Masumura, Yasuzō (1924–1986) By Amit, Rea
Masumura Yasuzō was a Japanese film director, scriptwriter, and critic. He started his career at the Daiei Studio, as an assistant, most notably to the directors Mizoguchi Kenji and Ichikawa Kon. After one fo his essays won him a scholarship, Masumura went on to study film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Italy. During his time there he continued publishing articles, including a regular column in the film magazine, Kinema Junpō. In his writing on film, Masumura praised much of European cinema while simultaneously leveling harsh criticism against almost all Japanese films, blaming them for being too slow and emotionally repressed. He was eager to bring radical changes to filmmaking in Japan, namely speed, the sense of an individual subject, and the open expression of human desire. He attempted in the first films that he directed to incorporate such innovations. During his long tenure as a studio director at Daiei in the 1960s Masumura continued to challenge Japanese cinematic conventions, working within defined film genres, such as yakuza, war films, and jidaigeki [period drama], as well as directing several adaptions of famous novels. In the early 1970s he left Daiei to work as a direct or for other production companies, including Shōchiku, Tōhō, and ATG.