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Tatsu is a slightly delusional painter who lives in the wilderness. He spends his days painting nothing but the image of his love, a princess he believes to have been incarnated as a dragon. His work is noticed by a servant of Kano Indara, an aging master painter who has no male heir or disciple to pass his skills to. The servant brings Tatsu to Indara under the belief that Indara can help him find his princess in exchange for allowing Indara to pass his knowledge on to him. Once there, Tatsu is led to believe that Indara's daughter, Ume Ko, is the princess. Tatsu agrees to stay, but now that he has found his love he no longer has the inspiration to paint the masterpieces that he once produced. Ume Ko pretends to kill herself so that Tatsu can once again find inspiration through his sorrow, and once he regains this she reveals herself to him. He has learned that "love must be a slave to art", and they live out the rest of their days together, with Tatsu painting her as he once did. Written by
A mentally disturbed artist (Sessue Hayakawa), from the mountains of Japan, is convinced that his fiancee, a beautiful princess, has been captured and turned into a dragon. His obsession with his fictitious loss, leads to his artistic inspiration.
It isn't until a young surveyor, (Toyo Fujita) comes across some of Tatsu's artwork, that his genius is discovered. The surveyor then informs the famous artist, Kano Indara about his discovery, who immediately agrees to meet Tatsu.
Indara, his daughter Ume-Ko, and Undobuchida soon realise that they cannot persuade Tetsu to come down from the mountains to further his talent as an artist, without a ploy.
Ume-Ko consequently dresses up as a Princess, and the promise of Tatsu being re-united with his long lost love, lures him into Kano Indara's house. Of course, the family realises that Tatsu has a lot of uncivilized and crazy habits which he needs to get rid of, if he is going to fit into civilized Japanese society.
Overall, the movie is a very sweet and interesting piece. There is great use of color-tinting throughout the film, which perfectly reflects the mood and theme. Hayakawa does an awesome job at playing a madman- a good combination of dramatic and comical acting.
Although it is not the best silent movie I've ever seen, it is definitely worth watching. It's a lovely little fairy tale which puts a smile on your face!
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