Hometown (Fujiwara Yoshie no Furusato)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1930, 75 mins. 35mm print from the Japan Foundation. With Yoshie Fujiwara, Fujiko Hamaguchi, Shizue Natsukawa. Mizoguchi’s first sound film—and one of the first sound films made in Japan—was a vehicle for popular tenor Yoshie Fujiwara. Returning to his home in northern Japan from opera training in Italy, a young singer with aspirations towards fame is torn between two women. Taken up by a rich female patron, he jilts his loyal, low-born wife. This innovative part-talkie has been called the Japanese Jazz Singer, Hometown finds the director taking to new technology like a fish to water, already experimenting with the fluid, highly involved sequence shots that would be his hallmark.