Five Scouts at Venice Film Festival? Help!

Roger Macy macyroger at
Sun Aug 29 14:03:56 EDT 2010

Hi, Markus,
Gonin no sekkohai, according to my notes from the book '2000 film a Venezia, 1932-1950', published by the biennale, was one of two feature films entered by Japan in 1938 (the other one was Kaze no naka no kodomo, listed as 'L'Enfant dans le vent').  Gonin no sekkohai is listed as 'Die Patrouille ', but even with the mis-prints/mis-hearings, is clearly this film.  It is listed as in competition for the Mussolini Cup, but is not listed for any prize - unlike Kojo no Tsuki (Luna sulle rovine) in the previous year which is listed as getting a special recommendation.
I have read several suggestions that the competition favoured axis countries, but since this was neither surprising, nor backed by hard evidence, I have no specific notes on this.   Incidentally, the 1938 and 1939 jury included 'Junzo Sato'.
The book mentioned above reproduces several contemporary Italian reviews of the films, including 'Die Patrouille '.

I'd be interested to know whether or not the articles you have found mention Japanese films in any way.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Mark Nornes 
  To: KineJapan 
  Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 6:08 PM
  Subject: Five Scouts at Venice Film Festival? Help!

  In 1938, Five Scouts by Tasaka Tomotaka was shown at the Venice Film Festival. According to Peter High in The Imperial Screen, it came home with a "People's Culture" award. He also writes that it was shown in the Berlin Film Festival. This would have to be one of the first Japanese films to be shown in an international film festival, as well as the first to win an award. 

  Now I've heard over the years that the award was controversial because people assumed it was rigged—one axis country honoring another. I've tried to track down both where I heard this and what exactly the controversy was and who was engineering it. I've come up against a brick wall, research-wise.

  First of all, Berlin Film festival started in the postwar era, so this must be a reference to a minor film week or festival being held by the Nazis. Can anyone clarify this?

  I have found a few articles in newspapers that report the aftermath of the Venice festival. The British and American delegates to the jury resigned in protest over the Mussolini Cup to Olympia on the grounds that it was not a documentary. They insisted that the protest was not over suspected axis politics, but this is hard to believe—especially when Flaherty's Man of Aran had won the same award in 1934.

  Nowhere in this small clutch of articles does anyone mention Five Scouts. Does anyone know if there was, indeed, a controversy? 


  A. M. Nornes
  Department of Screen Arts and Cultures
  University of Michigan
  North Quad 6F, 105 S. State Street
  Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608
  Phone: 734-763-1314
  FAX: 734-936-1846

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