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Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

(บรรยายอังกฤษ)

 

Directer: Sadao Yamanaka

Writter: Shintarô Mimura

Running time: 86 min

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese
Genre: Drama

Subtitle: English
Starring: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Kan''emon Nakamura and Tsuruzo Nakamura

 

ควรค่าน่าดูตรงที่นี่คือภาพยนตร์ญี่ปุ่นระดับตำนานของ ซาดาโอะ ยามานากะ ผลงานตั้งแต่ปี่ 1937 ถูกรีมาสเตอร์ใหม่ในคอเล็คชั่นของ The Masters of Cinema Series

 

 

 

Storyline:
Widely regarded as Yamanakas greatest achievement, Humanity and Paper Balloons [Ninjo kami fusen] was, tragically, his last film, and only one of three that survive today. In a short, six year, 22 film career Yamanaka quickly earned a reputation for exceptionally fluid editing and a beautiful visual form likened to the paintings of Japanese masters.

The story develops in the Tokugawa era of the 18th century, in a poor district of Tokyo, where impoverished samurai live from hand to mouth among equally poor people of lower social classes. One such ronin (masterless samurai) Matajuro, spends his day looking for work whilst his wife, Otaki, makes cheap paper balloons at home. One rainy night, Shinza, a barber, and equally penniless, impulsively abducts the daughter of a wealthy merchant, hiding her at Matajuros home. Their desperate plan has grave consequences when a ransom attempt backfires. The film, which starts and ends with suicide, is deeply pessimistic, insisting that life in feudal Japan was hellish and short for those at the foot of the social ladder.

Humanity and Paper Balloons premiered the day Yamanaka was drafted to the frontline at the start of WWII. He died in Manchuria, 1938, aged just 29. Boasting naturalistic performances and fine ensemble playing (from the left-wing theatre troupe Zenshin-za), The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this rare gem for the first time on home video in the West.


Special Features:
- Newly restored transfer
- New, improved English subtitle translation by Tony Rayns (optional)
- Production stills gallery


Review:

Humanity and Paper Balloons is a fascinating time capsule of a movie that not only reframes the feudal period in which it is set to present a harsh critique of the social and political conditions of the time it was made, but also demonstrates just how tight, coherent and entertaining films from this period actually were. One can only hope that Eureka''s release will pave the way for further forgotten treasures from this overlooked trove of film history. In the meantime, this can only be described as an essential purchase.
 
Excerpt from MidnightEye''s Review


A masterless Samurai has hanged himself in a Landlords slum. Unno, another Ronin, lives in the slum with his wife who he deceives about the depth of their poverty by inventing stories about how he can rely on a noble Samurai his late father knew. Shinza is a poor hairdresser who organises gambling parties which upset the local Yakuza. Unable to raise funds to pay his debts, Shinza goes for a loan at the local pawn shop and is disgusted when the owners daughter patronises him. When he sees her later alone and sheltering from the rain he decides to kidnap her and teach the merchant and the Yakuza a lesson. Unno helps him hide the woman but once they release her, having humiliated the local gang boss, and Unnos wife realises her husbands true predicament both Shinza and Unnos fates are sealed.

 

Sadao Yamanka was a contemporary of Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu and a young Akira Kurosawa. Yamanaka died whilst conscripted in the Japanese Army in 1938 whilst aged 29. He left behind a number of films but is mostly remembered for his period movies like this one and Tange Senzen. Yamanakas films evinced a left leaning political sympathy and a strong dramatic pedigree for realism. Humanity and Paper Balloons is the only film of his currently on DVD release in the English speaking world.

 

Paper Balloons is a dark tale of the poor stealing from the poor and acts of pride leading to death. Unlike many Jidai-Geki, there are no noble Samurai and the Yakuza portrayed here are merely the bully boys of the well-off. Unno is a persistent Ronin who pleads with the local Samurai, Mori, of his fathers acquaintance and receives the brush off continually and in his desperation tells his wife that he is making headway with Mori. When his wife realises that their fate will not change she takes his life then hers. This is not the romantic double suicide of fiction but an end to their suffering. 

 

Shinza is a rogue harassed by the Yakuza who uses the kidnap to humiliate the gang boss not for money but for pride. As he is led to his death after a generous feast with the other slum dwellers he is not angry merely resigned. The final image of the film is a Paper Balloon blowing down a stream as another Ronin has died.

 

Dramatically satisfying and clearly an influence on Ozu with its low camera positions, Humanity and Paper Balloons is a plaintiff bitter piece which feels like a film from another decade. Were it not for the age of this print this could have been one of the many Jidai-Geki of the 1960′s. A brilliant and deceptively simple piece.
 

 

 



เข้าชม : 2603    [ ขึ้นบน ]
ภาพยนตร์เรื่องนี้อยู่ในประเภท: classic: recommend



หนัง classicเรื่องอื่นๆที่น่าสนใจ..ลองเข้าไปดูซิครับ