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Hometown
(Fujiwara Yoshie no Furusato)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Yoshie Fujiwara, Fujiko Hamaguchi, Shizue Natsukawa.
Japan, 1930, 35mm, black & white, 75 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Mizoguchi’s first foray into sound was a first as well for the Japanese cinema, comparable to The Jazz Singer as a historic and technological milestone while similarly compensating for its part-talkie limitations by offering a series of over-determined song numbers which emerge as the emotional heart of the film. Hometown justified its technological gambit with a melodramatic story of a singer’s Mephistophean pact with fame, tested by the devotion of a loyal woman standing by his side. Casting popular tenor Yoshie Fujiwara in the main role was a costly gamble by Nikkatsu studio which offered clear evidence of Mizoguchi’s privileged stature within the Japanese film industry.

Part of program

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.