The Japan Foundation Film Series Part 6: List

The Masters and Jidaigeki

The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka (Hanaoka Seishu no Tsuma)
June 23 (Fri. ) 18:30

1967 / 99 min. / B&W, cinemascope / Kadokawa Pictures (Daiei)
Director: MASUMURA Yasuzo / Based on a novel by: ARIYOSHI Sawako / Screenwriter: SHINDO Kaneto/ Cinematographer: KOBAYASHI Setsuo / Art Director: NISHIOKA Yoshinobu / Music: HAYASHI Hikaru

Cast: ICHIKAWA Raizo, WAKAO Ayako, TAKAMINE Hideko, ITO Yunosuke, WATANABE Misako

A drama surrounding a medical doctor, HANAOKA Seishu, who successfully carried out the first surgery in the world using general anesthesia.
Set in Kishu (present-day Wakayama prefecture) in the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Okae grew up admiring Otsugi, famous for her beauty and wisdom. Okae eventually marries Otsugi’s son, Umpei (who assumes the name Seishu later) only to find out that she has to fight Otsugi to try to win his affection. Umpei dedicates himself to studying anesthesia, and both women volunteer to have the still being developed anesthetic tested on them.
Based on a best-selling novel by ARIYOSHI Sawako. MASUMURA Yasuzo, of Giants and Toys (1958) and Manji (1964) fame, depicts the fierce and yet noble battle between the mother and the wife. WAKAO Ayako and TAKAMINE Hideko share the screen, and ICHIKAWA Raizo, known for his roles in swordplay films, stars as the doctor.

The Inner Palace Conspiracy (Oboro Kago)
June 24 (Sat. ) 13:30

1951 / 97 min. / B&W, standard / Shochiku
Director: ITO Daisuke / Based on a novel by: OSARAGI Jiro / Screenwriter: YODA Yoshikata / Cinematographer: ISHIMOTO Hideo / Art Director: MIZUTANI Hiroshi / Music: SUZUKI Seiichi

Cast: BANDO Tsumasaburo, TANAKA Kinuyo, YAMADA Isuzu, TSUKIGATA Ryunosuke, SADA Keiji, MITSUI Koji

A tragic-comical mystery set in the late 18th century Edo. An all-star cast headed by BANDO Tsumasaburo made for a highly profitable new-year release. ITO Daisuke, who had been active since the silent era, revels in his signature moving shots.
Okatsu, a lady in waiting and candidate for the Shogun’s concubine, was found dead, and her childhood friend, Shinnosuke, was the last one to see her alive and thus is suspected as her killer. However, a purse found at the scene of murder was that of another concubine candidate, Misawa. Mukaku, a priest, and Kuranosuke, one of the shogun’s retainers, investigate a conspiracy masterminded by power-hungry NUMATA, with help from Kichitaro, a small-time crook, and Onaka, a worldly geisha.

Bloody Spear at Mt. Fuji (Chiyari Fuji)
June 24 (Sat. ) 15:45

1955 / 94 min. / B&W, standard / Toei
Director: UCHIDA Tomu / Based on a novel by: INOUE Kintaro / Screenwriters: YAHIRO Fuji, TAMIKADO Toshio / Cinematographer: YOSHIDA Teiji / Art Director: SUZUKI Takatoshi / Music: KOSUGI Taichiro

Cast: KATAOKA Chiezo, TSUKIGATA Ryunosuke, KITAGAWA Chizuru, TASHIRO Yuriko, KATO Daisuke

Set in the 18th century, this road movie portrays a young samurai, Kojuro, who travels on foot to Edo with his two servants, Genta and Gonpachi. They meet an assortment of people walking in the same direction— a salesman, traveling performers, an orphan, a group of pilgrims, and others.
Spearman Gonpachi always worries about his master and Genta’s drinking habits. On their way to Edo, finally they meet their tragic end … The last sword fighting scene is simply powerful.
This is the first postwar film from UCHIDA Tomu, and ITO Daisuke, OZU Yasujiro, SHIMIZU Hiroshi, and MIZOGUCHI Kenji are just a few giant figures of Japanese cinema who helped UCHIDA to make this after being away from the scene for 13 long years. It is also noteworthy that KATAOKA Chiezo, usually typecast as a hero, plays the servant here.

Bushido: Samurai Saga (Bushido Zankoku Monogatari)
June 24 (Sat. ) 18:00

1963 / 123min. / B&W, cinemascope / Toei
Director: IMAI Tadashi / Based on a novel by: NANJO Norio / Screenwriters: SUZUKI Naoyuki, YODA Yoshikata / Cinematographer: TSUBOI Makoto / Art Director: KAWASHIMA Taizo/ Music: MAYUZUMI Toshiro

Cast: NAKAMURA Kinnosuke, TONO Eijiro, WATANABE Misako, MORI Masayuki, MITA Yoshiko

An unusual drama focusing on the inhuman characteristics of feudalistic society. IMAI Tadashi looks at the way exceptional loyalty leads the characters to extreme acts of self-sacrifice experienced by seven generations of a fictional family from medieval times to the present.
Members of IIKURA family have met grueling fates— some of them had to die by committing seppuku, others had their loved ones violated by their lords, others died carrying out a suicide bombing attack or became a corporate slave.
NAKAMURA Kinnosuke, famous as one of the biggest jidaigeki stars, plays all of the heroes from the seven different periods of time with vigor. The film received a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Rashomon (Rashomon)
June 25 (Sun. ) 13:30

1950 / 88 min. / B&W, standard / Kadokawa Pictures (Daiei)
Director: KUROSAWA Akira / Based on a short story by: AKUTAGAWA Ryunosuke / Screenwriters: KUROSAWA Akira, HASHIMOTO Shinobu / Cinematographer: MIYAGAWA Kazuo / Art Director: MATSUYAMA Takashi / Music: HAYASAKA Fumio

Cast: MIFUNE Toshiro, KYO Machiko, MORI Masayuki, SHIMURA Takashi, CHIAKI Minoru, UEDA Kichijiro, HONMA Fumiko, KATO Daisuke

One of the best known works of KUROSAWA Akira, this film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Based on a short story by AKUTAGAWA Ryunosuke, this film delves deep down into the human psyche by telling a story surrounding a dead samurai.
The film is set in the war-torn 10th century. A samurai is found dead in the shrubs with stabbed wounds. He was apparently murdered, while his wife was raped. Tajomaru, a robber suspected of rape and murder was arrested. However, Tajomaru, the samurai’s wife, and the dead samurai (talking through a medium) all tell stories that contradict one another...

The stellar ensemble cast of MIFUNE Toshiro, KYO Machiko, MORI Masayuki, and SHIMURA Takashi is sheer joy to watch.Staff members such as famed cameraman MIYAGAWA Kazuo show great teamwork as well.

Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (Yukinojo Henge)
June 25 (Sun. ) 18:00

1963/ 113min. / color, cinemascope / Kadokawa Pictures (Daiei)
Director: ICHIKAWA Kon/ Based on a novel by: MIKAMI Otokichi / Screenwriters: ITO Daisuke, KINUGASA Teinosuke, WADA Natto / Cinematographer: KOBAYASHI Setsuo / Art Director: NISHIOKA Yoshinobu / Music: AKUTAGAWA Yasushi, YAGI Masao

Cast: HASEGAWA Kazuo, YAMAMOTO Fujiko, WAKAO Ayako, NAKAMURA Ganjiro, KATSU Shintaro

Set in Edo period theater, Yukinojo, a famous kabuki actor who plays female roles, is secretly plotting to avenge his father by killing those who caused his father’s demise. Yukinojo approaches Dobe Sansai, one of the enemies, but Namiji, Sansai’s daughter, who knows nothing about Yukinojo’s past, falls in love with Yukinojo immediately after seeing him on stage. Yamitaro, a leader of thieves, and Ohatsu, a man-hating woman burglar, further complicate and enliven this drama of revenge.
This was famous heart-throb Hasegawa Kazuo’s 300th film appearance, and he plays both Yukinojo and Yamitaro.Jazzy music by AKUTAGAWA Yasushi (novelist Ryunosuke’s son) and YAGI Masao, as well as interesting artistic design, lighting, and photography, all contribute to this stylish film by ICHIKAWA Kon.

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