Kazuo Mori

[Il bagliore della lucciola] · T. alt.: Farewell Song. Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Matsutaro Kawaguchi. Scen.: Ryozo Kasahara. F.: Shin’ichi Nagai. Scgf.: Koichi Takahashi. Mus.: Akira Ifukube. Int.: Ayako Wakao (Reiko Asakura), Kenji Sugawara (Toshihiko Miyamoto), Eiji Funakoshi (Kobayashi), Kazuko Ichikawa (Kyoko, la sorella di Reiko), Hisako Takihana (Kikue, la madre di Reiko), Chieko Higashiyama (Yukiko, la madre di Toshihiko), Hiroko Yajima, Yuko Yashio. Prod.: Masaichi Nagata per Daiei · 35mm. Col.


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Kazuo Mori (1911-1989, also known as Issei Mori) was one of the most skilled artisans at work in classical Japanese cinema. Working at Shinko Kinema and at Daiei but always in collaboration with the formidable producer, Masaichi Nagata, he routinely accepted assignments, but brought to them his distinctive visual flair and narrative economy. His films were characterised by what Sadao Yamane calls “a beautifully flowing lyricism full of pathos… a gentle kind of nihilism”. At Daiei in the postwar years, he made a number of celebrated jidai-geki (period films), including such minor masterpieces as the bleakly intense Hakuoki (Samurai Vendetta, 1959) and the grimly intense Shiranui kengyo (Blinded by Sea Fire, 1960), in which Shintaro Katsu first played the blind masseur characterisation he was to perfect as folk hero Zatoichi.
The Firefly’s Glow, however, is a gendai-geki (film of contemporary life), focusing on female experience in postwar Japan and starring Ayako Wakao, an actress whose assertive persona is well suited to a time when expectations about the role of women were changing quickly and dramatically. Based on a popular serialised novel by Matsutaro Kawaguchi, whose writings were also to furnish the basis for Yasuzo Masumura’s seminal film Kuchizuke (Kisses, 1957), it tells the story of a young woman struggling to sustain her family’s business (designing patterns for kimono) after the death of her parents. In its focus on a woman seeking to maintain her autonomy through a traditional profession, the work recalls Kozaburo Yoshimura’s contemporary sequence of Kyoto-set melodramas made at Daiei. The film revels in the potential of colour to capture the shades of the traditional kimono and the beauty of popular holiday spots.


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