Osaka Asian Film Festival generally forgoes retrospectives and screenings of classic cinema to concentrate on contemporary works from the Asian region. This year, they’re making a break from this tradition by hosting a rare screening of Nomura Yoshitaro’s The Refugee. The 1955 film is playing as part of this year’s special program, In & Out of Work: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment which aims to “reveal the true face of Asian societies and people through films that depict their labors”. The 35mm film is solely preserved at the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. English subtitles were specially commissioned for the screening and will be used here for the very first time.
A Chinese medical student named Gan Shosho finds himself cut off from his homeland as he is studying in Japan during the outbreak of the war. Despite his difficult circumstances, he finds love in the form of Sachiko and the two marry. They later travel to Nanjing to live a new life together where Sachiko and Shosho cooperate with the Japanese-backed government. Their ultimate hope is to secure peace but their idealism is not enough to keep them together through brutal times and with the end of the war the two find themselves facing a divorce...
Nomura Yoshitaro began his career in Japanese cinema’s Golden Age, directing his first film in 1953 at Shochiku studios. The prolific director would become known for his later collaborations with mystery writer Matsumoto Seicho, with the partnership resulting in works such as Castle of Sand (1974) and The Demon (1978).
The Refugee features many familiar Golden Age acting talents. It stars Ozu regular Sada Keiji, along with fellow stalwart Chishu Ryu. The pair would later appear together as father and son in Ozu’s final masterpiece, An Autumn Afternoon. Kishi Keiko, memorable as the Snow Woman in Kobaysahi Masaki’s Kwaidan, co-stars.
The Refugee will play at Hankyu Umeda Hall, Monday 6th March, 6:30pm