THE STREET WITHOUT SUN
Tuesday, October 22
*Introduced by Aiko Masubuchi
太陽のない街 (Taiyo no nai machi)
Director Satsuo Yamamoto
Cast Sumiko Hidaka, Sen Hara, Seiji Miyaguchi
Screenplay Saburô Tateno | Cinematography Minoru Maeda
1954 | Japan | 35mm print courtesy National Film Archive of Japan | approx. 140 min. | In Japanese with English subtitles created especially for this screening.
A cast of 50,000 in independently-produced agitprop based on a classic novel about real-life 1926 labor struggle, the title referring to workers’ tenement houses by a sewage river.
Translation and subtitles by Mimiko Goldstein.
“There was a conscious application of Soviet “socialist realism” to Japanese technique, with a very idealized portrayal of the working class spouting their all-knowing and inherent folk wisdom, as against the all-black capitalist adversaries and their bootlicking lackeys. It had a final scene where, as anti-union forces try to steal the red flag, it is passed from hand to hand with as much commotion as the jacket-snatching climax of René Clair’s Le Million. The only difference was that the scene in the Yamamoto film was not supposed to be funny.”
– Donald Richie