Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo

  • 92'
  • Japan
  • 1935

Kyōto was always the capital of Japanese heritage filmmaking. In the 1930s, a group of directors redefined this cinema along humanist-progressive lines – a set of ideas and aesthetics valid to this day. The most venerated figure among them is Yamanaka Sadao, who like no other auteur of his time knew how to fuse melodrama and irony, action and reflection.

Of his surviving films, Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo is the most humorous, thanks to an especially relaxed, wise and world-weary interpretation of the one-armed, one-eyed masterless samurai, Tange Sazen, an icon of Japanese popular fiction. Here, he gets dragged into the struggle for a pot, inside which a treasure map is hidden. Many bet their life on it, only to find themselves richer – in shattered illusions.

Previously unknown scenes from this masterpiece were recently discovered in Kyōto’s Toy Film Museum, enabling the restoration of the most complete version of the film.

Director
Yamanaka Sadao
Country of production
Japan
Year
1935
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
92'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryo no tsubo
Language
Japanese
Production Company
Nikkatsu Corporation
Sales
Nikkatsu Corporation
Screenplay
Mimura Shintarô
Cinematography
Yasumoto Jun
Music
Nishi Gorô
Cast
Ôkôchi Denjirô, Kiyozo, Sawamura Kunitarô, Yamamoto Reizaburô, Takase Minoru, Kiyokawa Sôji, Hanai Ranko