Plains Wanderer

introduction and comments by Michael Raine
Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 7:00pm
In the nine-part Wanderer series (1959-1962), Akira Kobayashi plays Taki, a man with the looks of a Western hero -- from a horse to fringe, a guitar and even a trusty bullwhip -- traveling on Japan's back roads. Recycling genre conventions already familiar to most American audiences, but with a Japanese twist, "Eastern Westerns" like Plains Wanderer were a popular subgenre within Nikkatsu Action, most of them featuring a good-hearted hero battling injustice against the majestic backdrop of various exotic (touristic) locations around the margins of Japan. (Buichi Saito, 1960, 83 minutes) Michael Raine, Assistant Professor in Japanese Cinema, discusses "national allegory" in the film and the historical context of the film's release after the failed "Anpo" protests of 1960. Namhee Han, PhD Candidate in Cinema & Media Studies, talks about Korean "Manchurian Action" films that have direct and indirect connections to these "films without nationality." 35mm print courtesy of Outcast Cinema.