|The Cricket Girl (English)|
|Introduction and Background:gThe Cricket Girlh|
|Directed by Sachi Hamano
Based on the writing of Midori Osaki
|One might suspect itfs a fiction that that the writer and woman Midori Osaki was
born over a hundred years ago in 1896 in Tottori Prefecture, a place far removed
from the capital city of Tokyo.
Isnft she in fact a contemporary writer, sitting back somewhere in Tottori with a knowing smile on her face, distantly watching the worldfs remarkable changes?
Osakifs writing is so fresh it provokes such thoughts.
Just as Kafka never gets tired, Osaki, too, never gets old.
This film is Sachi Hamanofs newest adaptation of Osakifs writing, after having created and directed the 1998 film, gIn Search of a Lost Writer: Wandering the World of the Seventh Senseh (gDainanakankai houkou?Osaki Midori o sagashiteh), which investigated the mysterious life and work of Midori Osaki, and gLily Festivalh (gYurisaih), a film that caused an international sensation in its portrayal of the sexuality of the elderly.
At a time when Osakifs name had remained relatively unknown, Hamanofs first work on the author attempted to destroy the myth about her unhappy late years, depicting the portrait of a female writer who lived resolutely through turbulent times.
This time, Hamano took on the ambitious task of adapting to the screen the essence of Osakifs literary world?something yet to be fully understood.
gThe Cricket Girlh (gKorogijyoh) is the title of a novella popular among Midori Osaki fans.
This novella, along with two others, gThe Walkh (gHokoh), and gA Night in Antonfs Basementh (gChikashitsu Anton no ichiyah) were written at the psychological and stylistic peak of Osakifs career.
The distinct world created by her novel gWandering the World of the Seventh Senseh leads to these three works?the very destination of Osakifs literature.
Though they are separate novellas, they all have common characters, and depict a strange and endearing picture of the divided nature of the human psyche.
The film gThe Cricket Girlh interprets these three works as one story sequence.
The beauty and preciousness of a strange and fantastic love?in Osakifs stories, infatuations are structured in such a way that there is neither a desire for a reaction from the object of love, nor a transformation of one-way love into something mutual.
In her writing, by considering the possibilities of a world that exists apart from reality, or by enlarging the notion of love (for example, going beyond relationships between men and women to include the those between humans, animals, plants, and minerals), Osaki retracts her authorfs eye out to the cosmos in order to look deeply into the human heart.
This is a tale that seems all the more relevant in an age that has given rise to stalkers and explosive violence, or to other social phenomena of contemporary Japan, such as hikikomori (people who feel compelled to shut themselves out from society), or NEET (a generation of citizens who are gNot in Education, Employment, or Trainingh).
And yet, Osaki tackled these contemporary themes completely alone.
She wrote gA Night in Antonfs Basementh in her thirties, even as she fought an addiction to migraine headache pills.
gAntonh was to be her last novella.
As director, Sachi Hamanofs quest was to take the world built upon Midori Osakifs alchemy of language?reputed as being difficult to grasp?and unleash it into the realm of film, thereby brilliantly reviving Osakifs surrealism and distinct humor in the depths of contemporary audiencesf hearts. In her own time, Osaki was so involved with film that she had been considered one of Japanfs first female film critics.
She had even hoped to adapt her own writing into films.
It was thus that Sachi Hamano embarked on a new adventure, of filming the entire movie on-location in Tottori Prefecture.
During filming, it was important to keep in mind that while Osaki was deeply influenced by the contemporary international arts that had been brought to Tottori, she also sought to incorporate into her work the scent of nostalgia she caught in the wind and air of her homeland.
In Tokyo, a throwback film taking place in the 1930s could only be shot in a studio.
But in Tottori, architecture that traces three distinct historical periods?Meiji (1906-1912), Taisho (1912-1926), and Showa (1926-1989)?remains a part of the space of everyday life.
These are buildings and spaces that breathed the same air as Osaki.
On-location filming took place for nearly three weeks in May 2006.
Filming began in Kurayoshi City of central Tottori, moved west to Yonago City, and then east to the town of Wakasa.
The fourth location, in the town of Iwami, was for Hamano a return after eight years.
Just as with the previous film, Osakifs birthplace, Iwai Hot Springs, became the designated home base for all filming in Tottori.
From there, the cast and crew made short trips to Tottori City and the nearby coast of Uradome.
Although this made for a gdrifting film troupeh that was unable to settle down anywhere for very long, having a hot springs at each location helped ease everyonefs fatigue.
Being able to take full advantage of using national heritage sites and heritage objects during filming could not have been done without the active support of Tottori Prefecture and its various towns and cities. Inevitably, there were various difficulties to face, but in each case people from both the government and the private sector volunteered to support the filmfs needs.
In this way, three eccentric tales of love spun by the lonely dreams of Midori Osaki were revived in one contemporary film.
It is as if Osaki is telling us: there is no need to fear loneliness, for the fantasy-like love existing in our hearts belongs to another world that is beautiful and abundant.
Now, Sachi Hamanofs quest moves forward, to screening this work both in Japan and abroad....
|The Story: Three Eccentric Tales of Love Spun
by the Lonely Dreams of Midori Osaki
|Machiko Ono lives in the country with her grandmother, when one day a psychology
researcher and a friend of her brotherfs, named Tohachi Koda, visits. He asks
Machiko to read aloud some lines from a play. Though at first hesitant, Machiko
eventually reads the romantic lines over several days, and after Tohachi leaves,
spends her days dreamily pining for his memory.
This first example of love portrays the fleeting and faint unrequited feelings of a young girl, set off by words of love in a play.
In the second scenario, Machiko visits one self-confined poet, Kyusaku Tsuchida, to deliver a box of ohagi sweets (sticky rice covered in sweetened red bean paste) and a jar of tadpoles.
The ohagi were made by Machikofs grandmother to give her strength; the tadpoles are sent by a zoologist named Dr. Matsuki.
We learn that Dr. Matsuki is the husband of Kyusakufs sister, who has been concerned with Kyusaku ever since he wrote a poem about crows flapping their white wings.
Having heard that Kyusaku is now writing a poem about tadpoles, Dr. Matsuki has taken the trouble to hatch some tadpoles in his laboratory, and send them to the poet.
As a scientist who runs experiments on how pigsf noses stretch toward bread, Dr. Matsuki is an emotional rival of Kyusaku.
Upon seeing Machiko, who gazes at the tadpoles and sighs deeply, Kyusaku realizes that the girl has fallen in unrequited love.
Though he usually falls for such girls, who are caught up in an unrequited or broken love, he claims that when he actually falls in love, he can no longer write love poems.
He thereby chooses to distance Machiko from himself.
Before doing so, however, Kyusaku teaches Machiko a poem that might cheer her up in sad or painful times. This second example of love is a poetfs love: it seals off love in the real world so that love poems might be written.
In the third scenario, we encounter the Cricket Girl.
She is introduced to us as an archetype of sorts: a grown-up version of the kind of girl who falls in unrequited love, pines for someonefs memory, and communes with tadpoles.
The object of the Cricket Girlfs love is the British mystical poet, William Sharp, and his lover Fiona Macleod, whom she finds out about out from the depths of the library stacks.
We learn that Sharp and Macleod wrote passionate love letters to one another, but actually, they were part of two separate hearts?one male and one female?that coexisted in a single body.
With this couple as the object of her love, the Cricket Girl is seen as someone whose love transcends both time and space.
Not one of these three instances of love bears fruit in the actual world, and they remain a kind of dream or mirage of the lonely.
But perhaps itfs just as well, for we see that none of the characters involved actually desires to be gcoupled,h per se.
One key phrase in this story is gthe study of split identities,h which refers to gthe arbitrary name for a nonsensical psychologyh invented by Midori Ozaki.
It is humorously taken to mean the divided psychological nature not only of humans, but also of animals. As we observe one character in the story traveling around Japan collecting information for this discipline, we begin to understand that gthe study of split identitiesh is an affirmation that the existence of humans and animals is something comical.
Midori Ozaki thus calls out to the present: even if you are alone, have no fear. In your heart, there is another reality spun by words, and this fantastic love|this is what is beautiful.
|About the Author: Midori Osaki (1896-1971)|
|Author Midori Osaki was born in Tottori in 1896.
Although she wrote several masterpieces in Tokyo in and around 1930, in her mid-30s she became addicted to headache medication, and her parents forced her to return to her hometown.
She never wrote novels again, living through World War II and the post-war years as a dedicated caregiver to her nieces and nephews.
At one point in literary circles, she had even been called ga lost writer,h assumed dead after going mad.
In 1979, however, the first collection of Osaki Midorifs literature was published, and found a new audience. Recently, the contemporary relevance of Osakifs works is being re-evaluated.
In 1998, filmmaker Sachi Hamano adapted Osakifs representative work, gWandering the World of the Seventh Senseh (gDainanakankai Hokoh) to the big screen.
gThe Cricket Girlh (gKorogijyoh) is Hamanofs second film based on the work of Osaki, and was supported by Tottori Prefecture.
Hamanofs previous film, gIn Search of a Lost Writer: Wandering the World of the Seventh Senseh (gDainanakankai hoko?Ozaki Midori wo sagashiteh), received high international acclaim for its effort to re-evaluate a lost female artist and reexamine the unexplained second half of her life.
This time, Hamano interprets three novellas written before Osaki put her pen to rest forever?gThe Walkh (gHokoh), gThe Cricket Girlh (gKorogijyoh), and gA Night in Antonfs Basementh (gChikashitsu Anton no ichiyah)?as a single series, and adapts to the big screen the essence of Osakifs literary world.
Though frequently cited as difficult, Osakifs literature, newly transposed to the world of film, can now fully reveal her inimitable and eccentric humor.
|About the Director: Sachi Hamano|
|Born in 1948, Sachi Hamano decided to become a movie director while she was in
She came to Tokyo and sought a way into the world of filmmaking, but at the time the Japanese movie business was male-dominated, and there were almost no studios willing to hire women as potential directors. However, beginning in 1968, she worked as an assistant director in several independent production companies, and made her directorial debut in 1971.
In 1984 she founded her own production company, Tantansha.
Since then, working as both producer and director, she has released over 300 films portraying sexuality from women's perspectives.
In 1998, she produced the independent film, gIn Search of a Lost Writer: Wandering the World of the Seventh Sense,h (gDainanakankai houkou?Osaki Midori o sagashiteh), which depicted the life and work of the forgotten female writer Midori Osaki.
Funding for that film was provided in part by donations from over 12,000 women from all over Japan. Hamano was awarded the 4th Women's Culture Prize in 2000; that same year, she encountered Hoko Momotani's novel of elderly sexuality, gLily Festivalh (gYurisaih), and decided to adapt it for the screen. She completed production on gLily Festivalh in 2001.
In 2006, she again adapted the work of Midori Osaki, creating and directing gThe Cricket Girlh (gKorogijyoh).
E9th Festival Internazionale Cinema Delle Donne, 2' Premio
EPhiladelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Best Feature Film
EMix Brasil 11, Best Feature Film
|Film Data for gThe Cricket Girlh|
|English title: gThe Cricket Girlh
Language of dialogue: Japanese
Date of completion: October 2006
Technical Data: Color, 95min, 2,700m (8,566feet), 5 reels, 35mm, American Vista (1.85), Mono
Director: Sachi Hamano
Producer: Sachiko Suzuki
Screenplay: Kuninori Yamazaki
Director of Photography: Katsuharu Oyamada
Music: Shigemi Yoshioka
Art Director: Jin Shioda
Editor: Naoki Kaneko
Directorfs Address: 7-12-3 Hontori, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, §420-0064, JAPAN
Fax : 81-54-272-1692
Production Company: Tantansha
Address : 7-12-3 Hontori, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, §420-0064, JAPAN
Fax : 81-54-272-1692
Producer: Sachiko Suzuki
Year of Production: 1984
Shipping of Film:
Sender: Nippon Cine Arts Co., Ltd.
Address: 2-5 Ichigaya-Honmura-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, §162-0845, JAPAN