The Japan Foundation Film Series Part 9: List

Rediscovery of YAMAMOTO Satsuo

PROGRAM

Door open: 15 mins. before

A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no Mono) *Brand new print!
February 2 (Sat.) 13:00

1962 / 104min. / B&W, Cinemascope / Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc (Production: Daiei)
Director: YAMAMOTO Satsuo / Executive Producer: NAGATA Masaichi / Producers: ITO Takeo, DOI Itsuo / Based on the Novel by: MURAYAMA Tomoyoshi / Screenplay: TAKAIWA Hajime / Cinematography: TAKEMURA Yasukazu / Lighting: KATO Hiroya / Production Design: NAITO Akira / Sound: OKUMURA Masahiro / Editing: MIYATA Mitsuzo / Music: WATANABE Chumei

Main Cast: ICHIKAWA Raizo, FUJIMURA Shiho, KISHIDA Kyoko, JO Kenzaburo (WAKAYAMA Tomisaburo), ITO Yunosuke, NISHIMURA Akira

The film depicts the life of Ishikawa Goemon, a ninja, as a flesh and blood figure rather than a superhero.  As the film was so successful, seven sequels were eventually made.  (Yamamoto directed only the first two.)  An unparalleled actor of period drama, Ichikawa Raizo stars, and the role became one of his signature roles.
Toward the end of Sengoku Era, one of the warring feudal lords, Oda Nobunaga, is fighting to become the first lord to conquer the whole of Japan.  The leader of Iga school of ninjutsu, Momochi Sandayu, plans Nobunaga’s assassination. Goemon becomes Momochi’s hand-picked assassin.

Return of the Band of Assassins (Zoku Shinobi no Mono) *Brand new print!
February 2 (Sat.) 15:15

1963 / 93min. / B&W, Cinemascope / Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc (Production: Daiei)
Director: YAMAMOTO Satsuo / Executive Producer: NAGATA Masaichi / Producer: ITO Takeo / Based on the Novel by: MURAYAMA Tomoyoshi / Screenplay: TAKAIWA Hajime / Cinematography: TAKEDA Senkichiro / Lighting: YAMASHITA Reijiro / Production Design: NAITO Akira / Sound: OSUMI Masao / Music: WATANABE Chumei

Main Cast: ICHIKAWA Raizo, FUJIMURA Shiho, TSUBOUCHI Mikiko, JO Kenzaburo (WAKAYAMA Tomisaburo) , AMACHI Shigeru, YAMAMURA So, NAGAI Tomoo

This wosk is the sequel to the hugely successful Band of Assassins.  It shows the later life of Ishikawa Goemon, played again by Ichikawa Raizo.
Goemon, leading a peaceful life with his family, is forced back to the life of ninja when his infant son is killed at the hands of attackers sent by Nobunaga. Goemon manipulates Akechi Mitsuhide to revolt at Honnoji Temple, and manages to eliminate Nobunaga amid confusion.  While in hiding at Fort Saiga, Goemon is assaulted by men working for Hashiba Hideyoshi, Nobunaga’s loyal vassal, and Goemon’s wife dies under attack.  Once again vowing vengeance, Goemon aims at killing Hideyoshi.

The Tycoon (Kizudarake no Sanga)
February 2 (Sat.) 17:30

1964 / 152min. / B&W, Cinemascope / Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc (Production: Daiei)
Director: YAMAMOTO Satsuo / Executive Producer: NAGATA Masaichi / Producers: KAWASAKI Harunao, ITO Takeo / Based on the Novel by: ISHIKAWA Tatsuzo / Screenplay: SHINDO Kaneto / Cinematography: KOBAYASHI Setsuo / Lighting: IZUMI Masazo / Production Design: MANO Shigeo / Sound: SUDA Takeo / Editing: NAKASHIZU Tatsuji / Music: IKENO Sei

Main Cast: YAMAMURA So, MURASE Sachiko, KITAHARA Yoshiro, TAKAHASHI Koji, HODAKA Noriko, FUNAKOSHI Eiji, WAKAO Ayako, KAWASAKI Keizo, TSUBOUCHI Mieko, TANNAMI Yatsuko

This film depicts the life of an ambitious industrialist who built a gigantic conglomerate with railroads, real estate companies and department stores.  The film shows the protagonist both in light and shadow, and tells the story in dramatic and entertaining manner.  The film manages to be simultaneously righteous and fun.  The later made family drama of the super-rich, The Wealthy Family (1974), has its origin in this film.
Arima Shohei vigorously builds his business empire, and also pursues women with enthusiasm.  He never cares about his family, and selfishly sacrifices the people around him.

The Ivory Tower (Shiroi Kyoto)
February 3 (Sun.) 13:00

1966 / 150min. / B&W, Cinemascope / Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc (Production: Daiei)
Director: YAMAMOTO Satsuo / Executive Producer: NAGATA Masaichi / Producers: ZAIZEN Sadao, ITO Takeo / Based on the Novel by: YAMAZAKI Toyoko / Screenplay: HASHIMOTO Shinobu / Cinematography: MUNEKAWA Nobuo / Lighting: SHIBATA Kokichi / Production Design: MANO Shigeo
Sound: OKUMURA Masahiro / Editing: NAKASHIZU Tatsuji / Music: IKENO Sei

Main Cast: TAMIYA Jiro, TONO Eijiro, OZAWA Eitaro, KATO Yoshi, TAKAMURA Takahiro, FUNAKOSHI Eiji, SHIMOJO Masami, TAKIZAWA Osamu, FUJIMURA Shiho, ISHIYAMA Kenjiro

This film is a masterpiece that illustrates the inner workings of the medical schools, and the power games played there.  In all, there have been four TV dramas based on the same Yamazaki Toyoko books on which this film is based.  This film is much superior to later adaptations, due to very strong acting and direction that never slackens.  The film won Silver award at Moscow International Film Festival.
Zaizen Goro, a gifted surgeon, does everything in his power to obtain the coveted professorship.  He wins the election by playing his cards right, reading the power structure, and taking advantage of the factional rivalry.  However, a serious case of misdiagnosis arises…

Solar Eclipse (Kinkansyoku) *Brand new print!
February 3 (Sun.) 17:30

1975 / 155min. / Color, Cinemascope / Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures, Inc (Production: Daiei)
Director: YAMAMOTO Satsuo / Executive Producers: TOKUMA Yasuyoshi, ITO Takeo / Producer: TAKEDA Atsushi / Based on the Novel by: ISHIKAWA Tatsuzo / Screenplay: TASAKA Kei / Cinematography: KOBAYASHI Setsuo / Lighting: WATANABE Choji / Production Design: MANO Shigeo, IMAI Koji / Sound: NOBUOKA Minoru / Editing: NABESHIMA Jun / Music: SATO Masaru

Main Cast: NAKADAI Tatsuya, MIKUNI Rentaro, UNO Jukichi, KYO Machiko, TAKAHASHI Etsushi, NAKAMURA Tamao, YAMAMOTO Gaku, KOYAMA Shigeru, NAITO Taketoshi, NAKATANI Ichiro

This work is based on a novel by Ishikawa Tatsuzo, which was itself based upon an actual scandal of rigged bidding for dam construction in 1965.  This is a political suspense boasting an all-star cast and serves as a vivid portrayal of power-hungry politicians, industrialists, and bureaucrats, who maneuver behind the scenes as players of a conservative government.  The film is a biting social criticism, but at the same time it is a solid and accomplished work.
Within the governing party, the Terada faction desperately needs money after spending a lot buying people off to win the party leadership from a distinguished rival.  One way of recouping money is to rig construction bids for a dam and receiving huge sum in bribes…

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