Japanese Girls at the Harbor

Gabriel Thibaudeau is the official composer and pianist for La Cinémathèque québécoise in Montréal. His performed compositions include a ballet score, and a new score for Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North, arranged for flute, Inuit throat-singers, soprano, bass, and percussion, which he conducted at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

(Minato no nihon musume). The “foreigner bars” and Christian schools of Yokohama provide an appropriate backdrop to this sophisticated tale of bar hostesses, schoolgirls, and murder. Dora and Sunako are close friends attending a Christian girls' school, but soon a Eurasian dandy is breaking up their friendship with promises of love. Shimizu pulls out the tricks of Shochiku's Kamata studio, which specialized in exotic melodramas and a cheerfully modernist style: sophisticated tracking shots, formalized repetitions of shots, optical fades, and references to Western influences, such as the art deco dialogue titles and characters with names like “Henry.” The film's simultaneous fascination with and distrust of its mixed-race characters (Ureo Egawa was part German, Yukiko Inoue part Dutch) lends further interest, as do the many documentary-like images of the streets and harbors of Yokohama, one of the key ports of entry to Japan from the West.

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