Chikamatsu's "Love In Osaka" (1959)
Naniwa No Koi No Monogatari (a.k.a Chikamatsu's "Love in Osaka") - Directed by Tomu Uchida
We digress from the world of music for a moment to briefly introduce a fabulous film of the Shōwa period, director Tomu Uchida's production of Tokugawa-era master playwright Monzaemon Chikamatsu in Love in Osaka. Uchida's films are being shown during a series of screenings presented by the Pacific Film Archive, housed on the campus of UC Berkeley.
"The plays of Monzaemon Chikamatsu have frequently been adapted into films, most notably Mizoguchi's Crucified Lovers, but few with the experimental intensity of Uchida's version of the kabuki classic The Couriers of Love Fleeing to Yamato. The adopted son of an Osaka courier falls in love with a prostitute and, discovering that she is about to be purchased by a client, steals money from his employer to redeem her. The young lovers take flight to Yamato, but, as in Chikamatsu's other domestic tragedies of love and duty, they must be pursued and their passion destroyed by death. Favorite Uchida themes, such as the indenturing of a prostitute (see Yoshiwara and Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji), and his characteristic emphasis on performance and theatricality re-emerge here; but the daring device of having Chikamatsu himself appear as a character is just one of many surprises this remarkable film holds." (James Quandt)
Tomu Uchida: Japanese Genre Master runs until September 29th.