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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sadao Yamanaka

Ozu and Yamanaka

A photo of great value: two comrades, both drafted and sent to Manchuria; both of them among the greatest masters of cinema. One of them would die very soon after and most of his movies would be destroyed in the war. He would be largely forgotten, to be rediscovered only quite recently. The other one would survive the war to become world known with his movies.

Sadao Yamanaka is one of the greatest moviemakers, on the same plan with Ozu. He is in the same time one of the lest known of the greatest. Actually he is practically unknown! He started to make films at twenty, he made in nine years 23 movies, then he was drafted in the Japanese army and sent to Manchuria, where he died very soon. It was 1938.

From his 23 movies, only 3 survived. The rest was destroyed in the bombardments during the war. These 3 movies speak today volumes about a huge talent.

I found scenes from one of this movies (Tange Sazen - The Million Ryo Pot) on youTube. I was conquered by the movie in no time, it's amazing. It is so rare to feel a masterpiece in two minutes. I will talk about it.

One week ago I was visiting a bookstore and suddenly I found a dvd with another movie of Yamanaka: Humanity & Paper Balloons. It was so incredible, that I bought it immediately, without paying attention to details. I found at home that it was impossible to watch it on my player: mismatch of dvd regions!

The following days I tried to find someone to convert it in the proper format, without success. Fortunately, just this evening, I was able to get the solution; we have a new PC at home, and the movie can be watched on it! I could say that I am fortunate, one of the happy few!

(Japanese Cinema)



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