On the Road
In 1963, Japan was in the midst of it's long period of high economic growth and Tokyo was busy revamping it's urban infrastructure. When most were celebrating the economic expansion, Noriaki Tsuchimoto focused his analytical gaze on the life of one taxi driver. What he saw were miserable and unhealthy labor conditions, a Tokyo littered with traffic jams and construction work, a city where traffic accidents were multiplying and pedestrians unsafe. Coupling the tense visuals with impressive music, Tsuchimoto likens this supposedly new Tokyo to a skeletal wreck. ON THE ROAD was originally commissioned as a traffic safety film with the Metropolitan Police as one of the sponsors. But it actually had a double existence: in reality Tsuchimoto was also working with the drivers union. When a police official finally saw the film, he dismissed it as "useless-the plaything of a cinephile," and so it was never used for it's original purpose. While winning numerous awards abroad, including at Venice, it was shelved in Japan for nearly 40 years.