Jolly Cinema > 16:30


Teinosuke Kinugasa
Introduced by

Akira Tochigi, Johan Nordström and Alexander Jacoby


Sunday 28/06/2015


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Director Teinosuke Kinugasa is arguably best known in the West these days for his avant-garde silent films, Kurutta ichipeiji (A Page of Madness, 1926) and Jujiro (Crossways, 1928), the latter of which was one of the few Japanese silent films to secure distribution in Europe in the prewar era. But his long career stretched into the 1960s, and with Gate of Hell he directed Daiei’s first colour film, using imported Eastmancolor stock. This period film set in Heian-era Japan recounts the tragic story of a warrior’s obsessive love for a married woman, and contains full-blood performances from genre stars Kazuo Hasegawa and Machiko Kyo.
Although Gate of Hell did not win especially enthusiastic reviews at home, it was rapturously received in the West, taking the top prize at Cannes and an honorary Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Doubtless, much of the impact derived from the use of colour by Kinugasa and his cinematographer, Kohei Sugiyama. On the film’s release in the US, “New York Times” critic Bosley Crowther noted that Kinugasa’s “use of color (Eastman) as applied to the Japanese scene, with such economy in his composition and such texture and color subtleties in his materials, is on a level that renders it comparable to the best in Japanese art”. For many years, these qualities were largely lost in faded circulating prints; recent restoration allows them to shine through.

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Kan Kikuchi. Scen.: Teinosuke Kinugasa. F.: Kohei Sugiyama. M.: Shigeo Nishida. Scgf.: Kisaku Ito. Mus.: Yasushi Akutagawa. Int.: Kazuo Hasegawa (Morito Endo), Machiko Kyo (Kesa), Isao Yamagata (Wataru Watanabe), Yataro Kurokawa (Shigemori), Kotaro Bando (Rokuro), Jun Tazaki (Kogenta), Koreya Senda (Generale Kiyomori), Masao Shimizu (Nobuyori), Tatsuya Ishiguro (Yachuta), Kenjiro Uemura (Masanaka). Prod.: Masaichi Nagata per Daiei · 35mm. Col.