Four Postwar Films by Shimizu Hiroshi
Screening Dates
16mm Print

One of Shimizu’s richest comedies.”

Alan Stanbrook, Sight and Sound

This contemporary tragicomedy about the undoing of a nobleman was singled out by 80s auteur Somai Shinji as one of his favourite Japanese pictures. It’s not hard to see why. Punctuated by long, sophisticated tracking shots that traverse spaces indoors and out, the film transforms its historical setting—a 300-year-old stately home at the base of Mount Fuji—into a cinematic playground for Shimizu. Its story, drawn from a Japanese parable and folk song, concerns the head of a once-respectable samurai household (Okochi Denjiro) whose inability to deny requests for money or favour results in his ruin. Set against the modernization of his provincial village and an election campaign full of chic empty promises, Mr. Shosuke Ohara frames its tenderhearted protagonist less as a fool than an exploited old hat. The casting of Okochi, star of heroic jidaigeki (period dramas), works well in this respect and marks a break from Shimizu’s usual preference for nonprofessionals.

In Japanese with English subtitles


Upcoming in this Series

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