※ The screening of Sunflower will be followed by the lecture.
Sunflower(1970) is the late representative work of Italian neorealist master Vittorio De Sica, who is also known for his masterpiece Bicycle Thieves which should not be missed. It depicts the tragic fate of a young couple separated by war, and the scene of the sunflower field that spreads out on the screen has become a huge hit worldwide, leaving a strong impression with Henry Mancini's music. The cast included Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, and Ludmila Savelyeva. The film was highlighted as Mastroianni, who used to have a playboy image, played the role of a soldier who became a victim of tragedy, and Savelyeva, a beautiful Soviet actress who captivated the audience in the film “War and Peace,” played an ordinary Ukrainian woman from a rural area. In the late 1960s, when the film was produced, it was still a time when East and West were still sharply opposed, so it was difficult for Western filming teams to shoot and produce in the Soviet Union and release it. The story is a typical melodrama, but it can be seen that it contains the desperate desire for the thaw of the East and West camps as well as world peace. More than 70 years after the end of World War II and nearly half a century after its release, the film is drawing attention again in the face of war in Ukraine. This is because it lets us know the reality that the war is not over and some tragedy is underway. It is a work that the younger generation must see.
Regarding this work, I would like to introduce The Truce (1996, co-produced by Italy, Germany, France, and Switzerland) made by the Italian director Francesco Rosi. The original work is The Armistice by Auschwitz's surviving author Primo Levi. Levi, an Italian Jew, was liberated naked as if he were thrown into the wilderness when the Auschwitz camp was liberated by the Soviet army. Since then, the film depicted his journey of hardship from traveling in western Russia, including Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, to his hometown in Italy after eight months, and it can be called the “Epic poem of the 20th Century.” However, it is not just a song of joy that has been freed from hardship and revived. Full of bitter warnings, it is a story of deep insight regarding human existence. In other words, it is the first chapter of the epic poem from the “Poison War” starting from World War II and continuing on to the present, “a war that leads to a stream that does not end.” In addition, the difference between the original can be problematic, however, it is a work worth looking at carefully with this as a critical point. (SUH Kyung-sik)
Suh Kyung-sik was born in 1951 in Kyoto, Japan as the second generation of Zainichi Koreans living in Japan. He is a writer and honorary professor after retiring from Tokyo University of Economics. His major books include My Pilgrimage to Western Art, Boy's Tears, Finding Primo Levi, a Witness of the Ages, The Diaspora Journey, Dancing at the Boundary (co-authored by Tawada Yoko), etc.