Arlecchino Cinema > 09:00


Mansaku Itami


Sunday 02/07/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Mansaku Itami’s last film as director, made before failing health restricted his activities, is a departure from his typical satiric approach to period material. Here, he relocated Les Misérables to Kyushu and the era of the Satsuma Rebellion. Victor Hugo’s novel was a totemic one for liberal Japanese intellectuals of the early twentieth century, and its anti-authoritarian and humanist sentiments were daring in the age of militarism. The great jidai-geki star Denjiro Okochi makes an imposing Jean Valjean, and an eighteen-year-old Setsuko Hara features as Cosette. Sadly the film was poorly received by critics at the times, a circumstance that may have hastened the decline of the director’s health.
Mansaku Itami, who entered the film industry at the encouragement of his good friend, director Daisuke Ito, was a prolific screenwriter as well as one of the outstanding directors of jidai-geki during the mid-1930s. His acknowledged masterpiece, Akanishi Kakita (The Letter, 1935), which typifies his irreverent approach to the genre, was screened at Bologna in 2013. His son was Juzo Itami, who was to uphold his tradition of satire in the very different context of the 1980s economic boom.

Alexander Jacoby e Johan Nordström

Cast and Credits

Sog.: liberamente ispirato al romanzo I miserabili di Victor Hugo. Scen.: Mansaku Itami. F.: Jun Yasumoto. Scgf.: Takeo Kita. Mus.: Nobuo Iida. Int.: Denjiro Okochi (Sanpei/Onuma/Sankichi), Setsuko Hara (Chiyo), Masako Tsutsumi (Okuni), Hinako Katagiri (Chiyo bambina), Ryo Sayama (Ryoma Seike), Sadao Maruyama (Yajiro Sogabe), Yo Shiomi (sacerdote), Yoshio Kosugi (Narutoya). Prod.: Nobuyoshi Morita per Toho. 35mm. D.: 127’. Bn.