Sog.: da una pièce di Kaoru Morimoto. Scen.: Kaoru Morimoto. F.: Harumi Machii. M.: Yoshio Ehara. Scgf.: Yasuhide Kato. Mus.: Senji Ito. Ass. regia: Kon Ichikawa. Int.: Ranko Hanai (Okira), Reiko Minakami (Tanehachi), Rikie Sanjo (Tomi), Rumi Ejima (Harue), Fujiko Naruse (Oshige), Chieko Ishii (Shimewaka), Ginko Ii (Okiyo), Ryoko Satomi (Michiyo). Prod.: Kontaibo Goro per Toho. 35mm. D.: 74’. Bn.
Ishida’s original and brilliant film tells history as ‘her story’. Against the backdrop of a victory for the imperial forces in the civil war leading up to the Meiji Restoration, Ishida recounts the relationships among the inhabitants of a Kyoto geisha house, producing what has been described by Noël Burch as “one of the most remarkable community portraits ever filmed”. The film is set completely inside the house, with only female characters ever seen on screen. For Burch, “the exclusion from the scene of men, patrons or soldiers, is a meaningful corollary of the exclusion of Japanese women from the history of the country”. Ishida narrates his story using an imaginative cinematic style in which shots are almost never repeated. The narrative, Burch notes, evokes Čechov, but he judges its “combination of a restricted, unified setting and continual renewal of the imagery” to be unparalleled in conventional narrative cinema.
Although Hana chirinu is his only famous film, Tamizo Ishida (1901-1972) had a two-decade career as a director, starting out in chambara (action-oriented period films) during the silent era before achieving critical respect for a sequence of literary and theatrical adaptations in the 1930s. He began to work at Toho’s precursor company, J.O., in 1937, a year before making Hana chirinu. At this phase of his career he was working in collaboration with the Bungaku-za, a Western-style theatre group, and Hana chirinu started life as a play by Kaoru Morimoto. The film, however, is profoundly cinematic in style and approach, and ranks as one of the outstanding achievements of Japanese cinema in the 1930s.
Among Ishida’s assistants was Kon Ichikawa, who would go on to be one of the leading Japanese directors of the postwar era.
Alexander Jacoby e Johan Nordström