Saturday, September 8, 2012
|6:30 p.m.||Season of the Sun|
Takumi Furukawa (Japan, 1956)
New 35mm Print!
(Taiyo no kisetsu).Nikkatsu’s groundbreaking youth effort opens with a siren’s wail over a schoolyard, a fitting call to attention for a film that launched a new genre of film—the “sun tribe”—and defined a new generation. Bored, angry, and jaded, college boy Tatsuya hooks up with the similarly emotionless—but far richer—Eiko, with each attempting to outdo one another’s malaise across a landscape of Westernized bars, social clubs, and yacht-filled beaches, with nary a parent or authority figure in sight. “I’m incapable of love,” says one; “I do what I want,” says the other. Japanese teens had never said such words onscreen before, much less while attending Hawaiian-themed dance parties, or idly lounging on yachts like regular Frankies and Annettes. Underneath the sunshine, however, lurks both sorrow and fury, embodied by references to abortion and a stunning, smash-it-all-up finale at a funeral. Season was Nikkatsu’s biggest-ever hit, wildly embraced by teenage audiences, feverishly condemned by shocked adults. It also launched the career of Yujiro Ishihara, who became the shining star of Nikkatsu’s “Diamond Line” leads and the face of the “sun tribe.” It was written by Yujiro’s brother, Shintaro, who penned most of the sun tribe works; he is now more famous as a right-wing politician, and has been the mayor of Tokyo since 1999.
• Written by Takumi Furukawa, Shintaro Ishihara. Photographed by Saburo Isayama. With Yoko Minamida, Hiroyuki Nagato, Ko Mishima, Yujiro Ishihara. (89 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Nikkatsu)