Banka (Northern Elegy). 1957. Japan. Directed by Heinosuke Gosho. Screenplay by Toshio Yasumi, Toshio Yuki, based on a story by Yasuko Harada. With Yoshiko Kuga, Masayuki Mori, Mieko Takamine. 35mm. In Japanese; English subtitles. 116 min.
As Heinosuke Gosho so brilliantly evoked throughout his career, best intentions can lead to terrible consequences, and acts of cruelty and kindness are sometimes perceived as one and the same. Such intricate paradoxes are what distinguishes Northern Elegy, Gosho’s Sirkian melodrama of a doomed love triangle—and the conflicted friendship between two women—in a Hokkaido port town at first springtime thaw. 35mm print from the National Film Archive of Japan; courtesy Shochiku