|Directed by||Seijun Suzuki|
|Produced by||Genjiro Arato|
|Written by||Yōzō Tanaka|
Hyakken Uchida (novel)
|Starring|| Yoshio Harada |
|Music by||Kaname Kawachi|
|Edited by||Nobutake Kamiya|
|Distributed by||Cinema Placet|
Zigeunerweisen (Japanese: ツィゴイネルワイゼン, Hepburn: Tsigoineruwaizen, from the German "Gypsy Airs") is a 1980 independent Japanese film directed by Seijun Suzuki and based on Hyakken Uchida's novel, Disk of Sarasate. It takes its title from a gramophone recording of Pablo de Sarasate's violin composition, Zigeunerweisen , which features prominently in the story. The film makes the first part of Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy, followed by Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991), surrealistic psychological dramas and ghost stories linked by style, themes and the Taishō period (1912-1926) setting. All three were produced by Genjiro Arato.
When exhibitors declined to screen the film, Arato screened it himself in an inflatable, mobile tent to great success. It won Honourable Mention at the 31st Berlin International Film Festival, was nominated for nine Japanese Academy Awards and won four, including best director and best film, and was voted the number one Japanese film of the 1980s by Japanese critics.
Vacationing in a small seaside village, Aochi, a professor of German, runs into Nakasago, a former colleague turned nomad. Nakasago is being pursued by an angry mob for allegedly seducing and killing a fisherman's wife. Police intervene and Aochi vouches for his friend, preventing his arrest. The two catch up over dinner where they are entertained by and become smitten with the mourning geisha Koine. Six months later, Aochi visits his friend and is shocked to find that he has settled down and is having a child with Sono, a woman who bears a remarkable resemblance to Koine. Nakasago plays him a recording of Zigeunerweisen and they discuss inaudible mumbling on the record. Nakasago suddenly takes to the road again with Koine, leaving Sono to birth their child alone. Both men enter affairs with the other's wife. Sono later dies of the flu and is replaced by Koine as a surrogate mother. Nakasago takes to the road yet again. Aochi learns of Nakasago's death in a landslide. Koine visits Aochi and requests the return of the Zigeunerweisen record but he is sure he never borrowed it.
Director Seijun Suzuki was ostensibly terminated from his contract with Nikkatsu Studios in 1968 for making "movies that make no sense and no money" and subsequently blacklisted.In the proceeding years he met frequently with his crew at his home in developing ideas for new projects. This resulted in Zigeunerweisen and Kagero-za —the first two films in what would become Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy. Suzuki felt that action films were falling out of favour and wanted to create a new type of film. Writer Yōzō Tanaka lived close by and visited Suzuki regularly where they infrequently discussed the film during games of Go. The story was based on Hyakken Uchida's novel, Disk of Sarasate. It was felt to be too short and was expanded from their conversations. For example, when Tanaka's uncle died during that time, he noticed that his cremated bones were pink. This was incorporated into the screenplay.
Suzuki's de facto blacklisting ended with the release of his critically and commercially unsuccessful 1977 film A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness . The money to finance Zigeunerweisen only became available in 1979 when Suzuki met then–theatre producer Genjiro Arato.Thus it became their first fully independently produced film. It was shot on location in Japan.
Zigeunerweisen is a departure from director Suzuki Seijun's Nikkatsu films in many ways. It was shot entirely on location without access to studio resources; it runs 144 minutes, in contrast to the former's 90-minute maximum; and its intellectual characters and period setting and subject matter invited a more literary audience as opposed to the younger genre fans that formed Suzuki's cult following.On the other hand, freed of studio constraints, Suzuki was able to carry his style even further in the direction his genre work had taken and abandon traditional narrative entirely in favour of random occurrences and incongruous and misleading associations. He presents, comments on and challenges the conceptions of the Taishō era, specifically the wide introduction and assimilation of Western culture into Japan and its effect on the Japanese identity.
Producer Genjiro Arato was unable to procure exhibitors for Zigeunerweisen and exhibited the film himself with his company Cinema Placet in a specially-built, inflatable, mobile tent. 000 seats, where 10 000 was generally considered a success for an independent film. Critics named Zigeunerweisen the "must-see" film of 1980, it garnered four Japanese Academy Awards and reignited Suzuki's career. Little More Co. re-released the full Taishō Roman Trilogy theatrically on April 28, 2001, in the Deep Seijun retrospective. In conjunction they released the trilogy on DVD (without English subtitles), marking its debut on home video.The film was initially screened beside the Tokyo Dome on April 1, 1980. The film was an immediate success and was quickly picked up for a wide release. In its 22-week run it sold 56
The film was not distributed internationally but did appear in film festivals and retrospectives. It was screened in competition at the 31st Berlin International Film Festival and appeared in the first British retrospective of Suzuki's films at the 1988 Edinburgh International Film Festival.In North American, Kino International released a DVD edition of the film on March 7, 2006. It features a 25-minute interview with Suzuki discussing the making of the Taishō Roman Trilogy, a biography and filmography of the same, the theatrical trailer and a gallery of promotional material and photographs. The DVD is also available in a box set encompassing the trilogy.
Zigeunerweisen received nine nominations at the 1981 Japanese Academy Awards and won in four categories, Best Film, Suzuki won for Best Director, Takeo Kimura for Best Art Director and Michiyo Okusu for Best Supporting Actress. Also nominated were Naoko Otani for Best Actress, Toshiya Fujita for Best Supporting Actor, Yōzō Tanaka for Best Screenplay, Kazue Nagatsuka for Best Cinematography and Mitsuo Onishi for Best Lighting.
At the Kinema Junpo Awards, it duplicated the same four wins plus a fifth Best Actress award for Naoko Otani. At the Yokohama Film Festival it won Best Film, Director and Cinematographer. Further prizes include the Blue Ribbon Awards (Best Director), Hochi Film Awards (Special Award) and the Mainichi Film Concurs (Best Screenplay and Best Cinematographer).The film was also voted the best Japanese film of the 1980s by Japanese film critics.
On the international front, the film won Honourable Mention at the 31st Berlin International Film Festival in 1981.
Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués was a Spanish violin virtuoso, composer and conductor of the Romantic period. Gypsy Airs is one of his most popular compositions and a favorite among violin virtuosos.
Seijun Suzuki, born Seitaro Suzuki, was a Japanese filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter. His films are known for their jarring visual style, irreverent humour, nihilistic cool and entertainment-over-logic sensibility. He made 40 predominately B-movies for the Nikkatsu Company between 1956 and 1967, working most prolifically in the yakuza genre. His increasingly surreal style began to draw the ire of the studio in 1963 and culminated in his ultimate dismissal for what is now regarded as his magnum opus, Branded to Kill (1967), starring notable collaborator Joe Shishido. Suzuki successfully sued the studio for wrongful dismissal, but he was blacklisted for 10 years after that. As an independent filmmaker, he won critical acclaim and a Japanese Academy Award for his Taishō Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).
Masami Nagasawa is a Japanese actress and model. She won several awards, including a Japan Academy Prize, a Mainichi Film Award and a Blue Ribbon Award.
Michiyo Okusu is a Chinese-born Japanese actress. She has been nominated for four Japanese Academy Awards, and won the 1981 Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role prize for her performance in Zigeunerweisen. She began her career as a film ingenue using the stage name Michiyo Yasuda, under which she scored major early successes with films such as A Fool's Love and numerous love stories and "samurai" period piece dramas.
Yoshio Harada was a Japanese actor best known for playing rebels in a career that spanned six decades.
Kagerō-za is a 1981 independent Japanese film directed by Seijun Suzuki and based on a novel by Kyōka Izumi. It forms the middle section of Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy, preceded by Zigeunerweisen (1980) and followed by Yumeji (1991), surrealistic psychological dramas and ghost stories linked by style, themes and the Taishō period (1912–1926) setting. All were produced by Genjirō Arato.
Yumeji is a 1991 independent Japanese film directed by Seijun Suzuki. It is a semi-fictional account of poet and painter Takehisa Yumeji. It also forms the final part of Suzuki's Taishō Roman Trilogy, preceded by Zigeunerweisen (1980) and Kagero-za (1981), surrealistic psychological dramas and ghost stories linked by style, themes and the Taishō period (1912-1926) setting. All three were produced by Genjiro Arato.
Koichi Sato is a Japanese actor. He is the son of veteran Japanese actor Rentarō Mikuni.
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20, is a musical composition for violin and orchestra written in 1878 by the Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate. It was premiered the same year in Leipzig, Germany. It is based on themes of the Roma people, and in the last section the rhythms of the csárdás; this section uses a theme previously used in Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13, composed in 1847.
Genjirō Arato was a Japanese film producer, actor and director.
Takeo Kimura was a Japanese art director, writer and film director. Beginning his career in 1945 he art-directed well over 200 films. He was one of Japan's best known art directors, most famously for his collaborations with cult director Seijun Suzuki through the 1960s at the Nikkatsu Company, exemplified by Tokyo Drifter (1966). Other directors with whom he frequently worked include Toshio Masuda, Kazuo Kuroki, Kei Kumai and Kaizo Hayashi. At age 90 he made his feature film directorial debut with Dreaming Awake (2008). He had also worked as a critic, writer, painter, photographer and teacher.
The following is the filmography of Takeo Kimura, the Japanese art director, writer, and film director who has art-directed more than 200 films over a span of more than six decades and ranks among Japan's best-known art directors. His training began with the Nikkatsu Company in 1941, whose production division was merged into Daiei during the wartime industry reorganization, where he was promoted to art director in 1945. His debut film as such was Umi no yobu koe (1945). Nikkatsu re-opened its production studio in 1954 and Kimura moved there. He worked with several directors, including top action director Toshio Masuda on films such as Red Quay (1958) with top star Yujiro Ishihara and Gangster VIP (1968) starring Tetsuya Watari. However, his longest and most famous collaboration has been with director Seijun Suzuki, which began with The Bastard (1963). Together they developed a bold, expressive style exemplified in Gate of Flesh (1964) and Tokyo Drifter (1966). Suzuki often rewrote his scripts with Kimura, who was given his first screenwriting credit on The Flower and the Angry Waves (1964). Kimura was also a part of Guryū Hachirō, the pen name of the writing group that formed around Suzuki in the mid-1960s and wrote Branded to Kill (1967).
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