FILMS / FOCUS /
 
RETROSPECTIVE - ICHIKAWA KON


ICHIKAWA Kon was born in Mie Prefecture, Japan in November 20, 1915. Having grown up loving Disney animated films, he began his career in animation in 1933, which eventually led him to Toho Studio. After the Second World War, Ichikawa was involved in the famous Toho union strike. In the midst of the strike, he met MOGI Yumiko, who was then working for Toho as an interpreter. Together with Yumiko and a group of employees, Ichikawa left Toho to join the newly formed Shin Toho studio in 1947. In 1948, Ichikawa made his debut feature film Machiko Yori: Hana Hiraku based on a novel introduced to him by Yumiko. After the release of this film, Ichikawa and Yumiko got married. In his Shin Toho era, Ichikawa and Yumiko wrote scripts for Ichikawa’s films under a shared pen name - Wada Natto. In 1951, for the film Koibito, Ichikawa handed over the pen name completely to his wife, making Yumiko an independent screenwriter. For the next 14 years, she would go on to write screenplays for many of Ichikawa’s most famous films, ending with the controversial and critically acclaimed Tokyo Olympiad.

In Toho Studio from 1951 to 1955, Ichikawa showed remarkable work as a director of speedy and sophisticated comedies. His brief tenure at Nikkatsu Studio from 1955 to 1956, saw him making human dramas like Kokoro and the renowned The Harp of Burma. Subsequently, from 1956 to 1964, Ichikawa moved to Daiei Studio, and this period became one of the golden ages of Ichikawa Kon, where he made Punishment Room, Nihonbashi, Crammed Streetcar, The Conflagration, Bonchi and Hakai, Odd Obsession, Nobi, Ototo, Ten Black Women, I Am Two, An Actor’s Revenge, and Alone Across the Pacific.

Following the controversy surrounding Tokyo Olympiad in 1965, the subsequent years saw Ichikawa reducing his filmic output. In 1973, Ichikawa made The Wanderers with the independent Art Theatre Guild (ATG), and in 1983, Ichikawa made one of his most important work late in his career -The Makioka Sisters. During its shooting, Wada Natto passed away after a long 18 year battle with breast cancer. The restaurant scene towards the end of The Makioka Sisters was written by Wada.

Ichikawa Kon was called “the master of great versatility”. He did not stick to a certain genre and continued to make films of various types from satirical comedy, urban comedy, mystery, drama, documentary to the adaptation of literary works. Ichikawa kept working as a film director until he passed away in February 2008 at the age of 92 years.


* The festival has in the past screened Ichikawa Kon's Ototo, Conflagration, I Am Cat, The Phoenix, The Makioka Sisters, Actress, and Harp of Burma.

ALONE ACROSS THE PACIFIC
AN ACTOR'S REVENGE
BONCHI
CRAMMED STREETCAR
HAKAI
HARP OF BURMA
I AM TWO
KOKORO
NIHONBASHI
NOBI
ODD OBSESSION
PUNISHMENT ROOM
 
TEN DARK WOMEN
THE WANDERERS
THE MAKIOKA SISTERS
 
CURRENTS
This year's CURRENTS selection showcases the films making waves internationally.
LEAVING ON THE 15TH SPRING
HOMELAND
HOMESICK
MARUYAMA, THE MIDDLE SCHOOLER
SURVIVE STYLE 5+
THE TALE OF IYA
THE MOLE SONG
 
concept and strategy by microtribe
Japanese Film Festival Singapore 2014 | シンガポール日本映画祭 2014 | June 26 to July 12 | National Museum of Singapore