Keisuke Kinoshita (1912–1998) is one of the most important directors of the Golden Age of Japanese cinema in the 1950s. He developed his passion for cinema as a child. He originally trained as a photographer and started working at Shochiku Studios in 1933. He was first a camera assistant and then became Yasujiro Shimazu's assistant director. Between 1943, when he made his directorial debut, and 1988, he made 49 films. Most were for Shochiku which was particularly known for "shomin-gekis", everyday stories about the joys and worries of ordinary people that offered a predominantly female audience great identification potential. Kinoshita was extremely prolific and wide-ranging, settling neither on a particular style nor genre, and making melodramas, comedies and historical films that stand out because of the great pleasure he took in experimenting. He was especially drawn to those who had managed to preserve their pure sentiments and innocence, and had a profound sympathy for those who failed to reconcile their feelings with society's demands. This is particularly evident in those of his films set in a wartime context. He was not interested in patriotic heroism at the front but in the silent suffering of the civilian population.
"Looking at my films in order, they present a picture of the post-war era in Japan, of the transition it went through. It seems absurd to me to work without confronting the present, the now. The problems of the present are in my view essential. I make contemporary films for a big audience." (Keisuke Kinoshita)
New copies of five lesser known films by Kinoshita will be screened at the Berlin Film Festival, in the Forum section, and then again by Arsenal. We will also be presenting six of his most famous and popular films before the festival begins.