The Japan Foundation Film Series Part 2(List)

The Japan Foundation Film Series Part Ⅱ / Masters of the Japanese Cinema

  1. (1)Sing a Song of Sex / March 25 (Fri.) 19:00
    (Nihon Shunkako, 1967, Souzousha=Shochiku, 103mins.,color, CinemaScope, 35mm print)
    Director: OSHIMA Nagisa
    Cast: ARAKI Ichiro, KOYAMA Akiko, ITAMI Ichizo, YOSHIDA Hideko, KUSHIDA Kazuyoshi
    Screenwriter: TAMURA Takeshi, TAJIMA Toshio, SASAKI Mamoru and OSHIMA Nagisa
    Cinematographer: TAKADA Akira,
    Art direcrer: TODA Jusho,
    Music: HAYASHI Hikaru

    OSHIMA Nagisa, known internationally for such works as “In the Realm of the Senses”(Ai no Corrida)(76), “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”(Senjo no Merry Christmas)(83)and “Taboo”(Gohatto)(99)has consistently taken up the themes of sex, the state and politics. “Sing a Song of Sex” is an important work from the mid-1960’s that adopts these main themes of sex and the state in an ideological style.
    This is the story of a group of high school students that meet up with their former teacher Mr. Otake when they encounter protests against the anniversary of the accession of the emperor shortly after completing their college entrance exams. Over drinks at a pub Mr. Otake senses their sexual frustration and so begins singing bawdy songs, as the high school students find themselves wandering between their own delusions and reality. OSHIMA skillfully contrasts the lament of a former Korean prostitute with folk songs to offer up some sharp social criticisms.

  2. (2) The Lovable Tramp / March 26 (Sat.) 13:00
    (Natsukashii Furaibo, 1966, Shochiku(Ofuna), color, CinemaScope, 90mins.,35mm print)
    Director: YAMADA Yoji
    Cast: HANA Hajime, BAISHO Chieko, ARISHIMA Ichiro, NAKAKITA Chieko, MAYAMA Tomoko
    Screenwriter: YAMADA Yoji and MORISAKI Azuma
    Cinematographer: TAKABA Tetsuo
    Art director: SHIGETA Shigemori
    Music: KINOSHITA Chuji

    YAMADA Yoji, famous for his “Tora-san” series, “The Twilight Samurai” (02) and “The Hidden Blade” (04), made his directorial debut in 1961.
    “The Lovable Tramp” is a comedy introducing the prototype personality that would later be used for “Tora-san” series. In this story Saotome, a public servant with little hope of career advancement, is living a gloomy life until he has a chance to encounter with a wanderer named Gen. Despite the various troubles arising from his contacts with Gen, a strange friendship develops between the two. This movie describes the sorrows of the lower middle class and the human feelings that are so easily forgotten by modern society.

  3. (3) Escape from Japan / March 26 (Sat.) 15:00
    (Nihon Dasshutsu, 1964, Shochiku(Ofuna), color, CinemaScope, 96mins.,16mm print)
    Director: YOSHIDA Kiju
    Cast: SUZUKI Yasushi, KUWANO Miyuki, MACHIDA Kyosuke, UCHIDA Ryohei, SAKAMOTO Sumiko
    Screenwriter: YOSHIDA Kiju
    Cinematographer: NARUSHIMA Touichiro
    Art director: YOSHINO Tadataka
    Music: TAKEMITSU Toru, YAGI Masao

    “Escape from Japan” is the story about a band member who yearns to go to America. He is sought after by the police after helping his fellow conduct a robbery and so must risk it all to escape Japan at a time when the nation is preparing to host the Olympics. This film, which was produced just after ”An Affair at Akitsu”(Akitsu Onsen) (62) is a different type of action movie in which it is more of a satire of the social conditions of the time. YOSHIDA Kiju left Shochiku after the distributor cut the last scene from this film. Since that time he produced several films on his own production company including “Eros + Massacre” (Eros + Gyakusatsu) (70), “Coup D’Etat” (Kaigenrei) (73) and “Women in the Mirror” (Kagami no Onna Tachi)(03).

  4. (4)The Dry Lake / March 26 (Sat.) 19:00
    (Kawaita Mizuumi, 1960, Shochiku(Ofuna), color, CinemaScope, 88mins.,35mmprint)
    Director: SHINODA Masahiro
    Cast: MIKAMI Shin’ichiro, IWASHITA Shima, HONOO Kayoko, YAMASHITA Jun’ichiro, ITO Yunosuke
    Screenwriter: TERAYAMA Shuji
    Cinematographer: KOSUGI Masao
    Art director: SATO Kiminobu
    Music: TAKEMITSU Toru

    SHINODA Masahiro is famous for such works as “Double Suicide”(Shinju Ten no Amijima)(69), “Sharaku” (95) and “Spy Sorge” (03). “The Dry Lake”, his second work, helped to position Shinoda as a core member of the new wave of directors at Shochiku. This new wave from Shochiku was, made up primarily of OSHIMA, YOSHIDA and SHINODA, caused quite a sensation in the early 1960’s. The screenwriter of this film is TERAYAMA Shuji. This is the story of Shimojo who, while enjoying his reckless youth during the turmoil surrounding the 1960 revision of U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, breaks away from the student movement and daydreams about acts of terrorism. MIKAMI Shinichiro turns in a brilliant performance as a young man sensing the various contradictions in society while getting caught up in nihilism. This film also marks the first appearance of IWASHITA Shima in a SHINODA work, very soon after her professional debut.

  5. (5) Alone Across the Pacific / March 27 (Sun.) 11:30
    (Taiheiyo Hitoribocchi, 1963, Ishihara Productions=Nikkatsu, color, CinemaScope, 97min., 35mm print)
    Director: ICHIKAWA Kon
    Cast: ISHIHARA Yujiro, MORI Masayuki, TANAKA Kinuyo, ASAOKA Ruriko, HANA Hajime
    Screenwriter: WADA Natto
    Cinematographer: YAMAZAKI Yoshihiro
    Art director: MATSUYAMA Takashi
    Music: AKUTAGAWA Yasushi, TAKEMITSU Toru

    ICHIKAWA Kon has won high praise for a diverse collection of works including literary adaptation such as “The Heart”(Kokoro) (55) and “Conflagration” (Enjo)”(58) as well as historical dramas and unique documentaries such as his “Tokyo Olympiad”(Tokyo Olympic) (65). “Alone Across the Pacific” is the story of a youth sailing across the Pacific alone in a small yacht in 1962 before the liberalization of international travel. By adapting from the best selling memoirs of the same name, Ichikawa tells the story of a 94-day adventure on the sea and the fight against the pains of solitude, while visually conveying the wonders of the sea. By deftly interweaving reminiscences about the main character’s family back home, Ichikawa describes the strained relationships between parents and children as well as the separation between the old and the new.

  6. (6) The Insect Woman / March 27 (Sun.) 14:00
    (Nippon Konchuki, 1963, Nikkatsu, b/w, CinemaScope, 123mins.,35mm print)
    Director: IMAMURA Shohei
    Cast: HIDARI Sachiko, KITAMURA Kazuo, NAGATO Hiroyuki, YOSHIMURA Jitsuko,
    TSUYUGUCHI Shigeru
    Screenwriter: HASEBE Keiji, IMAMURA Shohei
    Cinematographer: HIMEDA Shinsaku
    Art director: NAKAMURA Kimihiko
    Music: MAYUZUMI Toshiro

    IMAMURA Shohei is an internationally renowned director, having twice won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for his “The Ballad of Narayama” (Narayamabushi-ko)(83) and “The Eel” (Unagi)(97). Imamura’s works in the 1960’s such as ”Pigs and Battleships” (Buta to Gunkan)(61)and “The Insect Woman” helped to define his unique style that came to be known as the “serious comedy”. This masterpiece depicts the life of a middle-aged woman with lots of vitality, but told with the detached clinical style similar to a scientific observation of an insect. The movie's portrayal of the lives of formidable women during and after the war reveals human nature and desire in their rawest form. HIDARI Sachiko won the Best Actress Award at the 1964 Berlin International Film Festival for her role in this film.

  7. (7) The Tokyo Wanderer / March 27 (Sun.) 17:00
    (Tokyo Nagaremono, 1966, Nikkatsu, color, CinemaScope, 83min., 35mm print)
    Director: SUZUKI Seijun
    Cast: WATARI Tetsuya, MATSUBARA Chieko, NITANI Hideaki, KAWACHI Tamio, GO Eiji
    Screenwriter: KAWAUCHI Kohan
    Cinematographer: MINE Shigeyoshi
    Art director: KIMURA Takeo
    Music: KABURAGI Hajime

    SUZUKI Seijun has been fascinating audiences with his unique sense of ascetics as seen in his film “Zigeunerweisen” (80). His latest film “Princess Racoon” (Operetta Tanuki Goten) (05) will feature the popular Chinese actress, Zhang Ziyi. “The Tokyo Wanderer” is one of his earlier masterpieces and helped develop the framework for this genre of movies. The movie employs a vivid sense of color and bold inventiveness. The hero “Tetsu the Phoenix” is a former gangster that is forced to flee from Tokyo to escape former enemies, the Otsuka clan. The theme song is used as the main motif while bringing together different story elements such as the hard-boiled Tokyo portion, the chivalrous Niigata portion and the comedic Kita-Kyushu portion of the movie.

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