Japan 2021

Humanity and Paper Balloons

Ninjô kami fûsen

Sadao Yamanaka’s swansong is an enduring testament to the naturalism and humanity of his work.

Image from Humanity and Paper Balloons

© 1937 Toho Co Ltd. All rights reserved

Japan 1937
Dir Sadao Yamanaka
With Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Kanemon Nakamura, Shizue Yamagishi
86min
35mm
English subtitles
Certificate PG

Sadao Yamanaka established himself as a master of jidaigeki (period dramas) before his prodigious career was cut tragically short: conscripted into the army, he died in China aged 28. Set among the downtrodden in claustrophobic Tokugawa-era Edo (today’s Tokyo), this film concerns a ronin (masterless samurai) who gets caught up in a risky kidnapping plot. Yamanaka’s masterly swansong is an enduring testament to the naturalism and humanity of his work.