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Cinema, English, Photographers

Masahiro Shinoda – Japanese New Wave / Film

Pale Flower (1964)

Masahiro Shinoda (篠田 正浩 Shinoda Masahiro, 1931) is a Japanese film director, originally associated with the Shochiku Studio, who came to prominence as part of the Japanese New Wave in the 1960s.

Masahiro Shinoda is one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Japanese New Wave, along with Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura. While Oshima’s films were often a venue for political provocation and Imamura’s work seemed to be a bawdy refutation of Yasujiro Ozu’s refined passivity, Shinoda’s movies detail the spiritual emptiness of post-war Japanese life and search for some essence of the Japanese character.

Shinoda was born into one of the most illustrious families in central Gifu Prefecture in 1931. His ancestors were large landowners and village leaders of a small town that is now part of Gifu City. They also had a long literary and cultural heritage. His great uncle was the model for the main character in one of Toson Shimazaki’s novels, and Shinoda’s cousin is one of Japan’s leading abstract calligraphers. As a child, Shinoda was studious, applying himself to mathematics and physics; but by the end of World War II, he experienced the same sort of bitter disillusionment as many of his generation. Shinoda came to view the cold rationality of science as instrumental in Japan’s ability to wage the war. Later, Shinoda entered Waseda University and was one of only three students enrolled in its theatre history program. There he studied under some of the most renowned experts in such traditional Japanese forms of drama as Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku (puppet theatre). As he continued to study, he felt a passionate need to understand what quirk in the Japanese character lead to the disaster of the Second World War. – (allmovie.com)


  1. One-Way Ticket for Love (恋の片道切符) (1960)
  2. Kawaita mizuumi (乾いた湖) (Dry Lake) (1960)
  3. My Face Red in the Sunset (a.k.a. Killers on Parade) (夕陽に赤い俺の顔) (1961)
  4. わが恋の旅路 (The Path of Young Love(??)) (1961)
  5. Shamisen and Motorcycle (三味線とオートバイ) (1961)
  6. Our Marriage (私たちの結婚) (1961)
  7. Epitaph to My Love (山の讃歌 燃ゆる若者たち) (1961)
  8. Tears on the Lion’s Mane (涙を、獅子のたて髪に) (1962)
  9. Glory on the Summit (1962)
  10. Kawaita hana (乾いた花) (Withered Flower, a.k.a. Pale Flower) (1964)
  11. Ansatsu (暗殺) (Assassination) (1964)
  12. With Beauty and Sorrow (美しさと哀しみと) (1965)
  13. Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke (異聞猿飛佐助) (The Strange Story of Sarutobi Sasuke, a.k.a. Samurai Spy) (1965)
  14. Captive’s Island (処刑の島) (1966)
  15. Clouds at Sunset (あかね雲) (1967)
  16. Shinjū ten no Amijima (心中天網島) (Amijima Effaced to Heaven by Lovers’ Suicide, a.k.a. Double Suicide) (1969)
  17. Outlaws (無頼漢) (1970)
  18. The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan (1970)
  19. Chinmoku / Silence (沈黙 / Silence) (1971)
  20. Sapporo Winter Olympics (札幌オリンピック) (1972)
  21. The Petrified Forest (化石の森) (1973)
  22. Himiko (卑弥呼) (1974)
  23. Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (桜の森の満開の下) (1975)
  24. Ballad of Orin (はなれ瞽女おりん) (1977)
  25. Demon Pond (夜叉ケ池) (1979)
  26. Akuryo Island (悪霊島) (1981)
  27. MacArthur’s Children (瀬戸内少年野球団) (1984)
  28. ALLUSION~ 転生譚 (1985)
  29. Gonza the Spearman (近松門左衛門 鑓の権三) (1986)
  30. The Dancer (舞姫) (1989)
  31. Childhood Days (少年時代) (1990)
  32. Sharaku (写楽 Sharaku) (1995)
  33. Setouchi Moonlight Serenade (1997)
  34. Owls’ Castle (1999)
  35. Spy Sorge (2003)

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Assassination (Shinoda, 1964)

Extended (central) sequence from Masahiro Shinoda’s 1964 film about the first politically motivated assassination in Japanese history. A post world war 2 film with underlying themes of upheavel within a social order and the breakup of ideals. Music score by Toru Takemitsu.

Himiko (1974)

Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees,1975

Part ghost-story in the tradition of Kwaidan and part bizarre love-story about a woman ensnaring a less than righteous man in a mode reminiscent of Ugetsu, this film manages to be exquisitely cruel and at the same time strangely alluring, which is not something one normally sees in a thinly veiled sociopolitical commentary. Like Mizoguchi, Shinoda is often interested in the role of women in Japanese society and the place they are supposed to occupy under traditional masculine mores.

Beauty and Sadness (Japanese: 美しさと哀しみと Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) is a 1964 novel by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata.
Opening on the train to Kyoto, the narrative, in characteristic Kawabata fashion, subtly brings up issues of tradition and modernity as it explores writer Oki Toshio’s reunion with a young lover from his past, Otoko Ueno, who is now a famous artist and recluse. Ueno is now living with her protegée and jealous lover, Keiko Sakami, and the unfolding relationships between Oki, Otoko, and Keiko form the plot of the novel. Keiko states several times that she will avenge Otoko for Oki’s abandonment, and the story coalesces into a climactic ending.

Film adaptation

The novel was made into films by Masahiro Shinoda (Utsukushisa to kanashimi to, released 1965) and by Joy Fleury, starring Charlotte Rampling(Tristesse et beauté, released 1985).




“If we abandon the gods, what must take their place in order to support the center of the culture?… It is difficult to decide what will take the place of the gods. I have never believed that culture is something one can ‘make.’”
“I must categorize the films of the world into three distinct types. European films are based upon human psychology, American films upon action and the struggles of human beings, and Japanese films upon circumstance. Japanese films are interested in what surrounds the human being. This is their basic subject.” — Shinoda Masahiro


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