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SHINDO Kaneto (1912-2012)


©Kindai Eiga Kyokai Co., Ltd.
©Kindai Eiga Kyokai Co., Ltd.
Shindo joined Shinko Kinema in 1934, where he initially worked in the art section while also teaching himself the art of scriptwriting. He made his debut as a screenwriter in 1940 with Nanshin josei ("Southern Expansion Women"), before later receiving recognition for his work on The Ball at the Anjo House (Anjo-ke no butokai, 1947), a film made while he was at Shochiku. Seeking greater creative freedom, he left Shochiku in 1950 together with close friend and director YOSHIMURA Kozaburo, with whom he established the Kindai Eiga Kyokai ("Modern Film Association"), later becoming a central figure in Japan's independent production movement. Even after debuting as a director with the autobiographical work Story of a Beloved Wife (Aisai monogatari, 1951), he simultaneously remained a prolific screenwriter, producing screenplays for works including SUZUKI Seijun's The Born Fighter (Kenka erejii, 1966), KAWASHIMA Yuzo's Elegant Beast (Shitoyakana kedamono, 1962), and MASUMURA Yasuzo's The Wife of Seisaku (Seisaku no tsuma, 1965) – a creative energy he managed to sustain all the way through to his very last work, A Postcard (Ichimai no hagaki), released in 2011. Heavily influenced by the modern realist drama of playwrights like Ibsen and Chekhov, he frequently tackled themes related to social and individual hardship. His independent works centered on issues he would have struggled to include while working for a major studio, as in Children of Hiroshima (Genbaku no ko, 1952), set in Shindo's birthplace, and Lost Sex (Honno, 1966), which deal with post-atomic fallout and human sexuality respectively.

(Written by HOSHI Ryotaro / Translated by Adam Sutherland)

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