Sharon Hayashi is assistant professor of cinema and media studies at York University, Toronto. She is currently finishing a manuscript on the travel films of Hiroshi Shimizu.
(Keisatsukan). The only Uchida silent to survive complete, Policeman created immense excitement at the Pordenone and Tokyo FILMeX festivals with its visual flourishes and pell-mell energy, its combination of street realism, stylistic expressionism, and tropes of the Hollywood crime film. Foreshadowing Kurosawa's sweaty Stray Dog, Policeman opens as a rookie policeman performs a random road check and discovers an old high school buddy. The cop learns that his old/new friend is now a golf fanatic and man of leisure who is strangely elusive about his source of income. The policeman soon suspects his pal of criminal activity, and so begins a gripping tale of pursuit, with thrilling chase scenes, nocturnal gun battles, and tense sequences of cat-and-mouse trailing. At times wildly expressionistic, Policeman plays its modernist visuals off old-fashioned calls to duty and self-sacrifice. “The homoerotic undertones of the central relationship are subversive compensation for the government-sanctioned use of a gang of Communists as the villains” (Alexander Jacoby).