Based on a book by Koroku Sato, The Belle was inspired by a true incident which took place in the village of Irima in Saitama Prefecture. The film was shot on location in the same village. It tells the life story of a high-school girl, Tomoko (Sumiko Kurishima), who is seduced and then abandoned by her bourgeois classmate’s fiancé. Pregnant, she leaves school and goes to work in a nightclub, where she meets the man who seduced her, now a company president seeking to buy land in the village where Tomoko’s brother lives… —Alexander Jacoby & Johan Nordström
Born in Kanda, Tokyo on June 3rd 1897 as the second son of marine products merchant Otojiro, Yasujiro Shimazu assisted with the family business after graduating from an English language school. But his passion for film grew, and in 1920 he applied to Shochiku after seeing a newspaper advertisement recruiting staff for their move into the film business. There he became an apprentice to Osanai Kaoru, and subsequently worked as an assistant director on the 1921 film Souls on the Road (Rojo no Reikon) at the Shochiku Cinema Institute.
His directorial debut Sabishiki Hitobito (1921) was shelved, but in 1922 he returned to Shochiku’s Kamata studio and was recognized as a director for films such as Yama no Senroban (1923). The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed studios in Tokyo and while most directors relocated to Kyoto, Shimazu remained in Tokyo and established a rapport with new Kamata studio head Shiro Kido. Then he made a switch from Shinpa melodramatic… read more