|9:00 p.m.||Jirokichi the Burglar|
Daisuke Ito (Japan, 1931)
(Oatsurae Jirokichi goshi). Daisuke Ito's revolutionary use of the moving camera for swordfights, his command of montage, and his propensity for serious drama delicately balanced by comic interludes make this perhaps the finest silent Japanese period-film to have survived in approximately original form. Nezumi Kozo Jirokichi (Denjiro Okochi, an actor whose popularity was rivaled only by Tsumasaburo Bando), a late-Edo-period burglar immortalized as a folk hero who stole from the homes of wealthy samurai to aid the poor, was the subject of numerous films from as early as 1911. Ito develops a sophisticated plot that places the thief between two women, a sultry woman of the world who sacrifices herself to help him escape, and an innocent young girl who falls in love with him when he saves her from being sold as a geisha. Naoe Fushimi's seductive performance as Jirokichi's lover provides a rare opportunity to see one of Japan's few vamps. Her sister, Nobuko, plays the innocent young girl.
• Written by Ito, based on a story by Eiji Yoshikawa. Photographed by Hiromitsu Karasawa. With Denjiro Okochi, Naoe Fushimi, Nobuko Fushimi. (62 mins, Silent with Japanese intertitles and English subtitles, Recorded benshi narration by Shunsui Matsuda, B&W, 16mm, Courtesy The Japan Foundation, permission Matsuda Film Productions)
Preceded by short:
Chokon (fragment) (Daisuke Ito, Japan, 1926). Chokon depicts the tragic lives of two brothers in the late Edo period; the title is a word borrowed from the Chinese, meaning "the grudge that one cannot forget." Only the last reel of this feature survives, but even a fragment vividly demonstrates Daisuke Ito's visual style, with its fast-moving camera, unusual camera angles, and rapid cutting.
(12 mins, Silent with Japanese intertitles and English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, Courtesy National Film Center, Tokyo)
(Total running time: 74 mins)