SHINDO, Kaneto






Nationality: Japanese. Born: Hiroshima Prefecture, 28 April 1912. Family: Married first wife, 1939 (died 1940); second wife (divorced late 1940s); actress Nobuko Otowa. Career: Joined art section of Shinko-Kinema Tokyo Studio, 1928; moved to scenario department, 1939; moved to Koa Film, from 1942 (absorbed by Shochiku-Ofuna Studio, 1943); with director Kosaburo Yoshimura, left Shochiku to form independent production company Kindai Eiga Kyokai, with producer Hisao Itoya, director Tengo Yamada, and actor Taiji Tonoyama, 1950; directed first film, 1951; became president of Japanese Association of Scenario Writers, 1972. Awards: Grand Prix, Moscow Festival, for Naked Island , 1960; Asahi Prize, Japan, for activities in independent film production, 1975. Address: 4–8-6 Zushi, Zushi-City, Kanagawa, Japan.


Films as Director:

1951

Aisai monogatari ( Story of My Loving Wife ) (+ sc)

1952

Nadare ( Avalanche ) (+ sc); Genbakuno-ko ( Children of the Atomic Bomb ) (+ sc)

1953

Shukuzu ( Epitome ) (+ sc); A Life of a Woman (+ sc)

1954

Dobu ( Gutter ) (+ co-sc)

1955

Ookami ( Wolves ) (+ sc)

1956

Gin-Shinju ( Silver Double Suicide ) (+ sc); Ruri no kishi ( Bank of Departure ) (+ sc); Joyu ( An Actress ) (+ sc)

1957

Umi no yarodomo ( Guys of the Sea ) (+ sc)

1958

Kanashimi wa onna dakeni ( Sorrow Is Only for Women ) (+ sc)

1959

Dai go fukuryu-maru (+ co-sc); Hanayome san wa sekai-ichi ( The World's Best Bride ) (+ sc); Rakugaki kokuban ( Graffiti Blackboard ) (+ sc)

1960

Hadaka no shima ( Naked Island ; The Island ) (+ sc)

1962

Ningen ( Human Being ) (+ sc)

1963

Haha ( Mother ) (+ sc)

1964

Onibaba (+ sc)

1965

Akuto ( A Scoundrel ) (+ sc)

1966

Honno ( Instinct ) (+ sc); Totsuseki iseki ( Monument of Totsuseki ) (+ sc); Tateshina no shiki ( Four Seasons of Tateshina ) (+ sc)

1967

Sei no kigen ( Origin of Sex ) (+ sc)

1968

Yabu no naka no kuroneko ( A Black Cat in the Bush ) (+ sc); Tsuyomushi onna (&) yawamushi otoko ( Strong Woman and Weak Man ) (+ sc)

1969

Kagero ( Heat Haze ) (+ co-sc)

1970

Shokkaku ( Tentacles ) (+ sc); Hadaka no jukyu-sai ( Naked Nineteen-year-old ) (+ co-sc)

1972

Kanawa ( Iron Ring ) (+ sc); Sanka ( A Paean ) (+ sc)

1973

Kokoro ( Heart ) (+ sc)

1974

Waga michi ( My Way ) (+ sc)

1975

Aru eiga-kantoku no shogai: Mizoguchi Kenji no kiroku ( Life of a Film Director: Record of Kenji Mizoguchi ) (doc) (+ sc)

1977

Chikuzan hitori-tabi ( Life of Chikuzan ) (+ sc)

1982

Hokusai manga ( Hokusai, Ukiyoe Master ) (+ sc)

1984

Chiheisen ( The Horizon )

1987

A Deciduous Tree

1988

Sakur Tai 8–6

1993

Bokuto Kidan ( The Strange Story of Oyuki ) (+ sc)

1995

Gogo no Yuigon-jo (+ sc)



Other Films:


(partial list: has written over 200 scripts)

1939

Nanshin josei ( South Advancing Women ) (Ochiai) (sc)

1946

Machiboke no onna ( Woman Who Is Waiting ) (Makino) (sc); Josei no shori ( The Victory of Women ) (Mizoguchi) (sc)

1947

Anjo-ke no butokai ( The Ball of the Anjo Family ) (Yoshimura) (sc)

1948

Yuwaku ( Seduction ) (Yoshimura) (sc); Waga shogai no kagayakeru hi ( My Life's Bright Day ) (Yoshimura) (sc)

1949

Waga koi wa moenu ( My Love Burns ) (Mizoguchi) (co-sc); Shitto ( Jealousy ) (Yoshimura) (sc); Mori no Ishimatsu ( Ishimatsu of Mori ) (Yoshimura) (sc); Ojosan kanpai ( Toast to a Young Miss ) (Kinoshita) (sc)

1951

Itsuwareru seiso ( Deceiving Costume ) (Yoshimura) (sc); Genji monogatari ( Tale of Genji ) (Yoshimura) (sc)

1955

Bijo to kairyu ( The Beauty and the Dragon ) (Yoshimura) (sc)

1958

Hadaka no taiyo ( Naked Sun ) (Ieki) (sc); Yoru no tsuzumi ( Night Drum ) (Imai) (co-sc)

1963

Shitoyakana kemono ( Soft Beast ) (Kawashima) (sc)

1964

Kizudarake no sanga ( Mountains and Rivers with Scars ) (Yamamoto) (sc)

1967

Hanaoko Seishu no tsuma ( Seishu Hanaoka's Wife ) (Masumura)

1972

Gunki hatameku shitani ( Under the Military Flag ) (Fukasaku) (sc)

1987

Eiga Joyu (sc)

1988

Hachi-Ko (sc)

1993

Tooki Rakujitsu (Kôyama) (co-sc)

1995

Miyazawa Kenji sono ai (Kôyama) (sc)

Publications


By SHINDO: books—

Seishun no monokuromu , Tokyo, 1988.

Shigotoshi retsuden , Tokyo, 1991.

Nagai futari no michi: Otowa Nobuko to tomo ni , Tokyo, 1996.


By SHINDO: article—


Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), December 1995.


On SHINDO: books—

Mellen, Joan, Voices from the Japanese Cinema , New York, 1975.

Mellen, Joan, The Waves at Genji's Door , New York, 1976.

Anderson, Joseph, and Donald Richie, The Japanese Film , expanded edition, Princeton, 1982.


On SHINDO: article—

"Kaneto Shindo," in CinemAction! (Toronto), January 1992.

* * *


Kaneto Shindo began his career in film as a scenario writer. An episode portraying his study of scenario writing, under the perfectionist director Kenji Mizoguchi, is included in his own first film as a director, Story of My Loving Wife. The rigorous influence of his mentor on Shindo's style is seen in both his scenarios and his direction. Such persistent influence, by one director on another, on mise-en-scène and writing, is rarely found in the work of other filmmakers.

Shindo became a very successful scenario writer mainly for Kosaburo Yoshimura's films at Shochiku. However, after this team was subjected to commercial pressure from the studio, they left to produce their own films, establishing Kindai Eiga Kyokai, or the Society of Modern Film. Thus, they have been able to pursue their own interests and concerns in choosing subjects and styles.

Shindo, a Hiroshima native, frequently deals with the effects of the atomic bomb. He traced Hiroshima's aftermath, in Children of the Atomic Bomb , based on the compositions of Hiroshima children. This subject could be treated only after the American Occupation ended. Mother focuses on a surviving woman's decision to become a mother after much mental and physical trauma. Instinct deals with a middle-aged survivor whose sexual potency is revived by the love of a woman. Dai go fukuryu-maru is about the tragedy of the fishermen heavily exposed to nuclear fallout after American testing in the South Pacific. Shindo condemns nuclear weapons for causing such misery to innocent people, but also strongly affirms the survivor's will to live.

Shindo's best-known film internationally, Naked Island , is experimental in not using any dialogue but only music. It also uses local people except for a professional actor and actress who play a couple living on a small island. We are impressed with the hardship of their farming life as well as with the beauty of their natural surroundings throughout the cycle of the seasons. The joy, sorrow, anger, and desperation of the hardworking couple is silently but powerfully expressed in a semi-documentary manner.

The peaceful atmosphere of this film is in contrast to many of Shindo's more obsessive works, such as Epitome, Gutter, Sorrow Is Only for Women, Onibaba , and A Scoundrel. These convey a claustrophobic intensity by using only a few small settings for the action, with much close-up camera work.

In 1975, Shindo expressed his lifelong homage to his mentor, Mizoguchi, in a unique documentary: The Life of a Film Director: Record of Kenji Mizoguchi. In this film, he brought together many interesting and honest accounts of Mizoguchi by interviewing people who had worked for this master. These personal recollections, along with sequences from Mizoguchi's films, are a testimony to the greatness of Mizoguchi's art, and to his intriguing personality.

Like Mizoguchi, Shindo creates many strong female figures who, by virtue of their love and the power of their will, try to "save" their male counterparts. While Mizoguchi's women seem to rely more on their generous compassion to sustain their men, Shindo's women tend to inspire and motivate their men by their own energy and power. In much the same way, Shindo's own energy and perseverance have supported his artistic vision through four decades of independent filmmaking.

—Kyoko Hirano

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