The Thousand-Stitch Belt

Japan|1937|Cinecolour|20 min (Incomplete)|Japanese|Eng subtitles
15.02.2020 (Sat) 17:15 BC

Screening with Natsuko’s Adventure in Hokkaido

Dir: Genjiro Saegusa
Scr: Chiaki Tsukuda
Cinematographer: Sukeshige Urushiyama
Cast:Fukui Matsunosuke, Shizuko Takizawa, Tachibana Hoshiko

The senninbari, or one thousand-stitch belt, is a sash worn by Japanese soldiers in World War II as a momento of the endless longings of the women of their families who made them. Filmed in the same year as the Second Sino-Japanese War, The Thousand-Stitch Belt is the oldest surviving Japanese coloured sound film, made using the American Cinecolor two-colour system by the production company Dainihon tennenshoku eiga seisakujo (Greater Japan Natural Color Productions), a pioneer of colour cinema and the first company to adopt the Multicolor process in Japan. An incomplete, 20-minute nitrate colour positive was discovered at Moscow’s Gosfilmofond archive. Staff from IMAGICA and IMAGICA West in Japan scanned the severely damaged print on site at Moscow, produced a 4K version and devised a new method of digital restoration by applying an innovative system of Look Up Tables that analysed photochemical simulations data to identify colour that cannot be expressed in a two-colour system and keep that range from being picked up in colour grading, so as to retrieve the colour of the film.

Genjiro Saegusa (1900-?)
Director and screenwriter Genjiro Saegusa was contemporary with Kenji Mizoguchi at Nikkatsu Studios. His rediscovered action film, Special Express: 300 Miles (1928), has been screened and well received across Europe over recent years.