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Viewed was a seriously compromised print of Earth which was discovered in Germany in 1968. Poor quality, the print suffers from nitrate damage and includes hard encoded German subtitles. It is missing the first and last reel. The original film was 142 minutes long; this version runs 93 minutes.
A 119-minute version with first reel, subtitles in Russian, was discovered in Russia around the turn of this century not sure of its image quality, hope too see one day.
Uchida's best known prewar film was the winner of the 1940 Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film, Tsuchi is widely regarded a masterpiece of cinematic realism. the stunning film however transcends the boundaries of reality, a virtuosic stylist Uchida masterly composed a richly textured humanist drama of profound dimension.
Translated as Earth the film is an epic compelling portrait .Shot against austere landscapes it tells of the lives of peasant farmers in northern Japan's rugged and remote Tohoku region , and in particular the story closely follows the plight of one poor family. Interwoven are scenes of traditional cultural ritual, juxtaposed against the backdrop of heartbreaking hardship sublimely beautiful scenes capture life toiling the fields, workers planting and harvesting rice, a mesmerizing shot of tall grains in the wind no doubt inspired Shindo...
Uchida's detailed chronicle of peasant life was somewhat tempered than his original intention it nevertheless remains a graphic provoking portrait. The ambitious project was to be a film critique of capitalism, he wanted to show how the poor struggle to live, in order to demonstrate for progressive change. But censorship issues complicated production, any openly leftist analysis of the class system was out of the question at this time in Japan, and against the studios wishes the film was secretly completed on location using each weekend over the course of a year.
It is such a travesty that Tsuchi had been lost damaged and neglected , with its striking imagery in every frame, a pristine print would undoubtedly be hailed as a masterpiece of Classic World Cinema .
But what a thrill of discovery classic film can be , absorbed by the sheer beauty during one particular scene, I suddenly found myself overcome with emotion, tears of wondrous joy ran down my cheeks ...
Highly Recommended the films of Japanese Master, Tomu Uchida
his chosen stage name "Tomu" translates ... "To spit out dreams".
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