Standard: HKD 85
Concession: HKD 68
Founded by performer Den Tagayasu in 1971 on Japan’s Sado Island, The Ondekoza was an art commune known for its harsh training, strict discipline, virtuosic brilliance, and radical pursuit of traditional drumming practices. Featuring Tai Kato’s signature extreme low-angle shots and epic mises en scène, the film is a testament to the interdisciplinary and collaborative spirit of the period. Recorded on location, The Ondekoza boasts a score by Fluxus composer Toshi Ichiyanagi and stage design by artist Tadanori Yokoo. A feast for the senses, this documentary is Kato’s last feature as a director and a final portrait of the troupe before it splintered in the late 1970s. The subsequent emergence of an eponymous group contributed to complicated copyright issues. The film remained virtually unseen for decades until its production company Shochiku restored the work in 2016.
About the Director
Tai Kato (1916–1985, Japan) was a director and screenwriter recognised for his works with Toei Company during the 1960s. Having worked as an assistant director on Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950), Kato became specialised in making hardboiled yakuza and samurai (chambara) films, including Red Peony Gambler: Flower Cards Match (1969) and Red Peony Gambler: Oryu's Return (1970).
Image at top: Tai Kato. The Ondekoza, 1981. Photo: Courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd.