TV films: “Warera no Shuyaku”, “Shin Zatoichi – Episode: Journey of Rainbows”, “Shin Zatoichi – Episode: Journey of Dreams”, “Sculpture Mouvante – Jean Tinguely”.
“Antonio Gaudi”, 1984.
“Rikyu” (on the famous Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyu), 1989.
“Goh-Hime” (Basara – The Princess Goh), 1992.
I'm trying to find out anything I can on Teshigahara's wife, Toshiko Kobayashi, and how she died. The Internet Movie Database lists her as dying on the same day her husband died, April 14, 2001. I can't find anything about her cause of death, though I'm suspecting that, if she died on the same day her husband died, she might have committed suicide. If you know, will you let me know? Thanks!