Archive of films New Tales of the Taira Clan / Shin Heike monogatari

Japan
1955, 108 min

Section: Tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi
Year: 2017

A young samurai rises to power in the 12th-century struggles between land-owning nobles and the Buddhist clergy – only to be undone by his own arrogance and vanity. The control of colour and design (scrupulously researched, as usual) and vivid performances from a large ensemble cast make sense of the complicated historiography.


Synopsis

The better of the two films Mizoguchi made in colour, this adaptation of a rather pulpy magazine serial was intended by Daiei to launch a series: two more episodes (by other directors) followed. Ichikawa Raizo, soon the company’s top star, headlines as Kiyomori, a young samurai who rises to power in the 12th-century struggles between land-owning nobles and the Buddhist clergy – only to be undone by his own arrogance and vanity. Whatever Mizoguchi may have felt about directing a company assignment rather than a project of his own choosing, he approached the story with the same seriousness he brought to his personal films. The control of colour, design (scrupulously researched, as usual) and staging matches his familiar high standards, and he makes sense of the complicated historiography by drawing vivid performances from a large ensemble cast. Mizoguchi’s only regret was that he couldn’t shoot it in CinemaScope.

Tony Rayns

Contacts

Kadokawa Corporation
1-8-19 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, 102-8078, Tokyo
Japan
Tel: +81 368 931 625
E-mail: okada-w@kadokawa.jp

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi
   
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Screenplay: Yoshikata Yoda, Masashige Narusawa, Hisaichi Tsuji podle stejnojmenného románu / based on the novel of the same name by Eiji Yoshikawa
Dir. of Photography: Kazuo Miyagawa
Music: Fumio Hayasaka, Masaru Sato
Editor: Kanji Suganuma
Art Director: Hiroshi Mizutani
Producer: Masaichi Nagata
Production: Daiei, Kyoto
Cast: Raizo Ichikawa, Michiyo Kogure, Eijiro Yanagi, Yoshiko Kuga, Eitaro Shindo
Sales: Kadokawa Corporation
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