Jolly Cinema > 14:30


Keisuke Kinoshita
Introduced by

Alexander Jacoby, Johan Nordström and Hisashi Okajima


Sunday 26/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Kinoshita’s first colour film was also Japan’s first full-length feature in colour utilizing domestic colour film stock and shot in the indigenous Fujicolor process. Hideko Takamine stars as a stripper who returns from Tokyo to her hometown in rural Nagano Prefecture. The mountain setting of the film was dictated by practical requirements, since the colour process was judged likely to produce a better image quality in natural light, and certainly the exquisite mountain landscapes are one of the film’s highlights.
Ironically, outside major cities few Japanese actually saw the film in colour at its premiere; the process of creating a print for screening was so expensive and time-consuming that only a few colour prints were struck, and at first it was shown in colour only in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyoto. Most rural cinemas screened a black and white version shot simultaneously. Accordingly, scenes were first shot in Fujicolor, and thereafter repeated and shot in black and white. Brian Carr writes, “This may also have necessitated the constant re-application of makeup, as early Fujicolor stock is said to have required actors to wear reddish make-up in order for their skin tones to register naturally on film, and red tones would surely have played havoc with black-and-white filming. Because Maya and Carmen were prone to showing skin, [Toshiko] Kobayashi and [Hideko] Takamine had to apply this pore-clogging greasepaint not only to their faces but also to their entire bodies for certain scenes. As the latter wrote: ‘At one point, I really thought that this film would kill me’”. In addition to revealing an unexpected comic talent on Takamine’s part, the film also contains a rather touching performance from Takeshi Sakamoto, ‘Kihachi’ from Ozu’s late silent period, as Carmen’s father.

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Keisuke Kinoshita. F.: Hiroshi Kusuda. M.: Yoshi Sugihara. Scgf.: Motoji Kojima. Mus.: Chuji Kinoshita, Toshiro Mayuzumi. Int.: Hideko Takamine (Okin Aoyama/Lily Carmen), Shuji Sano (Haruo Taguchi, il compositore cieco), Kuniko Igawa (Mitsuko Taguchi, la moglie di Haruo), Chishu Ryu (il preside) Keiji Sada (Mr. Ogawa, il giovane insegnante), Toshiko Kobayashi (Maya Akemi, amica di Okin), Takeshi Sakamoto (Shoichi Aoyama, il padre di Okin). Prod.: Shochiku. DCP. Col.


Film Notes

This early Japanese colour film, rediscovered in an incomplete print at Moscow’s Gosfilmofond archive, focuses on a boatman whose relationships with his mother and fiancee are disrupted when he is conscripted to fight in China. The title comes from the metre-long belt composed of a thousand stitches which the hero’s grandmother begins to prepare for him. The film is a memento of bellicose times, made in the year when Japan, which had already annexed Manchuria, launched a full-scale war with China.

Senninbari was the third film produced by the production company Dai Nihon Tennenshoku Eiga Seisakujo (Greater Japan Natural Color Productions), a pioneer of colour cinema in Japan. It is the oldest surviving Japanese colour talkie, made using a two-colour system. Dai Nihon Tennenshoku Eiga Seisakujo was the first production company to adopt the Multicolor process, known as ‘Shanghai color’ at the time. On the film’s release, the “Kinema Junpo” reviewer praised the improvement in the process by comparison with the studio’s first film, Tsukigata Hanpeita (Seika Shiba, 1937), but suggested that the work was lacking in dramatic terms. Director Genjiro Saegusa (b. 1900), is today little-known even in Japan. A contemporary at Nikkatsu of Kenji Mizoguchi, he worked prolifically through the silent era and remained active into the 1950s. His date of death is unknown. David Bordwell speaks of the echoes of French impressionist cinema and Soviet-style montage in his Gunshin Tachibana chusa (Lieutenant Colonel Tachibana, 1926), while his stylish rediscovered action film, Tokkyu sanbyaku mairu (Special Express: 300 Miles, 1928) was well received at screenings in Italy and Germany in recent years.


It did not prove possible to ship the original material, a nitrate color positive held at Gosfilmofond, to Japan, so a 4K version was produced in Russia and used as the basis for a new method of digital restoration conducted in collaboration with the production companies, IMAGICA Corp and IMAGICA West Corp. By analyzing the data resulting from photochemical simulations at IMAGICA West, it was possible to determine the colour range that the two-colour system could not reproduce, keep that range from being picked up in colour grading, and thereby retrieve the colour of Senninbari.

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Kesshu Tsukuda. F.: Sukeshige Urushiyama. Int.: Matsunosuke Fukui (Shotaro Saeki), Kuni Sugiura (la madre), Hoshiko Tachibana (Oyoshi, la fidanzata), Fumio Wakamatsu (Takasugi), Shizuko Takazawa (Tokiko, la moglie), Fumiyo Kyomachi (Mieko, la sorella). Prod.: Dainihon Tennenshoku Eiga Seisakujo (Greater Japan Natural Color Productions). DCP. Col