Renoir, Gide, Setsuko Hara

Though little known today, there were attempts to export Japanese films to the foreign countries before Kurosawa’s “Rashomon“. Japanese film industry explored the possibility to show Shimazu’s film or young Setsuko Hara’s starring vehicle in various countries, from Asia to United States to Europe. They condescendingly ‘exported’ the films made in Japan to Manchuria, Korea and the other occupied territories. However, the attempt to export such films to Europe was a different matter. It was a competitive market saturated with highly sophisticated products. Especially, during the thirties, volatile European politics lowered the melting point of artistic borders, resulting in the unprecedented degree of collaborations among artists and creators. Keen eyes trained by Dadaism, Futurism, Expressionism and various modes of modernism would not be fooled easily. Then, what kind of Japanese films can make any impressions on such tough critics?

Continue reading “Renoir, Gide, Setsuko Hara”