Into the Picture Scroll—The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa(“Yamanaka Tokiwa: Ushiwakamaru to Tokiwagozen haha to ko no monogatari”)
2004 / Japanese / Color / 35mm (1:1.37) / 100 min
Director, Editing: Haneda Sumiko
Photography: Wakabayashi Hiromitsu, Soda Kikumatsu
Sound: Takizawa Osamu
Music: Tsuruzawa Seiji
Narrator: Kita Michie
Cast: Kataoka Kyoko
Producer: Kudo Mitsuru
Production Company, World Sales: Jiyu Kobo
The film revolves around the picture scroll “Yamanaka Tokiwa,” which is said to be the work of the painter Iwasa Matabei, who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries. The theme of the picture scroll is the tale of Ushiwaka-maru and his mother, Lady Tokiwa, which was a popular joruri puppet theater drama in early modern times. By introducing Matabei’s background, light is shed on his state of mind as he painted the picture scroll. The rhythm of the joruri musical accompaniment and the editing is exquisite.
[Director’s Statement] It was more than thirty years ago, during the production of a film called Genre Pictures in the Late 16th Century, when I first thought of making a film about a picture scroll. The lens of a camera seems to animate the images on a scroll, bringing them to life. Fascinated by the filming of still images, I began to wonder how interesting it would be if I could turn a picture scroll into a film. This film is at long last the realization of that dream.
Born 1926 in Dalian, China, Haneda Sumiko graduated from Jiyu Gakuen, and joined Iwanami Productions at its founding. She has been involved in over eighty documentaries, starting with Women’s College in the Village (1957). After The Cherry Tree with Gray Blossoms (1977) she took to independent filmmaking, and has made over ten films including Ode to Mt. Hayachine (1982), How to Care for the Senile (1986), Getting Old without Anxiety (1990) and Woman Was the Sun—The Life of Hiratsuka Raicho (2001). She participated as a juror in the International Competition in YIDFF ’99.