Five Scouts at Venice Film Festival? Help!

Mark Nornes amnornes at
Sun Aug 29 13:08:46 EDT 2010

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

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the KineJapan mailing list