『In Search of Mother』
Cast：Kinnosuke Nakamura, Michiyo Kogure, Hiroki Matsukata, Sadako Sawamura
20 years of travel in search of his mother, separated from him when he was 5. Seeking for his mother, with his sword covered in blood, they finally find each other again… Kinnosuke Nakamura’s performance of the Shin Hasegawa masterpiece portraying the life of a gambler. Chuujiro stands up in front of the Iioka Sukegoro family to let Hanjiro his junior escape to Hitachi, as he sees the love of Hanjiro’s mother towards her son. Chuujiro hears rumours that his mother, separated from him in his childhood, is in Edo, and wanders through the snowing end of year town. He saves a courtesan who tells him about the mistress of “Mizukuma” which he then decides to visit...
A New Year’s release with the popular Kinnosuke Nakamura as leading role became postponed, and Tai Kato, chosen to substitute, asks to adapt a Shin Hasegawa project. Looking back at his filmography as an out stander, it can easily be seen that this film was a turning point. With a 14 day shooting period and second unit, the long-take which is later known a Tai Kato’s signature style, could have just been a method to quicken the shooting. Co-starring actors Sadako Sawamura and Shizue Natsukawa, Kinnosuke heads towards the climax with Michiyo Kogure, enjoyable even in a long shot. Audiences of the present may see this as some melodrama. However, the tight composition and deep story that the actors unfold to the audience, still have power to this day.
Absorbed by silent films such as the Daisuke Ito films, he enters the film industry with the help of his uncle, Sadao Yamanaka. He makes his debut as director in 1951, mainly directing period and yakuza films with Toei. After the 60’s, with his experiences in major films of many genres and productions, he builds his reputation with the fixed, low-angle, long-take shots, and action films reminding of the energetic films of the past. His affectionate and wrathful narrative that portrays the passionate lives of men and women who live outside social expectations, and his directing skills fully using the depth of a wide screen to vividly show the characters, are outstanding in the world’s history of cinema. The 1998 Locarno International Film Festival’s retrospective surprised many cinephiles. This will be a significant screening to see how the world interprets his talent, that portrayed domestic stories as universal action films.