Rebirth of the Capital

Donald Sosin has been enthralling audiences with his silent film music for over thirty years. Among his many commissions for scores and film festival appearances, he performs each year at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival and is the pianist for the 2005 New York Film Festival's tribute to Shochiku.

Akira Tochigi is curator of film at the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

(Teito fukko, a.k.a. Rebirth of the Imperial Capital). Seven years after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Bureau of Capital Recovery commissioned a feature-length film from Shochiku to describe the recovery of Tokyo, the modern capital. Capturing the post-quake chaos, the film includes some reenactment sequences, with the help of special effects and drawings. One section of the film features an office worker as its leading character, and documents his urban life on weekdays and weekends in the manner of a fiction film. The footage of the most advanced means of public transportation, orderly designed streets, and stylish urban living are interwoven via rhythmic montage, clearly displaying the influence of “city symphony” films such as Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927), which had been widely released in Japan.

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