Films about Yamagata

This year sees the third installment of “Films about Yamagata.” Using Yamagata as a jumping-off point, this program explores its links with film, and also creates new ones. It aims to re-acknowledge how films have been received in Yamagata, how Yamagata been represented on film, and what kind of influence it has had on artists from Yamagata.

Venues: Yamagata Museum of Art 1

  The Man Who Shot Godzilla: Honda Ishiro Centennial

It seems like no coincidence that the 100th anniversary of the birth of filmmaker Honda Ishiro (a native of Tsuruoka City, Yamagata), the man whose direction defined the Godzilla film series, coincides with the year in which Japan experienced the events of March 11th. Enjoy these early celebrated works with a strong documentary ethos and classic “tokusatsu” (special effects) films by Honda, who stated that his interest in film was awakened by Robert Flaherty’s Man of Aran.

The Skin of the South 1952 / 95 min
Rodan 1956 / 82 min
My Life in Cinema: Honda Ishiro Production: The Directors Guild of Japan / 1990 / 58 min

Oct. 8 M1


  Arise, Japan: Escape from Occupation

During the Allied occupation of Japan, the CIE’s (Civil Information and Education Section) film screenings program utilizing Natco projectors grabbed the nation’s attention. Did the U.S. achieve its objectives? This program gathers fine works by Shu Taguchi, one of the most respected directors of Japanese-made Natco films, who later returned to the United States. His This Land is Mine was shot on location in Yamagata.

Supported by Yamagata Prefectural Foundation of Lifelong Learning and Culture
Cooperation: Documentary Film Preservation Center

Shu Taguchi
Productions 1
Men Who Fish 1950
Nanook of the North Robert Flaherty / 1922
(75 min) Oct. 7 M1
Shu Taguchi
Productions 2
Can Japan Rise to Its Feet? Circa 1947
Model Health Center 1949
It Happened in Our Town 1950
This Land Is Mine 1951
Carrying “Democracy”—Interview: The Yamagata Natco Screening Movement
(95 min) Oct. 8 M1
Shu Taguchi
Productions 3
The Eye of A Typhoon Special Effects: Tsuburaya Eiji / Music: Ifukube Akira / 1950
Building Massive Ships Matsuo Ichiro / Producer: Taguchi Yasushi/ 1968
Carrying “Democracy”—Interview: The Yamagata Natco Screening Movement
(96 min) Oct. 9 M1

  Iwanami Productions, An Overview of Social-Studies Films, and More

Iwanami films and social studies films from the educational film system with a connection to Yamagata.

Cooperation: Documentary Film Preservation Center

Iwanami Film Works,
A System Producing
Educational Films for
Social Studies and More
Discovery of Japan: Yamagata Prefecture 1959
Industry and Electricity Yanagisawa Hisao / 1952
Cast Metal Town Higuchi Genichiro / 1954
A Town Without Flies Mura Haruo / Photography: Yoshino Keiji / 1950
A Danish Farm in Japan Higuchi Genichiro / 1954
(101 min) Oct. 7 M1
Iwanami Film Works
Special Program
Dream & Melancholy: Yoshino Keiji and Iwanami Productions Production: The University of Tokyo Documentary Film Archive Project, Documentary Film Preservation Center (122 min) Oct. 7 M1

  Seasons of Magic Lantern

Following World War II, Beseler magic lanterns with distributed at the same time as Natco film projectors . This program presents a variety of works from that era, including a recently discovered magic lantern version of School of Echoes (“Yamabiko gakko”), set in Yamamoto in Kaminoyama City. Actors will perform a recital of the script, which was uncovered at the same time.

Oct. 9 M1

  Yamagata Household Cinema

The Yamagata Household Cinema program returns by popular demand. This year we bring you works from Shinjo City and Kaminoyama City, selected from numerous films discovered at privately-owned art museum Kaisendo, associated with the Hasegawa silk manufacturing plant in Kaminoyama City. Scenes from the amusement quarters of pre-war Shinjo City, and Java in Indonesia during the same period. . . . Don’t miss this rare footage showing Yamagata’s past landscapes and lifestyles.

Oct. 10 M1

  Legendary Filmmakers of Yamagata: the Actress Yokoyama Rie

In Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, Suzuki Umeko goes on a dream-like crawl through the Shinjuku underground with the likes of Yokoo Tadanori, Tanabe Moichi (founder of Kinokuniya Book Store), Watanabe Fumio, and Toura Rokko. The song It’s quiet here on the frontlines (“Koko wa shizukana saizensen”), sung by the character of Friday in Ecstasy of the Angels, could be described as an underground standard. It has also been covered by Nagisa Yoko whose work was featured in YIDFF 2009. A heroine of Japan’s Nouvelle Vague movement.

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief Oshima Nagisa / 94 min Oct. 9 M1
Ecstasy of the Angels Wakamatsu Koji / 89 min Oct. 10 M1


  The Future of Yamagata and Film

A screening of a work by a young Yamagata-based filmmaker.

Our Future Iizuka Kasho / 75 min

Oct. 10 M1

  Special Screening

Winds Sono Sion / 1998 / 28 min

Admission Free Oct. 7 M1