kyoto fest

Aaron Gerow gerow
Mon Sep 20 21:36:26 EDT 1999

>  Does anyone have anything to say about the jidaigeki selection?  I'm 
>fairly new to Japanese cinematic history, and I doubt I'm the only one who 
>doesn't know much about the topic.

The theme this year is 1930s "meiro jidaigeki" or period films with a 
bright, more modern tone.  The two absolutely must see films--because 
they are repeatedly counted as some of the best Japanese films of all 
time--are Yamanaka Sadao's _Tange Sazen hiwa: Hyakumanryo no tsubo_ (a 
comedic version of the Tange Sazen story) and Makino Masahiro's 
delightful jideigeki musical _Oshidori utagassen_.  Also worth seeing are 
Inagaki Hiroshi's _Horo zanmai_ and _Tabi wa aozora_ (the latter only 
exists in parts), which again show how talented Chiezo Productions and 
its star Kataoka Chiezo were.  Yamanaka's _Kochiyama Soshun_ will also be 
shown--though it's not the bright comedy _Tange Sazen_ is--as will 
Makino's _Yaji Kita dochuki_.  A personal favorite is Arai Ryohei's 1935 
_Mito Komon_ films, but for some reason, they're only showing one of the 
three part series (all three exist in good condition).  Still, it's a 
very entertaining work with a bravura performance by Okochi Denjiro 
playing two parts (it's always hard for me to decide if I like Chiezo or 
Okochi best).  Marune Santaro's _Shunshu ittoryu_ is a highly-praised 
modern jidaigeki with an impressive ending.  The two Mori Kazuo films, 
_Adauchi hiza kurige_ and _Oisei mairi_, are less polished, but feature 
many of the better vaudevillians and entertainers of the time: a nice 
historical slice of 1930s Japanese popular culture.  ABout half the films 
will have English subtitles, a good opportunity for those who still can't 
understand Okochi Denjiro's slurred speech!

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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