MUKASHI NO UTA
Sog.: da una pièce di Kaoru Morimoto. Scen.: Kaoru Morimoto. F.: Kazuo Yamasaki. M.: Yoshio Ehara. Scgf.: Yasuhide Kato. Ass. regia: Kon Ichikawa. Int.: Ranko Hanai (Omio), Jun Fujio (Senji), Kuninori Kodo (Kohei), Eitaro Shindo (Jihei), Saburo Sawai (Ogame), Kajiya Morino (l’uomo del risciò), Taizo Fukami (Sakai), Futasaburo Kikuchi (Shimizu). Prod.: Toho. 35mm. D.: 77’. Bn.
Ishida’s follow-up to Hana chirinu is also a step forward chronologically; it explores the social changes in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and their psychological impact on the people who lived through an era in which Japan underwent a transformation on a scale and a rapidity never before experienced by the country. Its story of two Osaka families dramatises the rise of the merchant class and the decline of the former samurai. Again, though less prescriptively, Ishida adheres to the principle of avoiding repeated shots, and again there is a feminine focus to the film’s depiction of history (this is, in Aaron Gerow’s words, “a sketch of a woman too strong for her time”).
The film, like Hana chirinu, is based on a Kaoru Morimoto play and features some of the same performers. Noël Burch complained that the film “fails to jell”, but acknowledged the way in which it sustains the distinctive characteristics of Ishida’s style and approach: not only his preference for avoiding repetition of shots, but also his ability to link personal drama into the broader changes of history.
Ishida continued to work through the war but made only one film afterwards, retiring from Toho in 1947.
Alexander Jacoby e Johan Nordström