Skip to main content

THE ISLAND

Japan, 1961 (MIFF 1962)

Director: Kaneto Shindo

On the tiny arid island in the Sea of Seto, a family of four—a man and his wife and their two small children, Taro and Jiro — are the sole inhabitants. The land is hard and unyielding yet they cultivate it from shore to hilltop, harvesting wheat in the spring, sweet potatoes in the summer. Every day they journey by boat to fetch water and laboriously climb to the slopes where the crops sprawl in dry soil, apportioning a third of a pannikin to each plant. Every seed is sown and every crop harvested by hand.

The drama of this family's everyday life, and their continual struggle for subsistence is played without speech. Music and the sound of wind and waves give relief to the prevailing silence, and it is this creative use of silence which emphasizes their preoccupation with basic existence. The slow, repetitive shots of figures toiling uphill perhaps give similar emphasis to the monotony of the days and years. The Island has been likened by overseas critics to Flaherty's Man of Aran. It was awarded the Grand Prix (ex-aequo with Clear Skies) at the 1961 Moscow Film Festival. The director, Kaneto Shindo, is known in Australia for his Children of Hiroshima.

See also...

KURONEKO

Two women, raped and killed by barbarian samurai, have become vampires. They lure samurai into a country hut with promises of love and then, in vengeance against all samurai, tear their throats open ... More »

STRANGULATION

Kaneto Shindo has been represented at previous Melbourne Film Festivals by such diverse works as The Island and Kuroneko and his latest film again veers off into a new area, the high-powered domestic ... More »

HOKUSAI MANGA

The film describes the life of Hokusai, the famous woodblock print artist well known for his "36 Views of Mt Fuji", who lived during the latter half of the Edo period of Japan Among all his woodblock ... More »

Clap Vocalism

The fociissed importance animated process is used in this two minute repetition of half a dozen fearful pictures of man at the mercy of his spouse who had him chained, caged and pummelled into ... More »

YOJIMBO

In the middle of the 19th century, at Namome, on a highway north of Edo, crime is rife. Sanjuro, a wandering Samurai, arrives to find the village decimated by some long lasting feud. Hansuke, a petty ... More »

RED BEARD

At the end of the Tokugawa Period, a young man returns to Edo after several years' study at a Dutch medical school in Nagasaki. Told to make a formal call at the public clinic and pay his respects to ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director