Japan 2021

Souls on the Road

Rojô no reikion

A pioneering silent influenced by Western cinema, from the modernising Shochiku studio.

Image from Souls on the Road

Japan 1921
Dir Minoru Murata
With Kaoru Osanai, Denmei Suzuki, Haruko Sawamura
112min
35mm
English subtitles
With live piano accompaniment

One of the very few Japanese films of its period to survive today, this is a pioneering example of Western-influenced cinema by a studio, Shochiku, committed to the modernisation of Japanese film. The story of the prodigal son from an aristocratic family is intercut with an account of a pair of ex-convicts in a technique purportedly inspired by DW Griffith’s Intolerance.

Print courtesy National Film Archive of Japan