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SATSUO YAMAMOTO

Classic director remembered

by Mariko Kato

The Japan Foundation will present the film series “Rediscovery of Yamamoto Satsuo” on Feb. 2-3 as it continues to promote cultural and arts exchange with non-Japanese. A selection of the most popular works by the celebrated director Yamamoto will be shown in Tokyo with English subtitles.

Born in 1910 in Kagoshima, Kyushu, Yamamoto is known for the diversity of his many masterpieces from the 1950s to the ’70s, ranging from the controversial and socially conscious to the entertaining.

After dropping out of Tokyo’s prestigious Waseda University, he joined the film studio Shochiku in 1933. He then moved to PCL (Photo Chemical Laboratory), which later became the prominent Toho Motion Picture Company, where he became a director in 1937. After serving in World War II, Yamamoto codirected “Between War and Peace” in 1947.

As a freelance director, he made the socialist-leaning film “Vacuum Zone” (1952) before directing his most famous works, “A Band of Assassins” (1962), “The Ivory Tower” (1966) and “Bride from Hades” (1968), as well as epic dramas such as the “Senso to Ningen” trilogy (1970-73) and “Solar Eclipse” (1975). Yamamoto died in 1983, aged 73.

This film series, launched in 2004 by the Japan Foundation to introduce Japanese films to foreign residents, will include a lecture on Yamamoto’s works by film critic Chris Fujiwara.

“Rediscovery of Yamamoto Satsuo” takes place Feb. 2-3 at OAG Hall, OAG Haus, 1st Floor (7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo). The nearest station is Aoyama-itchome on the Ginza, Hanzomon and Oedo subway lines. Tickets are ¥600 on the door. For more information on film times, visit www.jpf.go.jp/e/culture/topics/movie/ fsp9.html#yamamoto or call the Tokyo Filmex Office on (03) 3560-6394 or (080) 6953-1951 on the days of the event.