by Chris MaGee
Sachi Hamano is a name that should be better known in the West. The 62-year-old filmmaker (above left) has been the most prolific female director in Japanese cinema for nearly 40 years. Working in the pinku eiga genre Hamano has an astounding 300-plus films to her credit (many under the banner of her own production company Tantansha), but her work in recent years has gone well beyond these softcore erotic movies. While her 2001 film "The Lily Festival" did explore themes of female sexuality it was also a humorous and heartwarming look at a group of seniors living in a retirement complex. Now Tokyograph is reporting on a new film directed by Hamano, a historical drama based around two of 20th-century Japan's most influential women.
Hamano has recently finished principal photography on her film "Yuriko, Dasvidaniya". The film is based on the lives of novelist and feminist activist Yuriko Miyamoto (above right) and her friend and colleague Russian literary scholar Yoshiko Yuasa. Both women were key figures in the women's suffrage and feminist movement during the late 1920's and into the 1930's. Both women traveled to Russia to study literature and Communist ideology, a move that would ultimately lead to repression and repeated arrests in Japan under the militaristic Hirohito-led government. It was also suggested that despite the fact that both women were married that they had been romantically linked.
Singer Hitomi Toi is making her acting debut in "Yuriko, Dasvidaniya" as Yuriko Miyamoto opposite actress Nahana as Yoshiko Yuasa. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Ren Osugi and Kazuko Yoshiyuki. No specific release date has been announced for the film yet as Hamano is currently soliciting funds from investors to complete post-production work. Let's hope that money comes through soon as this sounds like a fascinating project.