A Tale of Archers at the Sanjusangendo

Filmed during the final months of World War II, as Tokyo lay in ruins, this Edo-period drama is both remote from the war and marked by its presence. (The production was interrupted by the conflict so many times, Naruse reportedly wondered whether it would ever be finished.) Following his father's ritual suicide after losing an archery competition, a young man devotes his life to training as a bowman, and receives assistance from an unlikely source: the current archery champion whose record he hopes to break. The tale of martial skill is steeped in tradition, marking a departure from the usual Naruse territory of contemporary lives and problems, yet rich in the melodrama and sacrifice that fuel so many Naruse plots.

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