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Archive for August 13th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1973 115m) DVD2 (Japan/France only, no English subs)

Aka. Kaigenrei

Before doing it, count to ten

p  Mariko Okada, Kinshiro Kuzui  d  Yoshishige Yoshida  w  Minoru Betsuyaku  ph  Motokichi Hasegawa  m  Sei Ichiyanagi  art  Akira Naito

Rentaro Mikuni (Kazuki Kitamura/Ikki Kita), Yasuyo Matsumura (Suzu Kitamura), Yasuo Miyake (young soldier), Akiko Kurano (soldier’s wife), Kei Iinuma (Iwasa), Tadahiko Sugano (Mishida), Masako Yagi (Heigo’s sister), Kazunaga Tsuji (Heigo Asahi),

When Truffaut’s La Nuit Americaine won the Best Foreign Language film award for 1973 there won’t have been too many complaints.  It was a film about moviemaking, after all, and had won the same prize a decade earlier.  Take a look at the films it beat thatyear – Goretta’s L’Invitation, Mizrahi’s The House on Chelouche Street, Schell’s The Pedestrian and Verhoeven’s Turkish Delight – and one can quickly notice the absence of any Japanese film on the shortlist.  The Japanese nomination was Yoshida’s Coup d’Etat, but it didn’t make the cut.  It’s ridiculous really, for though two of the five nominees are listed in this tome, Yoshida’s film is better than all the five nominees.  Then recall that in September 1973 the Chilean coup led by Pinochet had overthrown the democratic government of Allende, while at home the Nixon administration was on a life support and would flat-line within a year.  For the ultra-conservative academy, any film depicting an attempted ousting of a government was never going to be considered. 

            It would be easy to decry the decision, but as we are fond of saying, history does repeat itself, again and again.  Yoshida’s film was set in 1936 and based around the real-life attempted coup staged by right wing elements against the emperor’s ministers in February of that year.  It focuses on the famous philosopher Ikki Kita, whose theory of Ultranationalism theorised that a military coup d’etat would establish a form of totalitarian regime, which could be lead by the emperor as a force for constitutional overhaul. (more…)

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