Natsuko’s Adventure in Hokkaido

Japan|1953|Colour|95 min (Incomplete)|DCP|Japanese|Eng subtitles
The film was telecined in HD from the surviving negatives and soundtracks, before being encoded into DCP in 2016.
15.02.2020 (Sat) 17:15 BC

Screening with The Thousand-Stitch Belt

Dir: Noboru Nakamura
Scr: Hisashi Yamauchi
Cinematographer: Toshio Ubukata
Cast: Rieko Sumi, Masao Wakahara

After World War II, Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. developed and launched colour film stocks, with which the first Japanese natural colour features Carmen Comes Home (1951) and Natsuko’s Adventure in Hokkaido were produced by Shochiku; the latter has seldom been presented as its existing print is an incomplete one. Adapted from an early serial fiction by Yukio Mishima, it is a melodrama with women as subjects—a genre Nakamura was best at, with excellent representation of Mishima’s persevering characters. Born to a prestigious family, Natsuko is not impressed by any one of her suitors. Determined to spend her life serving god, she sets off to a convent in Hakodate, Hokkaido and meets along the way a young bear-hunter with whom she begins an adventure. A few scenes are missing in this print, one of which near the end is without a soundtrack; lines in the original script are inserted in these scenes to make up for these defects, which do not discount the film’s status as a valuable film capturing Hakodate in its glorious and vibrant colours.

Noboru Nakamura (1913-1981)
Born in Tokyo, Nakamura majored in English literature at Tokyo Imperial University. He began working as an assistant director for Shochiku Studios in 1936 under directors such as Yasujiro Ozu. Contemporary of Keisuke Kinoshita, he directed 82 films during his career and was known for female-centric narratives.