In 1922 (Taisho 11), one year before the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, poor young anarchists gathered secretly…. In the year of 2013, the 90th anniversary of the slaughter of a prominent thinker and activist of Taisho era Osugi Sakae and the Great Kanto Earthquake, widely known director Suzuki Seijun’s long-cherished wish was finally realized by the highly appraised cinematic poet Yamada Isao. In the upheaval of the Taisho era, youths who dreamt of revolution organized an anarchist organization called “Guillotine Society” to build a world of maximizing personal freedom. But the funds of their activities mostly came from blackmailing big corporations and all of their attempts at terrorism failed… Yamada demonstrates his unique world view in his depiction of the youth as they actually lived and their sentiments. The title “Sturm und Drang” comes from an innovative movement in German literature, as typified by young Goethe, taking place in the latter half of 18th century.

Staff and Cast

Director Yamada Isao started his career at an experimental theatrical troupe “Tenjo Sajiki” of Terayama Shūji. He designed arts and costumes for movies Terayama directed. His first feature film “I’ve Heard the Ammonite Murmur” (1992) was invited to the International Critics’ Week of Cannes Film Festival, and he has made over 100 movies, mainly 8mm films. In 2004, his movies were featured in the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. He is highly appreciated abroad. The cast members are not only strong and/or unique actors and actresses, but also various musicians, performers, and cartoonists. Members of a theatrical company “Syonen Oja Kan” are involved in this movie as both staff and cast. Its chairperson Amano Tengai is also known as a director of a masterpiece short movie “Twilights” (1994) which was recognized at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

The Story

In the winter of 1922 (Taisho 11), a poet and social activist Nakahama Tetsu (Jitsunashi Satoru) returned from a wandering journey to reunite with Furuta Daijiro (Hirokawa Takeshi) and other comrades. They organized an anarchist organization “Guillotine Society” dreaming of revolution. For their ideal, they targeted the Prince of Wales who visited Japan, but failed in all their attempts. Matsuura Emile (Nakamura Emiko), a soba selling mysterious woman with all foreseeing eyes, comes and goes before them. In September of 1923 (Taisho 12), under martial law, anarchists Osugi Sakae (Kawase Youta) and Ito Noe (Kawada Natsumi) whom members of Guillotine Society adored were taken by Captain Amakasu of the military police, and killed. When they learned of the murder, members of Guillotine Society swore vengeance, and rose up… Then, transcending time, at a cafe, music rings loud….

Director:Yamada Isao’s Profile

Yamada Isao was born in Hokkaido, 1952. He joined an experimental theatrical troupe “Tenjo Sajiki” of Terayama. He took charge of art and costume designs in Terayama’s movies. His first film “Subaru no Yoru” (Night on Pleiades) (1977) won a prize at Off-theater Film Festival (later the name changed to Pia Film Festival). Until now, he has made over 100 movies, mainly 8mm films. With motifs of the borderline between reality and dream, he draws pictorial world of nostalgia. The images with his unique world view have attracted critics worldwide, and some of his works are archived in foreign art museums and universities. He is also a cartoonist and book designer. The unique handwritten font used in the title of this movie is called Yamada Font which has ardent fans. In 2013, after an interval of 10 years, he finished a feature film “Sturm und Drang.”

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Director’s Filmography

  • 1974 Death in the Country / Den’en ni shisu (directed by Terayama Shūji) : Art Staff.
  • 1977 Boxer / Bokusā  (directed by Terayama Shūj): Art Support.
  • 1979 Grass Labyrinth / Kusa-meikyū (directed by Terayama Shūji) : Production Design.
  • 1984 Farewell to the Ark / Saraba hakobune (directed by Terayama Shūji) : Costume Design.
  • 1992 I’ve Heard The Ammonite Murmur /Anmonaito no sasayaki wo kiita: Screenplay / Director.  ○International Critics’ Week of Cannes Film Festival
  • 2000 Moon Globe Boy / Gekkyugisyounen: Director.  ○International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
  • 2003 Evaporation Trip Diary / Jōhatsu tabi nikki: Screenplay / Director.
  • 2014 Sturm Und Drang: Screenplay / Director.
Evaporation Trip Diary / Jōhatsu tabi nikki