The Benshi

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Randy Olson, a scientist turned filmmaker (his film Flock of Dodos premiered at Tribeca and recently made the Smithsonian blog's list of ten great science films from the 2000s), opened up a new online journal this week where he explores the worlds of science and cinema called The Benshi. The title, as Olson explains, "refers to the tradition the Japanese developed with their silent films in which a humble, friendly little man -- 'the benshi' would stand beside the movie screen with a pointer and explain to the audience who the characters in the film were and what they were saying." Olson believes even sound movies often need a Benshi and he has lots of provocative thoughts to share. I really enjoyed the bit about about Bob Ballard in his first post. Check out the Benshi here.

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