Now a spry 84, Sadao Nakajima is one of the few directors from Japan’s studio era who is still active. After joining Toei in 1959 and making his directorial debut in 1964, Nakajima shot yakuza actioners and samurai swashbucklers (chanbara eiga) for more than three decades with Toei’s Kyoto studio as his base.

But Nakajima had not released a theatrical feature since 1998 before he made “Love’s Twisting Path,” which closed the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival’s fifth edition in October last year. Quite deliberately, the film is a throwback to the 1950s and ’60s glory days of the samurai period drama. It’s also an object lesson in filmmaking techniques and traditions now in danger of dying out.

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