Films about Yamagata

This year the YIDFF will be held for the 10th time. In commemoration, a new special program has been created called Films about Yamagata, and its inaugural theme is pre-war Yamagata. Rare films set in Yamagata and precious footage shot by Yamagata-born masters return to the spotlight. These films will surely arouse your interest in Yamagata!

Venues: Central Public Hall 4F, Central Public Hall 6F

Part 1 The Man Who Shot Zao: Tsukamoto Koji

Tsukamoto Koji was a pioneer of documentary film active during the early Showa period. Now his rare film Mount Zao depicting the piedmont of the Zao mountains is to be screened for the first time in half a century. Also featured are prewar documentary films including an early Showa-period work capturing a rare bear hunt on Mt. Iide, and amazing footage of royal plover hunting.

Mount Zao 1935
Bear Hunting on the Snowy Ridges (“Setsuryo ni kuma o karu”) 1936
Tanzawa, Kurokura River (“Tanzawa, kurokura-gawa”) 1940

Imperial Capital:
Pathe News 1927-28
Rural March (“Denen kyoushinkyoku”) 1930
Spring in the Imperial Capital (“Teito no haru”) 1932
Hunting Methods on Imperial Household Ministry Preserves: Plover Hunting (“Kunaisho hozon shuryoho: Chidori ryo”) 1936
Kurobe Gorge (“Kurobe keikoku”) 1932


Part 2 A Look at Prewar Yamagata

Have you ever seen the prewar Kaminoyama Racetrack, overflowing with punters? Have you ever heard the voice of Ishiwara Kanji, the notorious military officer from Yamagata? Our tentative lineup includes scenes from Kaminoyama’s Kaisendo museum, rare prewar film discovered in Yamagata, and footage of Ishiwara Kanji. Here we exhume Yamagata’s buried films and reinvestigate their meaning and history in the 21st century.

Grandfather’s Morning (“Ojisama no asa”) 1940
Kaminoyama City before and after the War
Ishiwara Kanji’s Footage of Manchuria
“Securing the Peace of the Land”: An Interview with Ishiwara Kanji 1946


Part 3 Yamagata Venusography

Screening rare feature films starring Tatsuta Shizue, a famous actress who was the pride of pre-war Yamagata City, as well as works involving Yamagata-born Sato Chiyako, a nationally successful pop singer. Yamagata will tremble once again at their eternal beauty and transcendent loveliness.

Vanity Is Hell (“Kyoei wa jigoku”) 1925 / Uchida Tomu / Silent
My Sin: Sakubei’s Story (“Onoga tsumi Sakubei”) 1930 / Sasaki Tsunejiro / Silent with Japanese narration
Tokyo March (“Tokyo koshinkyoku”) 1929 / Mizoguchi Kenji / Silent with Japanese narration
The Port of Habu (“Habu no minato”) 1929 / Nezu Arata / Silent


Part 4 Yamagata Odeon

Prewar feature films set in Yamagata, Horse and The Battle of Kawanakajima, will be screened. See the Yamagata you know and love, and the new Yamagata you‘ve yet to see at YAMAGATA Odeon!

Horse (“Uma”) 1941 / Yamamoto Kajiro
The Battle of Kawanakajima (“Kawanakajima kassen”) 1941 / Kinugasa Teinosuke


Part 5 The Future of Yamagata and Film

Why did people make films set in Yamagata? What did they seek from it by filming there? We will screen films from up-and-coming filmmakers, and appraise the new worth of this place from films that bring us into the future.

Re: From: 2007 / Takahashi Yui
Jamboys 2006 / Kagami Keigo
Two people Sitting (“Futari ga suwatte iru”) 2007 / Ichikawa Yusuke
If You Head West (“Nishi yukeba”) 2007 / Oki Yuko
Zaru River: Blue Skies in May (“Zaru-river: Satsukibare”) 2007 / Kobayashi Kaori
Global Visual Workshop (“Chikyu no eizo kobo”) 2006 / YIDFF Organizing Committee
Stone Roof: Restoration of Heishindo’s Cedar-Bark Shingle and Stone Roof (“Ishikoro yane: Heishindo sugikawabuki ishioki yane shufuku”) 2005


Part 6 Sawato Midori’s “Sawa-Talkie”: Listening to Ah, My Hometown

Ah, My Hometown (“Aa kokyo,” 1938), a film by director Mizoguchi Kenji , for which prints no longer exist and thought to have been lost forever. This legendary film will be brought back to life by the live narration of motion-picture benshi Sawato Midori. This is what’s called a “Sawa-Talkie.” We will listen to the film in darkness, and Imagine what was on the screen.