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Daily Viewing. Jidaigeki: Swords at Play in the 1920s

The decade saw a remarkably swift evolution of cinematic style in Japanese period dramas.

Danny Kasman spotted this exercise in comparison and contrast at Vermillion and One Nights, a blog "on Japanese films, history and more," in an entry on the rapid evolution of jidaigeki ("period dramas") in the 1920s. The genre saw not only a "radical metamorphosis from heroic tale of fantasy to anti-heroic tragedy of doom" but also a leap in cinematic style from the stiff choreography and camera work on display in the clip above, from Shouzou Makino's Gouketsu Jiraiya (1921), to the "more 'realistic,' gruesome and fast" action of both the actors and the camera as seen in the clip below, from Seika Shiwa's Nazo no Ningyoushi (1929). It's like zipping from Griffith to Greengrass in less than a decade.

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