Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sadao Yamanaka - Ninjo kami fusen AKA Humanity & Paper Balloons (1937)

Description: 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 Matajuro's 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.

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

Yamanaka was drafted into the Japanese army, entering the service on the day Humanity and Paper Balloons was released theatrically, and died during the war at the age of 29, while stationed in Manchuria. With the exception of this film, and 2 others, Yamanaka's 30+ films were lost after the war.

Cd1 & Paper Balloons (1937) (CD 1) Ninjo Kami Fusen.avi
CD2 & Paper Balloons (1937) (CD 2) Ninjo Kami Fusen.avi

eng subs:
no pass