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Produced by Matsuda Film Productions in 1980
Ranked in 5th Place for Nontheatrical Films Selected by Japan Film Pen Club for FY1988

Bantsuma: Bando Tsumasaburo no Shogai (Bantsuma: The Life of Tsumasaburo Bando)


Producer/Director Matsuda Shunsui
Planning/Interviewer Sato Tadao
Cinematography Takasaka Hiroshi
  Ike Masayuki
  Sakamoto Iichiro
Film Editing Ebara Yoshio
Music Ensemble Omoide
Music Selection Madono Yukio
Provision of Films: Shochiku Co., Ltd.
  Daiei Motion Picture Co., Ltd.
  Nikkatsu Corporation
  Matsuda Film Library
Provision of Reference Materials: Adachi Kenichi
  Ota Toshiho
  Yoshida Chieo
  Friends of Silent Film Association
  Japan Film Library Council

Tamura Takahiro
Ito Daisuke
Mori Shizuko
Inagaki Hiroshi
Tamaki Utako
Kuze Ryu

Matsuda Shunsui
Sawato Midori


Commentary: The Great Kanto Earthquake hit on 1 September 1923. After the great damage caused by this disaster, Japanese old traditional culture gave way to new trends. The era of popular culture began, such as novels on swordfights gained popularity. In the film industry, Bando Tsumasaburo became an actor representing the new style of jidaigeki (period film), replacing Onoe Matsunosuke's time which is referred to as kyugeki, the old style of jidaigeki.

Bando Tsumasaburo, birth name Tamura Denkichi, was born on 13 December 1901. Jisshi Elementary School in Nihombashi he attended happened to stand next to the former site of Denma-cho Prison where a lot of the loyal supporters of the Emperor, which he frequently played in his films, were deeply involved with.

After graduating from elementary school, Bantsuma became an apprentice and studied under a kabuki actor Kataoka Nizaemon, starting his career as an actor, but moved to small theaters in Asakusa in no time. He found his own troupe but failed and joined Makino Tojiin Studio in Kyoto. He builds a glorious career there. In this film introduced are works by Bantsuma in his earlier years, as well as statements by poet Adachi Kenichi and the former president of Iwate Broadcast Co., Ltd. Ota Toshiho, depicting how much Bantsuma thrilled the young boy and girl fans at the time.

In 1925, Bantsuma established his own agency. Together with excerpts from the works produced by his agency, this film includes interviews with actresses Mori Shizuko and Tamaki Utako, who co-starred with Bantsuma at the time, uncovering "Bantsuma as a person" as they knew him. It also includes comments together with actual demonstrations by the renowned swordplay coach Kuze Ryu, who served as a stand-in for Bantsuma, on how swordfight scenes had evolved with Bantsuma.

In 1931, Bantsuma continued producing films at a studio he built in Yatsu, Chiba Prefecture. However, this was his low period in his career. Then in 1937, Bantsuma moved to Nikkatsu.

The following year, Bantsuma co-starred with Kataoka Chiezo in Nikkatsu's all-star film Chushingura. The sequence of Oishi Kuranosuke, the role Bantsuma played, traveling to Azuma has been included in this film at some length. Director Inagaki Hiroshi's films introduced following the sequence from Chushingura depicts how Bantsuma perfected his acting skills, and shows highlight scenes from Muhomatsu no Issho (The Life of Matsu the Untamed), where Bantsuma presented a reserved character with great depth. After the Second World War, Bantsuma reached one of his heights in Oushou. Director Ito Daisuke shares with us the real significance about Bantsuma's performance in this film.

This film includes a valuable private film recorded by Bantsuma's first son Takahiro, which shows the private life of Bantsuma in his later years. Tamura Takahiro shares that Bantsuma was a family man, and that Katsu Kokichi that Bantsuma played in his posthumous work Abare-jishi best resembled his true nature.

On 7 July 1953, Bantsuma died of cerebral hemorrhage while filming Abare-jishi. A beautiful grave has been build for him in Nisonin, Kyoto where Bantsuma rests in peace.

In addition to this film being a biography of Bantsuma's life, it is also a collection of highlight scenes from his films. However, this film could also be said to present an aspect of how Japanese cinema history developed from the end of Taisho period to the post-war period. By following Bantsuma's footsteps, we learn that it overlaps with the path of growth Japanese cinema has taken. The agony Bantsuma suffered was directly the agony Japan experienced as it put itself in the middle of the hideous war. This film allows viewers to have a glimpse of the history and values of a country by learning about one of its greatest film stars.

Includes excerpts from the following films:

Goketsu Jiraiya (The Gallant Jiraiya)
(1921, Director: Makino Shozo, Starring: Onoe Matsunosuke)

Tsukigata Hanpeita (Hanpeita, Master Swordsman)
(1925, Director: Kinugasa Teinosuke, Starring: Sawada Shojiro)

Kimura Nagatonokami
(1928, Director: Ishiyama Minoru, Starring: Ichikawa Momonosuke)

Kageboshi (A Shadowy Character)
(1925, Director: Futagawa Buntaro, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

Kosuzume Toge
(1923, Director: Numata Koroku, Starring: Ichikawa Hataya)

Gyakuryu (Backward Current)
(1924, Director: Buntaro Futagawa, Starring: Tsumasaburo Bando)

Orochi (Serpent)
(1925, Director: Buntaro Futagawa, Starring: Tsumasaburo Bando)

Ranto no Chimata (Street Brawl)
(1926, Director: Yasuda Kempo, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

Sakamoto Ryoma
(1928, Director: Edamasa Yoshiro, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

Shinpan Ooka Seidan (New Story of Ooka the Statesman)
(1928, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Okochi Denjiro)

Kurama Tengu
(1928, Director: Yamaguchi Teppei, Starring: Arashi Kanjuro)

Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko (The Idle Vassal)
(1930, Director: Furumi Takuji, Starring: Ichikawa Utaemon)

Kyokaku Harusame-gasa
(1933, Director: Fuyushima Taizo, Starring: Hayashi Chojiro)

Kokushi Muso
(1932, Director: Itami Mansaku, Starring: Kataoka Chiezo)

Niino Tsuruchiyo
(1935, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

(1938, Director: Makino Masahiro, Ikeda Tomiyasu, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

Muhomatsu no Issho (The Life of Matsu the Untamed)
(1943, Director: Inagaki Hiroshi, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

(1948, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

(1953, Director: Osone Tatsuo, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)

Jigoku no Mushi (Hell Worms)
(1979, Director: Yamada Tatsuo, Starring: Tamura Takahiro)

Officially invited to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, the London International Film Festival, and the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films.



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