Monday, February 18, 2008

89. Film Review #11: Eclipse Series 7: Akira Kurosawa: SHUBUN (Scandal) (1950)

A detailed analysis of the above film.

SHUBUN (Scandal) (1950)

Up on the Shochiku logo (Mt. Fuji with clouds shrouding the mountain). [Four films -- four studios!@!]

Credit comes up against this logo in large white characters.


Up on the credits ... "SCANDAL" ... large flat white characters -- behind them is the spinning wheel of a motorcycle. We hear the revving of the motorcycle, quickly followed by Hayasaka's score. The credits wipe quickly off the screen right. After the director's credit, the music is replaced by the sound of the cycle.

Immediate cut to Ichiro Aoe (Toshiro Mifune) riding his motorcycle up a road.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #1

Long shot. Aoe's motorcycle is parked. Beyond, on a flat outcropping, he is painting. Two men stand behind him, and another squats next to him on his left, watching him paint. In the distance, the mountains are streaked with snow. We hear a few bird chirps and then idyllic symphonic music (oboe).

Cut close on Aoe.

Cut back on the four. The farmer (Kokuten Kodo) squats down beside him.

"You an artist, mister?"

"Don't I look it?"

"Lots of artists come here to paint." He looks back towards his motorcycle. "But you're the first I ever saw come on a motorcycle."

"Is that so strange?"

Cut close on the farmer. "Well, it is a little peculiar." He laughs. Now his attention is drawn to the painting. "And so is your painting." Cut close to the man on Aoe's left (Kichijiro Ueda).

"Mount Kumotori looks like it's dancing." Cut close, profile, on Aoe.

"Mountains move." Cut back to the man. He turns his head towards Aoe, trying to understand this last statement.

"Huh?" Cut back to the medium shot, all four. The music stops.

Aoe: "If you look closely enough, they move." They look. The farmer and the man stand up. A few beats. The farmer, astonished.

"You're right. It's moving. Right?" Birds chirping.

Other man: "Nonsense! How can a mountain move?" Aoe looks up. More chirps. Cut to a new POV behind the four. This gives us our first view of the mountains he is painting.

Cut closer on the mountains -- snowcapped. We hear singing (Puccini, DR tells us) [DR, p. 66].

"Do you know/
That southern land/
Where the trees bear fruit/
And the flowers bloom/
Where the breeze is ..."

Cut to a new POV from just on the other side of Aoe's easel, looking up towards the four. They are trying to figure out where the singing is coming from. The camera pans left, following their turned heads, until we arrive at the motorcycle. We still don't see anything. Suddenly we see a woman, Miyako Saigo (Yoshiko [Shirley] Yamaguchi), looking around, but her back turned to the artist and farmers.

Cut to close to her, from behind. She now makes a complete turn [we can see that she is singing], and sees the others. She stops singing and looks down. Bird chirps.

Cut to a new POV, just behind the easel. They are all looking at her except Aoe, who studies his painting. No one greets her; they all turn their attention back to the painting.

Man: "Anyway, I've never seen a painting in this style."

Aoe: "Of course it won't look like anybody's else's. I have my own style. Do you ask advice on how to make love to your wife?" The farmer pats him on the back.

"That's a good one!" The other man also laughs. Cut to a medium close on the farmer and Miyako. He is laughing; she is mildly amused.

"How do I get to Kaminoyu?"

The farmer turns. "Go straight ahead ..." Then motioning with his right arm, " ... to the bus route. Turn north there."

"Is it far?"

"Just a little way."

Cut close on Aoe. "'A little way' probably means three miles." Cut to her. She looks at him. Cut to him.

[Kurosawa wants to let us know that he is not a lech, and that he has no plans to take advantage of the situation. See how he does it!]:

Music, soft, innocent ... His eyes from his painting to the mountains; down to his palette; quickly to the painting; back to the palette again; down at something else; and finally -- turns around and looks at her...

Cut to a longer shot, all five in the shot, left to right: her, farmer, Aoe, man #2 [no lines] and man #1.

Aoe: "Why didn't you come by bus?" The farmer lights his cigar.

Her: "It was three hours until the next one."

"Then leave your suitcase here." He returns to his painting as he speaks. "I'll bring it to you later. I'm staying at Kaminoyu too." She is thinking about it.

Aoe, to no one in particular: "I like it here." Miyako is deciding. The farmer bends down to look at the painting.

Man #1: "It's too red. Mount Kumotori ain't that red."

Aoe: "Shut up, old man. I see it as bright red. That's how it is in my mind's eye." Man #2 (the one who hasn't spoken yet) nods in agreement.

Farmer: "Is that how artists work?"

Aoe: "Hm." Miyako walks in front of the camera. The farmer looks up at her, followed by Aoe:

"Hey, why don't you wait awhile? I'll give you a lift." Cut close on her, thinking. She looks over towards his cycle and then back at him.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #1

Music stops. Sound of motorcycle.

Close side-shot on the two on the motorcycle. Longer shot, from ahead of the cycle. We hear a horn honk. Aoe passes a bus (the letters: "K.H.K." on the side). As the cycle passes the bus, the camera remains on the back of the bus -- two windows are raised and two men stick their heads out, watching Aoe and Miyako. One of them has a camera.

Close on these two.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #2

Silence. The two men from the bus sit in the lobby of an inn, talking to the proprietor. In the background, a couple of bicycles and Aoe's motorcycle..

Proprietor: "So that's Miyako Saijo, the famous singer?" Reporter/photographer #1 (
Koji Mitsui, credited as "Koji Mi") nods. "Well, I'll be!"

Reporter/photographer #1: "She hates being photographed." Pause. R#2 looks towards the cycle and then back to the proprietor:

R#2: "Is the guy with her?"

Proprietor: "No, they took separate rooms." The men's eyes move towards frame left. There a woman enters:

"She says she refuses to be photographed."

R#1: "We already know that. That's why we need your help --"

Woman: "I did my best."

R#2: "Please ask her again. We can't go back empty-handed."

Woman, getting up: "What a bother!" She leaves, cutting in front of the camera,frame right. Cut close on the two reporters. R#1 has a camera in his hands, R#2 a large flash unit.

R#2: "We may have to stay overnight." He removes a bulb from the flash.

R#1: "Is there enough in the budget?"

Cut to Miyako, wearing a robe, medium close from front. She is looking out over her balcony, wiping her hands on a towel. She is wiping her neck when we hear Aoe's voice.

"Excuse me."

Miyako, turning her head towards the door: "Hai." She puts the towel over the railing of the balcony. The door opens. It is Aoe.

"Oh, hello!" Cut to her, close. She kneels down on the floor, smiling broadly: "Thanks for the lift. You saved me a long walk." Cut close to him at the door. He is also wearing a robe, smiling.

"Not at all. Mind if I come in?" He puts his hand on the back of his neck. Cut to her.

"All right, though I'm not properly dressed." She gently tugs at her robe, and begins to get up.
Cut to the original POV -- at first we only see Aoe in the frame, but immediately Miyako completes the previous action and moves over to a dressing area behind a wall. Aoe walks in. She is putting on another robe over what she is wearing. Aoe walks into the room. When he reaches her position behind the little wall, he turns to her.

"Neither am I!" She lets out a little laugh. Cut to a slightly longer POV than the original shot. Aoe walks out on the balcony and drapes his own towel over the railing. Miyako is still in the room, making tea. Aoe sits down on a chair.

"Please don't bother." She smiles. "May I smoke?" She nods. He gets out his pipe. She is pouring tea.

"Aren't you Miyako Saijo?" She nods. "I couldn't place you until I heard the maids gabbing. You have such big eyes!"

Cut close on Miyako, essentially proving the point (Yoshiko [Shirley] Yamaguchi is gorgeous!). She seems slightly embarrassed. Cut back to previous shot. She is bringing out tea.

"I forgot to introduce myself. Ichiro Aoe. I'm a painter." He rises slightly from his chair and makes a little bow.

"Yes, now I remember." She sets his tea down on the table. "I read about you in an art magazine." She sits.

"About my bike? And how I imitate Vlaminck? Those writers are all copycats, so they assume everyone else is too. What I love about bikes is that sense of not giving a damn. " He puts the pipe in his mouth. "It feels good to be rude!" They laugh. He strikes a match. "Did you come here for a little break?" He lights his pipe.

"Yes. I've had to deal with so many annoyances."

"That's the price you pay for being so famous. It must be tiring having people gape at you."

Music, again soft and innocent. Several exchanges of close-ups.

"It's crowded in the summer, but now's a good time to be here. If you have a chance tomorrow, take a look at the small marsh nearby. It's a remarkable green, at times almost like jade." He leans over the railing and points.

"Those trees over there -- " She also stands and turns. "You see them?" She doesn't yet, and he moves towards her, just a few inches -- she moves back a foot or more, so she can see it from his POV -- their heads are almost touching.

"Beyond those dark cedars?" She makes a sound as if she now sees it. We hear a click.

Miyako: "What was that sound?"

"Sounded like a camera shutter. Newlyweds, probably." She laughs and they both sit again.

A solo clarinet introduces some semi-jocular, but suspenseful music here.

Cut to a much longer shot, looking up on the two on the balcony. At the bottom of the frame, behind a wall, are the two reporters. They look up. Reporter #2 looks as if he's going to say something, when #1 covers his mouth.

Cut close on the two, from slightly below. Reporter #1, takes his hand away from #2's mouth.

"Separate rooms, eh?" They laugh, softly.

Reporter #2, whispering: "What a scoop!"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #2

The music continues. Close on a white piece of paper in a tray of photographic developing chemicals. We hear the voice of Reporter #1, as we watch the photograph develop:

"Hey, boss, how about some champagne?" Still on the photograph, now nearly fully developed, we hear another, new voice.

"It's only a scandal if he's famous. If he's just a nobody ... we'll be drinking moonshine."

Cut to the four men watching this photograph develop. From left to right: New guy [Reporter #3, much later identified as Editor Asai (Shinichi Himori)], Reporter #1 (who is the one developing the photo), the boss, Hori (Sakae [Eitaro] Ozawa), and Reporter #2. It is Hori who was speaking above, and now continues. He bends down for a closer look.

The music stops. Close on a white piece of paper in a tray of photographic developing chemicals.

Cut to the photo, now fully developed. It was taken at the instant that she had leaned back to observe the jade marsh Aoe was trying to point out to her. They each have their hands on the towels which drape over the railing.

Cut to a new POV, facing all four men in the small patch of light coming from the chemical tray area.

R#1: "Well?"

Asai: "They look like they're posing. The two towels on the railing are perfect." Reporter #1 takes the print from the tray and moves it to another. Asai, continues. "... like a prop man hung them up there." R#1 picks up this new tray with the print in it, and brings it over to the light.

"What do you think, boss?"

Hori: "Damn it! I can't stand women who act all innocent, then do this behind closed doors."

Asai: "But who's the man?"

Hori: "It seems I've seen him somewhere."

Asai, tapping R#1 on the arm: "Why didn't you ask the innkeeper?"

R#1: "We heard he's a painter."

R#2: "Yeah, some nut with a motorcycle --"

Hori, remembering: "I've got it! It's Ichiro Aoe." He turns to leave the darkroom.

R#1: "Aoe? Does that mean moonshine or champagne?" -- his arm on Hori...

Hori, breaking the grip: "Champagne!"

Cut to POV outside the darkroom, Hori then Asai exiting. Asai follows Hori into the cage which is his office.

Hori: "Print an extra 10,000."

Asai: "But ..."

Hori: "Have someone write it up: 'Singer and Artist on Romantic Getaway' -- 'Love on a Motorcycle!'" Other reporters (including #1 and #2) gather around the cage.

Asai: "But shouldn't we check --"

"Stop worrying." He takes out a cigarette. "It doesn't matter if it's bull -- once it's in print, the public believes it. Besides, the picture proves it. You know what the idols of the age are?" He strikes a match -- the camera turns slightly and frames him.

" ... Photos and the printed word." He laughs.

The music continues. A harp glissando begins a rollicking polka which accompanies the montage.

Cut to a sign


showing a female leg, bent at the knee, a stocking with garter hook and high heeled shoe, breaking through a heart.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #3

The back of a bus, with a poster advertisement for Amour.


Hold on this while he

Double-exposes the image with another, larger one.

Cut to another ad, inside the bus.


Cut to a busy street, perhaps POV of the bus, moving along with the traffic. There are several cars and a trolley on the road ahead, and signs everywhere. Hold on this moving shot while he again

Double-exposes the image with another poster ad for the December issue of Amour.
There is a crude picture on the bottom left of this image of someone smiling broadly. This last can only be seen in the next cut:

Cut to a trolley, but with the superimposed image from the previous cut still remaining in this new cut for 10 or 12 frames.

The next two or three cuts are among the slickest "contrary motion" shots in the canon to this point.

The trolley is moving from left to right in the shot. The camera stays with another poster ad on the side of the trolley. [We see how the photo is used for the first time -- their faces are cropped by the ad copy -- large Japanese characters. You can see their hands on the towels at the bottom of the ad.] As the trolley passes the camera point, the camera moves in close on the ad. Just as the trolley (and the ad) are moving out the frame right,

Cut to another trolley, going right to left! The same ad now comes towards the camera from the right and the process is repeated in reverse -- the camera moves in close on the ad as it passes (much closer, this time);

Cut to another trolley, moving quickly from right to left. There is a poster on the side of this trolley, as well -- but I don't believe it is for the magazine. There is a five-pointed star in the poster. As the camera follows this trolley, panning to the left, it arrives at a street level kiosk, wtih several posters. Suddenly, we hear a female narrator:

"Do you know who the lover of dramatic singer Miyako Saijo is? If you want all the news on this hot topic, pick up Amour's December issue before it sells out!"

Dissolves into another multiple exposure -- another kiosk, seen in a longer street scene -- a large copy of the ad is superimposed over this.

Dissolve to another street scene. This is an important cut because of its connection to this one [**]. Kurosawa treats it as such. The purpose of this cut is to 1) finalize the montage of the ads, and 2) show Aoe seeing the ads for the first time.

The ads are plastered against a wall. We can see at least 17 of them, arranged in three rows. These are framed by the camera as follows: On the far left of the frame is a signpost with several different signs, on the right is a larger sign in English: "Loading ZONE for Special Service" with an arrow pointing right and Japanese characters under this. In the center bottom, completing the frame, is a street barricade (which is important here [**]). Three men on bicycles and scooters move left to right in front of this barricade as the shot begins. Other people on the sidewalk are staring up at the posters.

The camera begins to pull back. We see that this is a crossing on a busy street. A car jerks to a stop in the far left lane as a woman begins crossing the street. More pedestrians follow.

Suddenly Aoe pulls up on his motorcycle in the center lane. We see the front of a large car pull up to a stop in the right lane. Aoe sees the posters! He rises up from his seat to stare. The last of the pedestrians cross. We hear a whistle. The polka ends. The trilling of the last note turns into the whistles and honking horns of the cars behind the stopped Aoe.

Cut close on him, POV from below, looking up. Aoe is looking up at the posters. Horns honk, a whistle is blown several more times. During this shot, vehicles pass in front of him (ECU, blurred) and a large truck behind him at the end of the shot.

Cut to the original long shot, showing this truck going through the intersection. Aoe is still sitting there. He turns around, reacting to the honking. He moves on, but the camera remains. A large bus passes. There are some Japanese characters on the door right under the window, translated into English immediately below: "For Tour." The bus is about halfway through the frame when, in a beautiful

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #3

The middle of the bus becomes the left of the screen being wiped away! The new image is a girl, standing in front of one of the ad posters. The same motorcycle sounds we heard in the last cut are now heard again.

Aoe, off-camera: "Amour, please."

"Sorry, sold out." She recognizes him. She turns to look at the poster, and then back at him. "Come look!" she says to someone we don't immediately see ourselves, "Ichiro Aoe!" We hear the motorcycle. Another girl enters the frame left. Both girls are following him with their eyes as he roars off.

Cut to a man on the phone.

"Nisshin Printers? This is Amour Publications. Please print another 10,000 copies of the December issue. We'll supply the paper. Yes, thank you." He puts his hand on the mouthpiece:

"We're set, boss." The camera pulls back. Hori is sitting on the edge of the table, smoking, his staff crowded around.

Hori: "Let's have a big party at the hot springs."

Office girl: "I'd prefer my three months' back pay."

Hori, turning towards her: "Hey, don't be a wet blanket! You'll get that, and maybe a bonus too."

Everyone grunts their approval.

R#1: "Thanks to my trusty Leica." Everyone applauds. The camera follows Hori as he gets up and walks back to his office. The scene is shot from behind the wire mesh which surrounds his office. Asai sits with his back to the camera.

Hori: "Why so glum?"

Asai: "You sure it's safe, boss?"


"I mean, it's okay if we printed the truth --"

"What? You wrote it!"

"Only because you forced me to. I just made things up." He stands.

Hori: "A love affair's a love affair. Details don't matter."

"What if they complain?"

"We'll bury an apology where people won't see it."

"What if they sue?"

"We'll sell 10,000 more copies!" Hori is smiling broadly, Asai is not. "Don't be such a pessimist. This isn't the first scandal we've covered." Asai sits back down, his back to the camera. Hori rises and comes to face him. "Has anyone sued us yet? Nobody's even protested."

"I guess not."

"Quit worrying!" He sits next to him. [Some books and a lamp on Hori's desk are nicely framed between the two men.] "The kind of snobs we target think the law is beneath them, even when they have a case. They just get self-righteous and look down on us." He laughs, nervously. A few beats of silence. Then the sound of a motorcycle. The two men look at each other. Asai rises and Hori follows.

Cut to a lateral view of the two men arriving at a window. Asai opens it; they look down. Asai looks at Hori. They move back. The pace around. Both men face the camera when we see a door at the rear open. They react. We see Aoe enter.

Cut to a closer shot. A woman is working on the left. To her:

"Show me the magazine!" She doesn't budge. He looks down and sees several copies sitting on a table. He takes off one of his gloves and picks one up. Hori approaches:

"Mr. Aoe? Please step inside." He motions towards his office. Aoe ignores him, sits on the table and leafs through the magazine. Cut to a reverse angle. Behind Hori and Aoe are the other reporters and staff. Hori looks back at them, and then barks at the girl (who we cannot see from this POV):

"Hey, get us some tea!" She cuts across the frame. Hori eyes Aoe.

From this last line to here is a silence of only one minute, 14 seconds, but it is potent:

Cut close on Aoe, reading (four seconds).

Cut close on Hori (three seconds)..

Back to Aoe (three seconds).

Back to Hori (two seconds).

Back to Aoe. He scratches his head (six seconds).

Back to Hori -- he looks back at someone with a sneer (three seconds).

Cut close on Asai. It was probably him. His lips are quivering (two seconds).

Back on Aoe. He scratches the back of his head (six seconds).

Back on Asai. He turns around and grabs the wire mesh/cage (two seconds).

Back to Aoe. He touches his nose. He reads. He turns a page (seven seconds).

Back to Asai. He turns, hearing the page turn (two seconds).

Back to Aoe. He turns another page (four seconds).

Cut to a reporter. He is looking at R#1. The camera pans to him. Glancing in Aoe's direction, he puts his hand on the back of his hat and tilts the hat forward, covering his eyes (six seconds).

Cut to the guy who was on the phone with Nisshin Press, looking around nervously. Behind him, from the right, comes the girl with the tea. The camera follows her as she offers it to Aoe.

"Tea, sir." He ignores her, getting off the table and walking forward towards the door.

Hori takes the tea from her and moves to Aoe to offer it to him. At that moment, Aoe turns around in the opposite direction (not seeing Hori) and says:

"Who's in charge here?" He has walked over to frame left. Hori enters frame right.

"I am, sir. Nice to --"

Aoe slugs him. As he lurches backwards, the tea and the cup and saucer go flying in all directions. He lands against a huge stack of magazines and they all fall down around him...

The music begins again. Dissolve to a run of newspapers or magazines coming off a press. Double-exposed with a sign:


Dissolve to Hori, sitting, surrounded by reporters taking notes. He is rubbing his chin.
"I was bowing when he just hit me without a word. I'll fight for freedom of the press."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #4

Aoe, sitting, similarly surrounded by reporters.

"I was wrong to resort to violence, but hitting isn't the only form of violence." He holds a pipe. "That story ws much worse. It's the modern equivalent of cutting someone down on the street!"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #4

Hori, again. This time a lot of cameramen with large flash units.

"If you ask me, Aoe's a sore loser. I say you reap what you sow."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #5

Aoe, sitting, pipe in mouth. Photographers close in.

"I regret to say that I am not Miss Saijo's lover. The whole story is a lie. Would I hide such a beautiful lover?"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #5

Hori, again, this time in front of several microphones. "My motto is, 'Always report the whole truth.' Is the story true? One look at that picture will give you your answer."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #6

Aoe, before the microphones: "Five minutes after that picture was taken, I went back to my room and had two beers. I had dinner, bathed and went to sleep. That's the entire story." He starts to leave, frame left, and the reporters bend the microphones in his direction. He moves back to them.

"If Amour refuses to print a retraction, I'll sue for damages." At the end of this cut. Aoe puts his hand on top of one of the microphones, and someone else pushes it off...

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #6

Hori, possibly preparing to do an interview (lights are being arranged, etc.):

"Isn't it odd, though?" He straightens his tie. "Aoe's the only one making a fuss. Miyako Saijo hasn't said a word" A camera begins to roll. "I guess it's true that women are more honest about love." The music stops.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #7

Miyako opens a door and runs into the room. "Mother, how could you?" She runs over to where Aoe and her mother (Fumiko Okumura) are sitting. Her mother stands up.

Cut close on Miyako. To Aoe:

"I'm sorry, Mr. Aoe." She sits. "My own mother doubts us. She'd rather believe the story than her own daughter." Her mother moves next to her.

"Don't say that!" Miyako turns to her mother:

"You're afraid of what people will say." She turns to Aoe.

"I wanted to protest --"

Mother: "You don't understand how horrible people can be. You just have to endure it. How on earth do you expect to fight sharks like them?" The camera now slowly pulls back, bringing Aoe into the shot.

Aoe: "The way I see it ..." as the camera stops. The geometry: Aoe, Miyako and mother -- " ... they're only this bold because all their victims have been cowards. They just drop it, so the bums keep doing it." He looks at Miyako. "Listen, we're not living in the jungle. We live in a modern nation with modern institutions."

Mother: "So, what do you intend to do?"

"I'll sue them." Mother and Miyako look at each other.

Mother: "That's crazy!" Close on Miyako, pondering this.

"That never crossed my mind." She looks up at Aoe. "We'll be laughingstocks."

Cut close on Aoe, right profile. Big smile. Then the camera follows him, still close, as he gets up and moves over to sit down next to Miyako. His head is no further away from her than it was when the photograph was taken!

"No, they'll be the laughingstocks." Pause. He looks at her. "What's the matter?" She looks at him. She gets up. The camera stays fixed on him. He starts to lean forward.

Cut to new POV, Miyako in the foreground, center -- Aoe and mother at left and right rear.

Aoe, to Miyako: "You know we're right. Why are scared to go to court?" Silence. "You're afraid of what people will say too?" The camera pushes in, framing Aoe and Miyako.

"It's not that."

"Then why are you so against it?" More silence.

Aoe nods to himself. "Fine. I'll go it alone." Her head turns. "I won't deny my own feelings and just laugh it off, or let society laugh it off either." He reaches for his motorcycle gloves.

Cut close on the gloves -- his hand grabs them.

Cut to the middle of a street with trolley tracks on either side. We see Aoe from behind, riding his motorcycle away from the stationary camera. The sound of the motorcycle also goes from loud to softer, as he rides off.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #7

Aoe's studio.

The soft sound of wind blowing in through the broken windows. Large translucent windows in the rear, trees blowing in the wind. Sumie, a model (Noriko Sengoku) sits, posing, in a chair on a raised platform in the left center. Aoe is drawing her, at the right rear.

Closer cut, Sumie fills the left half of the frame, Aoe at lower right.

Sumie: "A one-man exhibition?"

"One week, starting the 15th."

"The year's almost over. It's like a year-end clearance sale."

"I doubt they'll sell."

"You seem down. It's not like you."

"I have a lot on my mind."

"The scandal?"

Cut close on Aoe, pipe in his mouth as he draws. "Say, what do you think?"

"About what?" Cut to a POV looking directly down over his left shoulder at what he has been sketching. There is no doubt that we are looking at a sketch of Miyako, not Sumie (the eyes)!

"Miyako Saijo." Close cut on Sumie.

"She's pretty." Cut to a new POV -- just left and behind Aoe.

"That's not what I meant. Do you think what they say is true?"

"It doesn't sound like you."

"Why not?"

"Why not? You're not the type for scandals. Now Mr. Kawamura, he's different. But you're safe. I'm very picky about who I pose nude for. But I never worried with you." Cut close on his face. He smiles. Cut back to previous POV.

"You haven't done any nudes for a while. Am I such a lost cause?"

"No, not at all."

"It's all right. It's true what they say about giving birth. My stomach got all flabby. But if you want to paint nudes, feel free to use other models. Don't worry about me. It would be hard to find another client like you, but I'm sure I'd get by." Cut back close on his face. He takes the pipe out of his mouth. Cut to a new POV -- Aoe at left rear, she at front right...

"It's not that. Stop being foolish. I'm just beginning to have doubts about nude art in Japan ..."
He puts down his sketch pad and gets up, walking towards Sumie (and the camera). "We lack both the tradition and the healthy spirit to accept the naked body. People say our nudes lack proportion. What they really lack is spirit ..."

"I get it. You hatch these crazy theories to save me embarrassment. say things like that just to save me embarrassment."

He clears his throat. "Let's take a break." She relaxes. He throws her a piece of fruit (orange?).

"It's okay. You're a good man." He sits and begins to peel an orange for himself.

"Just remember: I'll always be on your side. When you go to court, call me as a witness. I'll yell at the judge, 'Mr. Aoe's innocent! I know it! My experience tells me so! He's the only man who never leered at my naked body. Other artists always get fresh, but --"

Suddenly she screams and runs over to Aoe.

"What's wrong?"

"The window! Someone's peeking in!" Aoe gets up and walks over to

Cut -- a broken window, from the outside looking in on Aoe and Sumie.

"He's gone now. He gave me the creeps." A bell rings. They move off.

Cut, near the door, as Aoe and Sumie move into the shot. The door opens. We hear the wind howling. A hat flies in (connected with this [##]). Aoe catches it. Attorney Hiruta (Takashi Shimura) follows his hat through the door.

Cut POV behind Sumie.

Watch Shimura act with his eyes, as he enters the film!

Hiruta takes back his hat from Aoe, with a quick bow. He looks at Sumie, then Aoe. He reaches into his coat and pulls out a wallet and draws out a card. He hands it to Aoe, who looks at it. Cut, so do we. ECU of Aoye holding the card.


Cut, POV over Aoe's right shoulder. Hiruta coughs and wipes his nose.

"Not a single streetlight around ..." He sits and begins to take off his boots, emptying them as he speaks.

" ... I stepped into some open sewage. What a mess. The dark is ideal for trespassers. Doesn't it frighten you to go out at night, Mrs. Aoe?" He begins to wring out his sock.

"No. And I'm not his wife."

"Oh, I beg your pardon. It's none of my business ..." Agitated, he rises, holding his sock in his hand. " ... who you are or what your relationship is. You see, I respect people's privacy ..."

Hiruta moves into the room and seats himself in front of the stove. " ... In fact, it makes me furious the way people these days enjoy exposing others' private lives. The public seems to love inflicting misfortune on the fortunate ..." Reverse angle shot. Aoe and Sumie being to walk towards Hiruta. He sniffles and continues talking.

" ... The world's become a dark place. We used to distinguish clearly between right and wrong. At some point we forgot that distinction. Now we don't have the foggiest idea of right and wrong ..."

As Aoe and Sumie move to sit down, camera pulls back just behind Hiruta.

" ... In all my 50 years, I've never seen a more confused age ..." Aoe and Sumie have sat down, framing Hiruta in the center. A sudden reverse angle cut, so Sumie is now left and Aoe right.

" ... By the way, Mr. Aoe, it was a delight to read how you slugged that publisher." He laughs. "It may have been reckless, but I think occasional recklessness is part of human nature. An overly prudent life is a shabby thing ..." Aoe reaches back for a pipe. Sumie is eating the fruit.

" ... As I said, this is a confused age, making a little recklessness practically indispensable."

On the end of Hiruta's last sentence, Kurosawa shoots Sumie head-on, medium close, as Hiruta waves his stinky sock in front of her nose. Cut back to previous POV.

"The hard part is finding the balance. That's where the law comes in. What if the publisher sues you for assault? Even scoundrels know the law. It's a danger ... a real danger." Short pause.

"Do you have a doctor?" Aoe nods. Now, Kurosawa finally pushes in close on Hiruta alone.

"All prudent people have a family doctor, but very few have lawyers whom they consult regularly. Japan has only 5,900 lawyers, while America has 170,000. Japanese people only scramble to find a lawyer when they're sued. This may sound strange coming from me, but nothing's worse than an unethical lawyer. It's a real danger!" Cut back to the original angle behind Hiruta.

"What is it you want?"

"Huh? Oh, forgive me." He gets up and looks around.

"What is it?"

"My briefcase?"

Sumie: "Near the entrance."

"I heard that you plan to sue the publisher, right?"

"That is correct."

"Excellent! Fifteen years ago a man was jailed for urinating in public. The man sued. He won in the supreme court! Do you have a lawyer?"

"No, not yet."

"I'll take the case. I was enraged after reading that story. It's pure slander. Have people no basic rights? I can't find the words. I'd fight this without the retainer. That's how confident I am. I refuse to recognize men like that as part of the human race. They're scum. They're sneaky, and above all, they stink."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #8

Sumie: "What's wrong with that man? Talk about something that stinks, did you get a whiff of his feet?"

"Anyway, he makes sense."

"That doesn't prove the man is honest. He has a silly name and he looks weird."

"I think he has honest eyes. Let's go to his home. You can tell a lot from the family."

"You amaze me! You'd take him as your lawyer?"

"I don't have another lawyer."

"Don't say I didn't warn you! Dangerous. So dangerous."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #9

"Otokichi Hiruta"

"Mr. Hiruta!"

A girl's voice: "Please come around the back."


"OK with the dog?"


The young girl, Masako (Yoko Katsuragi), opens the door: "He went to work."

"No dog? You're sure?"

"It died three years ago -- but the sign keeps prowlers away."

"What's wrong? A cold?"

"No, tuberculosis. I've been bedridden for five years. I've gotten used to it. People think it's boring, but I keep busy by imagining things. Even this tiny garden -- it has flowers, clouds overhead, and birds. But right now, I was looking at something better. Open the door."

"Mother made it. It's mine to look at until she delivers it tomorrow. It's beautiful! Even though it's winter, the bride who wears this will feel like she's walking through a field of flowers. The wedding is this Sunday. I hope it won't rain."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #10

"Excuse me. Hiruta's office on the fifth floor?"

"There is no fifth floor!"


"Racing Form" "How to Pick Winners"


Puccini. "No. You can't cancel your recital now. That scandal was good publicity for you."

"Read these fan letters. They're spitting at me! To them, I'm a disgusting, immoral woman."

"Anyway, your recital's a sellout."

"I don't need that kind of popularity. I'm not a freak show." Puccini. "This piano needs a tune-up!"

"You're the problem. That's all you sing since you've been back." Puccini.

"Read Amour, December issue."


"Hey, keep moving! Stay away from here."

"Why should I?"

"Why? Well, because even though you may not realize it, you're ridiculing someone."

"How is that?"

"I mean..."

"He's so full of himself..."

"He must be guilty..."

Sumie: "Sleazy logic. He's not like you."

"You're harsh as ever."

"But that painting of the mountains he did is really dynamic. It may be his masterpiece. He must have been inspired when he painted it. A man is apt to fall in love when he's inspired."

"Something wrong?"

"He's still out there."

"That story is making your show a success."

"That's what irks me. A girl wanted to get my autograph, and write 'Love on Two Wheels' on it."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #8

"I'm closing the show."

"Don't lose your cool."

"I feel I'm on display. It's not fair to my paintings. They look for scandal even in my paintings."

"You're getting paranoid."

"Do you want me to manage the exhibition? It's easier than modeling. Don't worry! Just give me a cut on any sales I make. It's almost Christmas. I need money to buy gifts for my son."

"They won't buy."

"If they won't, too bad. Then I'll take that mountain painting instead."

"Not that one!"


"I'm rather fond of that picture. That's why it's not for sale."

"Fond memories, perhaps?"

"It's true! I can read it in your eyes."

"Stop stuffing yourself. I'll shut up. Any minute you'll start eating the plate too. By the way, how's the lawsuit?"

"It's going."

"Really? You gave the case to that crackpot lawyer? I wouldn't pay him a retainer."

"I won't. Just 5,000 yen for transportation."

"I give up! What made you do that?"

"Well, he needs the money. He has a sick daughter -- I told you about her. She's a great kid. One of God's own children. As pure as the stars. I'd better visit her."

"Since when is she handling the case?"

"Her dad can't be so bad?"

"You've heard of Henry Ford? I'm sure you have -- the Auto King. He was a great man. When a journalist called him mentally retarded, he took the case to court and won. He collected seven cents for damages. Only seven cents! The lawsuit cost him a fortune! But he paid to protect his rights..."

"...My client is a lot like Henry Ford. He rides a motorcycle with reckless abandon. His headstrong nature will force this to the supreme court if necessary."

"An extraordinary man pressing an extraordinary suit. He demands recovery of all copies of that issue. If it's impossible, he demands 10 million yen damages. To a small firm like you, it could mean bankruptcy. The law protects the innocent. You're ruining people and it's vile and unpardonable."

"May I study it?"

"He'll sue to regain his honor or to be paid damages, huh? The story concerned Saijo. If she doesn't sue, he's out of luck. How can he sue alone?"

"You're green. Listen well. It's part of our plan. Saijo's testimony is the key to this case. As a plaintiff, she couldn't testify on her own behalf. Therein lies my strategy. When Miyako Saijo takes the witness stand, her large eyes filled with tears -- how could any judge not be moved by that?"

"Hey, Asai! Call Kataoka's law office. Have him drop by here later."

"Oh, you know Dr. Kataoka, do you?"

"He's our legal adviser. In our business, a lot of people try to shake us down by threatening to sue ... In court, we'll really shine with this one. We'll run a special edition. That'll sell! A trial's great publicity ... And now, since you so kindly brought us good news, how about a drink?

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #11

An Amour truck.

Mrs. Hiruta (Tanie Kitabayashi): "Out drinking again! You're barely able to walk! Be quiet! She just went to sleep. She has a fever tonight."

"A present for you! A great big bear. I always wanted to buy it for you. I have lots of other nice things too."

"Mr. Aoye came here today. He brought me those apples. He kept telling me what a good person you are. But somehow deep down he seemed afraid ... afraid you might do something bad. I know how he feels. Lying here with this fever, I see things so clearly it frightens me. Father, you've done something wrong again. Don't deny it. I can tell. You're acting so kind and gentle tonight. You seem so sad. I can sense the feeling welling up inside of you. That's how you get whenever you've done something wrong. It's all right. I appreciate your tenderness. I love this bear."

"Masako, I'm no good. I'm a petty crook..."

"No, you're good."

"No, your father is a loser. Not even a skunk. I'm just a worm. What have I become? There was a time when people always tricked me. People tricked then laughed at me ... laughed at me then tricked me. Somewhere along the way, I got fed up with it. To protect myself from being tricked, I started tricking others."

Mother: "Father, we understand you. Please don't tire her."

"Mother, don't worry. Talking makes him feel better."

"Yes, Masako is right about me. Unless a person opens his heart to someone occasionally, he'll choke to death."

"Your mother always remains silent. She never opens up to anyone. Instead of revealing how she feels, she quietly sews. Every stitch helps her release what's inside of her. But your father has to talk to get it out of his system." He starts to doze off for a moment.
"I interrupted myself. Where was I?"

"You trick others to avoid being tricked."

"Yes, now I remember. Man is an extremely tragic creature. And so weak. Because he's weak, he pretends to be strong. That's our trouble. When I read about Aoye, I felt sorry for the man. I felt like someone had struck my own son. It's true. That much is true. I had no intention of imposing on him. Then I meet this scoundrel Hori. What an absolute swine! Every cent that pig earns is filthy! To take it all way from him would delight me. Or so I felt, and that's where I made my mistake. Beyond all doubt, Hori is one of the vilest types on earth. He's devoid of shame. Every dirty trick that I know I should be using to get ahead in this world, Hori uses and the bum gets away with it! That's what makes a true villain. He's a horrible monster! But as horrible as the monster -- the villain -- is, he finally won me over. He defeated me. By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late..."

"Mr. Hiruta! Telephone from Amour Publishing."

"Tell them I'm out."

To himself, sotte voce: "Hey, I'm not your servant!" To Hiruta, loudly:

"They just left a message. They'll be at the racing track."

Miyako: "Is Mr. Aoye here?"

Sumie: "No. He never comes here."

"That painting, the one of the red mountains -- it's not for sale?"

"I'm sorry. He won't part with it. He associates it with some fond memory."

"Oh, you're Miyako Saijo!"

"I couldn't. That would be too much."

"We'll forget about petty amounts if you do me a favor."

"Remember, I'm the counsel for the plaintiff, not you. And you can't change that."

"Forget that. If we can settle out of court, it's better for both of us. And it will save me time. Aoye won't look like a fool. Why not take the easy way out?"

"Tell Aoye he can't do a thing without Saijo."

"Well, how about another go?"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #12

"Oh, Mr. Hiruta again! You're so busy snooping, aren't you?"

"Cold, isn't it?"

"Naturally! It's winter."

Aoye: "You've prepared the case?"

"Well, you see, actually..."

"Not yet, huh?"

"I discussed it with several colleagues, and I decided we need Miss Saijo as co-plaintiff..."

"That's it. I'll introduce you to her. Miss Miyako Saijo."

"My attorney, Mr. Hiruta. Miss Saijo came to see me regarding a joint lawsuit." Horn.

"For us, it removes a major obstacle. We were just celebrating. Please join us."

"Come, Mr. Hiruta!"

Dissolve to newspaper headline and article: "SINGER AND ARTIST SUE PUBLISHER"


"It puts me in an embarrassing position. It's hard. They trust me completely. That man, Aoye, he..."

"Forget him! This is about me! No more excuses! You weren't paid for nothing. We'll settle in court. Don't forget, you work for both sides now."

Asai: "Will it work?"

Hori: "Fool! Don't sound so timid. Call Dr. Kataoka!"

"Kataoka? I thought that was just pretense."

"So what?"

"With no introduction..."

"We must get him! Or else we'll lose!"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #13

"Naturally, as a member of the bar, I would accept any case, unless the cause is rash."

"They're being rash, not me. I have every confidence. I'll defend our good name."

Dissolve to Hori, but still Kataoka's voice:

Dr. Kataoka (Sugisaku Aoyama): "The basic issue will not be how it was reported, but whether the affair actually took place. If you can prove it did, you can win the case. If you can't..."

"Merry Christmas"

"Mr. Aoye, Mr. Aoye!"

"No, it's Santa Claus!"

"Miserable dog that I am! A wretched worm!"

Mother: "You'll spoil her Christmas!"

Aoye: "What is wrong?"

"You'd never understand. You couldn't."

"Let's get a drink."

"No, I'm a dog ... a worm."

To mother: "I'll follow him. Don't worry."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #9

Red Cat

Girl to Hiruta: "Dance with me, pop!"

Other girl to Aoye: "Order something! Don't just drink your own booze."

"I'm sorry. Serve something."

Girl #1: "Some turkey?"

Hiruta: "Make it chicken,,,"

Aoye: "On Christmas?"

Hiruta: "You're too young! In this place, turkey and chicken are the same thing. Only the price is different."

Girl #2 to Aoye: "Haven't we met before?"

A drunk (Bokuzen Hidari) stands up on the seat in his booth: "Friends! One more week, and another year is gone. One more week, and we welcome the year 1950. The human animal is inclined to ignore the present. This year is too late. But 1950, that will be the year! That's what keeps us going!" Laughter.

"My dear friends! The coming year will be my big year. I'm going to fight. I promise! I'll build a tiny house for my family and make things easier for my wife. Yes, next year, I'm really going to do it. It's going to be my year. To hell with this year!"
He begins to sing "Auld Lange Syne" in Japanese...

"...a tune ubiquitous in Japan, one freighted with sentimental associations, one which all Japanese are convinced the Scots have unkindly appropriated..." [DR, p. 67]

"Come, my friends, and join me! This coming year, we'll make it our big year!"

Hiruta, rising suddenly to his feet: "I agree! You're right! Indeed!"

"I'll make it my year! Next year, I'll be a new man! This year, I've been a worm. Next year, I'll be a man! Now, I'm a dog, but next year -- that's right! Why worry? Listen, I have one daughter. A very nice girl, much too nice for scum like me. Her tender eyes -- when those eyes look at me, I feel ashamed of myself ... but, next year, even when she looks at me, I'll have nothing to be ashamed of. Let's all sing!"

They start to sing "Auld Lange Syne" again. Hiruta moves back to Aoye:

"Mr. Aoye, please sing with us. Sing for this filthy scum!"

"Come, my friends, and join our chorus! Please sing for us."

All sing.


"Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!"

"Look, old man, a miracle has occurred."

"Merry Christmas!"

"Shh." Pointing: "Stars have fallen into the filthy pond."

"Old man, life can be so touching at times. Glittering stars amid all this reeking slime! An old villain like you gets such a charming daughter."

"You refer to my Masako? Thank you! Thank you! Yes, she's as lovely as those stars. And I'm just a no-good bum."

"Quiet! Someday even you may become a star. You may shine too! What mortal can know what God has in store for us?"

In English: "Merry Christmas, everybody!" Fade to black.


Someone: "Hey, where's your lawyer?"

Hiruta enters the courtroom, wearing an old fashioned robe and cap. This scene will be repeated on television, later.

"What's with him?"

"Those robes went out years ago!"

SPIRAL WIPE (counterclockwise) #1

This is lovely, and the only wipe of its kind in all 30 films.

It begins in the very center of the frame and quickly spins around the frame in a counterclockwise direction, eating up the old image and replacing it with the new one:
Which itself is one of the most interesting things we've yet seen!

As the wipe ends, we continue to experience a counterclockwise motion! In the middle of the frame is a movie camera -- newsreel style. This camera is framed by ghostly, hazy images of other movie cameras, five or six of them, moving in a counterclockwise circle!
Almost immediately, a framed box with large white characters comes up over the center, stationary movie camera. The box pulls closer, until the edges of the box become the edges of the frame.

At the end of the cut, the box pulls back again towards the movie camera in the center of the frame, suggesting a rectangular television screen.

Cut to another rectangular screen. We are looking at a building. The camera pulls back.
Cars whiz by the front of the building. An announcer:

"Preliminary hearings in the Amour libel suit..." Cut image on screen to another -- close-up of a sign next to a door. "...began in the District Court."

Cut to the image of Hiruta walking into the courtroom. Announcer: "And who is this?
Laughter filled the crowded court, when the plaintiffs' counsel..."




Aoye: "I don't know his name. We met in the hills. We're looking for him."

Judge (Masao Shimizu): "Has the plaintiffs' counsel discussed this?"


HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #14

"Yes, they both arrived on the motorcycle. The lady was seated behind him on the luggage rack."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #10

Yes, they took separate rooms. But don't they all pretend to be strangers?"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #15

Reporter #1: "She refused an interview. I can see why."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #11

Reporter #2: "They were sitting on the porch talking. Seems they had just bathed. Their towels were hung up to dry like in the photo."

Judge: "Care to question them?"

Hiruta: "No questions."

Sumie, from the spectators: "Your Honor, this is absurd! I'll testify!"

"Quiet, please!"



Masako: "I don't want them!"

Her mother: "But you mustn't..." To Aoye: "Please leave her alone. She has a fever."

"No, I don't have a fever. Go away, both of you."

Aoye: "Why are you so upset? Because I was away? I'm sorry, but the trial kept me busy."
Long silence, Weepy music.

Mother: "I hate to ask you, but please don't come again."

Aoye: "Why not?"

"The child suspects her father is cheating you. She's very upset about it. No, she's convinced that her father is up to something bad. That he must be deceiving you in some way. And because of this, your kindness upsets her all the more. She's torturing herself." Pause. "I know how she feels. After you leave, she'll probably caress each of your flowers with love. Tearfully, she'll caress them many times. That's how she is."
Aoye: "Let me be honest. I won't argue with you. I too suspect that Mr. Hiruta is up to something. He isn't doing it because he's evil. He's just weak. He can't keep it up. I have faith in him. You must trust him too. I promise you, I won't let your father do anything bad. I wouldn't have hired him otherwise. He'll be alright. Don't worry. Besides, we're innocent. How can we lose? We found our witnesses too. We'll win! Please don't cry."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #16


HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #12


Judge: "Each will reply in turn. One of you, read the oath and swear to it." "Come, come, read the oath."

Farmer: "Oath? What's that?"

Judge: "A promise to answer the questions honestly."

"Just a minute! I've never been dishonest in my life."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #17

Hiruta: "Do you recognize these persons?"

Farmer: "I sure do. Ain't that why we came?"

"Where did you meet them?"

"At Kappazawa. He was painting a picture of the mountains."

Man #1 from the original scene jumps up: "A funny one too! Mountains ain't that red!"

Judge: "Quiet. Only the person questioned will reply!"

Hiruta: "I will continue. Were they together at the time?"

Farmer: "The lady, she came along later." To the other witnesses: "Ain't that right?" They nod.

Hiruta: "Can you explain how they got on the same motorcycle together?"

Farmer: "Sure thing. It all happened like this. The lady there missed her bus and came on foot. She was tired out..."

Man #1, rising, interrupting: "The artist man felt sorry for her and said he'd carry her bag..."

Farmer: "...but since he was going anyhow, they decided to ride there together."

Hiruta: "I have no further questions."

Judge: "Has the defense any questions?"

Kataoka: "No, Your Honor. But I would have the plaintiffs' counsel clarify one point..."

Judge: "Yes..."

Kataoka, turning towards Hiruta: "Why were such important witnesses, and their only witnesses, not ready to appear earlier?" "It is claimed they could not be located. You brought suit without witnesses. As an attorney at law, I find this most difficult to understand. Is this how one seeks justice? The plaintiffs' counsel can explain this perhaps?

Pressman: "Smart lawyer!"

Another: "They're trapped!"

Judge: "Will the counsel reply?"

Pressman: "This is it! It will ruin the testimony!"

Another: "Not ruin, it will kill it!"

Judge: "The counsel has no reply."

"Court is adjourned! The next session will be..."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #13

Sumie: "I warned you. You shouldn't have trusted him. Maybe you got what you asked for, but what about Miss Saijo?"

Miyako: "I don't mind."

Sumie: "Don't lie."



Sumie: "If that's what you want, I'll be quiet. What are you trying to prove? What's wrong with you, anyway? If you don't like what I'm saying, tell me so."

Aoye: "I was losing confidence. I needed assurance. Sorry I bothered you."

To Miyako: "I'm truly sorry, for your sake.

Miyako: "It's alright if we lose. We can take it to a higher court."

Sumie: "Shut the door. It's cold. Mr. Hiruta, you're hopeless."

Aoye: "What's wrong?"

Hiruta: "My Masako ... my little girl ... she's dead. 'Father ... Mr. Aoye ... will win. He'll win the case!' Those were her last words. Then ... she was dead."


Judge: "This court has heard from both parties, and has weighed the evidence they duly submitted. It is the intention of this court to once again review the claims of both parties, define the issues, and deliver a verdict. First, the plaintiffs."
"Has counsel anything to say?" "No words from the plaintiff."

Aoye: "Your Honor, may I speak?"

"Go ahead."

"The proceedings here have gone against us. The papers say our case is lost. But to me this doesn't seem possible. We did nothing wrong. Amour printed a total lie. Dr. Kataoka's clever maneuvering turned our own witnesses against us by highlighting our ignorance of courtroom procedure. However, if I'm wrong, it's for having too much faith in the law. I swear to you, we are innocent of any wrongdoing. So, I came unprepared. Unfortunately, we lack enough evidence to back our claim of innocence. All I can do is offer myself and Miss Saijo. Your Honor, study me. Do I look like a man who'd deceive you?" Applause.

Judge: "That's enough. Anything else?"

Aoye: [untranslated].

Judge: "Will the coplaintiff speak?" She nods affirmatively, which must mean "no" in this case...

"We will hear the defense."

Kataoke: "Mr. Aoye's words move the court deeply. He spoke in the spirit of a true artist indeed. Although his statement cannot be ignored, he seems confused as to the function of this court. But we shall overlook that part. As counsel for the defense in this case, I have serious misgivings about the plaintiffs' counsel. A legal counsel representing his clients in court naturally must assume certain responsibilities. Therefore, I questioned the plaintiffs' counsel regarding this point. Unfortunately, we received no reply. Moreover, the plaintiffs maintain they were victimized. Mr. Aoye claims to know the truth. Such statements lead nowhere. The defendant too claims to be right. Amour printed the truth."

Judge: "Has anyone anything to add?"

Hiruta: "Yes, Your Honor. Dr. Kataoka contends that his client is perfectly innocent. But he's wrong. I have evidence to the contrary. Your Honor, as a witness for the plaintiffs, allow me to take the stand."

Judge: "Any objections?"

Kataoka, to Hori: "You agree?" Hori shakes his head slightly, but vigorously. "For what reason? Any objection must be backed by a reason."

Judge: "You have no objection?" To Hiruta: "Please take the stand."
"This was secretly given to me by the defendant. A check for 100,000 yen."

Judge, to Aoye: "You wish to submit it as evidence?"

Aoye: "Ha."

Judge: "I will examine the witness. Explain the value of this check as evidence."

Hiruta: "When questioned at a previous session, I remained silent because of that check. It caused me to neglect calling the witnesses. I defiled this court. To you, Your Honor, and to Dr. Kataoka, also to my clients, I humbly apologize. The evidence which bares my own dishonesty proves Amour as guilty."

Judge: "Is the defense in accord?"

Kataoka: "Yes, Your Honor."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #14

Press: "Tell us! How do you feel?"

Aoye: "Well, of course, I'm satisfied. But ... it won't make a good story."

Press: "Tell us anyway."

Aoye: "We just saw a star being born."

Press: "Please explain."

Aoye: "I can't explain."

Press: "You mean Hiruta?"

Aoye: "Exactly."

Press: "You call that guy a star?"

"For the first time I saw a star being born. Compared to that, our victory was nothing."

This location is the same as the one from this shot, near the beginning of the film.

Cut to an ECU of one of the support legs of the barricade, shot from ground level. [This may or may not be exactly the same barricade as the one above
[**].] We see leaves and paper blowing on the sidewalk behind the barricade. Almost immediately, a black hat blows into the frame [##] from the right -- a person passes by left to right. The camera follows the hat, blowing to the left. A man is chasing it. The camera follows him as he picks it up and turns around. It is Hiruta. We see him now from the top of the wooden barricade, hat in hand, walking back to the right. If you look carefully, you will see that he is putting his hat back on...

Cut to a longer shot, from across the street. The "Loading Zone" sign gives us the necessary memory jog to recall the scene from above. However, the Amour posters which caused the traffic jam before are now nearly invisible -- tattered, ripped, eroded, you can only barely make out the washed-out figures of Aoye and Miyako...

"...At the end of the picture, the two of them [? -- surely Richie is misremembering this] walk past the wall on their way to probable happiness. Now time has passed, it has rained, the posters are torn and ragged, one cannot tell which is Yoshiko, which Mifune. The final shot continues this, a close-up of the wall, with normal Tokyo traffic in front of it. The suggestion is that things come and go, which is a singular way to end a protest film. On the other hand, perhaps the intention is ironic, perhaps Kurosawa wanted to indicate that, after all, all this fuss had been over very little. This would agree with the proposition that the true moral of the film has very little to do with hero or heroine -- rather, that the true hero of the film is the lawyer ." [DR, p. 69]

If you (again) watch carefully, you can see Hiruta, at lower left, completing the previous action, putting his hat on his head. He moves ahead to the crosswalk, a newborn star perhaps, but still a speck among the Tokyo pedestrians. Bicycles, cars and trucks make their way through the intersection. Policeman's whistle. Hiruta crosses with the rest, holding his hat, wiping his nose.

Cut to a closer shot on the torn posters. People walk by. No one notices. From the center of the frame, white characters ("THE END") burst out into the frame. Fade to black.

Music ends on a major chord.



Stephen Prince: "The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa," (Princeton University Press (1991/1999) [SP]

Donald Richie: "The Films of Akira Kurosawa," University of California Press (1998) [DR]

James Goodwin: "Akira Kurosawa and Intertextual Cinema," The John Hopkins University Press (1994) [JG]

Stuart Galbraith IV: "The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune," Faber and Faber (2001) [SG]

Akira Kurosawa: "Something Like an Autobiography," Vintage Books (1983) [AK]


HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) -- 14
HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) -- 17
VERTICAL WIPE (top to bottom) -- 0
VERTICAL WIPE (bottom to top) -- 0
SPIRAL WIPE -- 1 (unique)

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