Prod.: Mitsuro Kudo per Iwanami. 16mm. Bn.
Commissioned by the Tokyo National Museum, this film, regarded in some quarters as the masterpiece of Haneda’s Iwanami period, is one of several in which she documented Japan’s ancient and classical artistic treasures. Here she focuses on the Tokyo National Museum’s collection of art from the earliest eras of Japan’s (pre)history, including earthenware pottery and the striking terracotta figurines known as haniwa. Carefully framed details, precisely judged lighting and exploratory camera movements illuminate the beauty and distinctiveness of the artworks. Producer Mitsuru Kudo writes that “Kodai no bi was a job I got from the Ministry [of Education] while at Iwanami. Unlike today, film in that era was more prized socially and as a result budgets were bigger. That’s why we could do a really good job with preparations, location hunting, and script selection. Even though we were only making a 20-minute film, we’d go searching in the Tokyo National Museum, the Kyoto Museum, the Nara Museum, and even private collectors. We could do that thorough a job.”
Alex Jacoby e Johan Nordström