Kinuyo Tanaka

Kinuyo Tanaka – Koibumi AKA Love Letter (1953)


This is a rare chance to see a film by Kinuyo Tanaka as director. Tanaka was an actress known through her starring roles in many, many Japanese films in the pre-war and post-war golden ages – films like Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu (1952) – through to her tremendous and award winning performance in Kei Kumai’s Sandakan 8 (1974). Although not the first woman to direct a film in Japan Tanaka was able to produce a handful of films in the 50s that are very competently made and much better and more interesting than many in their treatment of women in society. Although it was said that her relationship with Mizoguchi was the reason she was able or allowed to direct it is clear that she had talent that was all her own and that she was able to work with the cream of Japan’s studio talent (the script writer is Keisuke Kinoshita). Koibumi was her first film as director.
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