Toshio Matsumoto b. 1932
Mothers (1967)
Duration: 35:55

Matsumoto explains the style of "Mothers" which does not seem to be as radical a work as his previous films. --"Matsumoto: At the time of Song of the Stones I was being hung out to dry by the industry and couldnt make any films. Thats why I made a couple projects for TV at the beginning of the 1960s. In those days television stations had not yet established their own televisual cultural codes so artists from outside the TV industry like Terayama Shuji Tanikawa Shuntaro and the late Abe Kobo and Inoue Mitsuharu had opportunities to make single programs. The Song of Stones was like that but I had trouble with the station afterwards over what the style should have been. Soon it was like I was prohibited from entering any studio and this inability to make either films or TV programs continued for about three and a half years. With no other options I directed theater with the Gekidan Seihai for a while. -That meant Mothers was my first chance to shoot a film in a long time. If I caused trouble again I would probably have never made a film again. Well that being the case the premise was that I wouldnt do anything excessive. Furthermore the sponsor asked me to make something that would win an award at a foreign film festival. I couldnt promise it would win a prize because that was up to others but I did start off by saying that I didnt want them to get unreasonably involved in the content since films with a chance of winning were those that did not smell like sponsored films. If they left it up to me for now I would make a good film with common appeal that had potential to win an award. But if I then went overboard with a radical style it would have probably been hard to win an award. In that sense I told myself not to rush things that I first had to reestablish myself in the film world. So what I made was a lyrical easy-to-understand film in the style of a cine poem. -But in terms of the period I did treat issues like the Vietnam War and discrimination against blacks taking the point of view of mothers and children around the world and making a film where the contradictions between East and West North and South rose to the fore. Luckily--I dont know if you can say that--the result was that it took the grand prize at the 1967 Venice International Documentary Film Festival. So I at least kept my promise and in fact it did give me the opportunity to make other films like Funeral of Roses ("Bara no soretsu" 1968). Or For My Crushed Right Eye ("Tsuburekakatta migime no tame ni" 1968) which used three projectors and I remember was shown at the Yamagata Film Festival. Well if Mothers hadnt won an award I couldnt have moved off in that direction. " ---Score by Joji Yuasa