"A Brazilian classic" . . a moving and heroic chronicle
of Japanese emigration to Brazil at the turn of the century with
filmmaker Tizuka Yamasaki in attendance.


Japan, 1908: Hunger, unemployment and a new spirit of adventure triggered by the military victory over Russia send thousands of Japanese in search of new lands and new dreams.

São Paulo, Brazil: Coffee plantations are "booming", providing opportunity for foreign investment and the promise of prosperity for immigrant workers.

Two young war veterans, Yamada and Kobayashi, drawn by tales of great fortune and prosperity in Brazil, decide to leave home and seek their future in the coffee-rich boom town of São Paulo. Since immigration was made easier for family units, the friends decide that Yamada should marry Kobayashi's 16 year old sister, Titoe. Titoe reluctantly leaves her home in Japan.

The Brazilian reality is harsh. The group of immigrants finds work on a huge coffee plantation ruled by the iron fist of foreman Chico Santos, who treats them with open hostility. They find friendship, however, with other newcomers - a family of Italians and workers from other parts of Brazil.

Tonho, the plantation's accountant, feels great sympathy for the Japanese and is romantically attracted to Titoe. She is aware of Tonho's feelings, but is deeply bound to her social and cultural roots.

The driving survival force for the immigrants, especially the Japanese, is the dream of returning to their homelands with wealth, but as their difficulties grow - physical hardships, epidemics, social injustices - the disappointment of shattered dream drives some to suicide. Yamada dies in an epidemic leaving Titoe with their young daughter. With nothing left to lose, Titoe emerges as the strength of her people and leads them in an escape.

Tonho, as part of the search party, discovers the frightened and exhausted Tiroe in hiding and tenderly tries to convince her to return. Determined, she instead confronts Tonho with his own unspoken desire to escape. He lets her go and covers the escape by setting fire to the fields.

Years later they meet again by chance. Their lives have changed and so has the country that they are helping to build.

Notes on the Director and Performers

TIZUKA YAMASAKI began studying cinema at the University of Brasilia but graduated in 1975 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She began her professional cinema activities as assistant director to Nelson Pereira dos Santos on Amulet of Ogum (1975). She also worked as a technician on several other films, including Soledade, Tent of Miracles and A Idade da Terra. Gaijin is her first feature-length film as a director.

JIRO KAWARAZAKI (Yamada) graduated from the Actor's Training Center in Haiyuza in 1966. He has performed in more than twenty plays and also appeared in several television series and films.

KYOKO TSUKAMOTO (Titoe) graduated in 1976 from the Actor's Training Center in Haiyuza. She has performed in plays and on television. Gaijin is her feature film debut.

YURIKO OGURI (Mrs. Nakano) is a 1957 graduate of the Actor's Training Center. She has appeared in more than thirty plays. Her best-known film roles are in War and Humanity, Karamiai and Arai Umi.

ANTONIO FAGUNDES (Tonho) is a well-known actor in cinema, theater and television. His films include A Compadecida, Doramundo and Oe? Gatinhos. He is one of the principal actors in the TV series, Carga Pesada.

LOUISE CARDOSO (Angelina) comes from Maria Clara Machado's Tablado Theater, where she starred in numerous plays. Her film appearances include 0 Seminarista, Se Segura Malandro and 0 Coronet e O Lobishomem. She is currently seen in the TV series, Marrom Glace.

GIANFRANCESCO GUARNIERI (Enrico) is one of the most important playwrights in Brazilian theater. His works include Um Grito Pesado no Ar, As Memorias de Marta Sare, Arena Conta Zumbi, Castro Alves Pede Passagem and Elea Não Usam Black-Tie. He has also written screenplays - Grande Momento and Jogo da Vida are two of his biggest successes - and composed music.

ALVARO FREIRE (Chico Santos) began his film career as a production director. t)cher film in which he has appeared include Lucio Flavo and Coronel Delmiro Gouveia.

JOSE DUMONT (Ceara) has had major roles in such films as Morte e Vida Severina, Tudo Bem, Se Segura Malandro and Coronel Delmiro Gouveia.

CARLOS AUGUSTO STRAZZER (Dr. Heitor) is a well-known name for Brazilian TV viewers, having starred in several series. He has also appeared in the theater.

Back to New Vision Film