Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
One of a series of Japanese films shown at Japan House in New York in 1981, the Dancer and the Warrior, filmed in 1956, is another of cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa's successes. The story is set in a popular and well-known historical period in Japan: the end of the 12th century when the cultured Heian imperial court succumbed to the rule of a military dictatorship. By 1185, the Taira clan had lost the civil war with the Minamotos, and the Kamakura period had begun. Two brothers, the younger Yoshitsune and older Yoritomo have guided their Minamoto family to victory. Yoritomo is now the first military ruler in Japanese history, and the film shows the beginning of friction between him and his brother. To make matters worse, Yoshitsune defies his older brother by marrying a classical dancer without asking for his permission. Enraged, Yoritomo harrasses him until Yoshitsune has to flee the region, leaving his new wife behind. She bravely defies the tyrannical Yoritomo, determined not to give in to his abusive treatment. As the film approaches its end, the relationship between the brothers will have to be resolved, as well as the fate of the young wife.