The H-Man (" Bijo To Ekatai-Ningen")

  • Japan
  • 1958
  • 87 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Preceded by a talk with Ed Godziszewski, co-author of the book “Ishiro Honda - A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa”

Notorious criminal Misaki pulls a daring drug heist during a driving rainstorm. When the cops move in on him, Misaki literally vanishes, his clothes inexplicably left behind at the scene. Both the police and the mob put pressure on Misaki’s girlfriend, sultry nightclub singer Chikako, who is the only known link to the gangster. While most expect that Misaki is on the lam, university scientist Dr. Masada develops a radical theory to explain his vanishing act. The Ryujin Maru, a shipping boat that had wandered into an atomic testing zone, drifts into Tokyo Bay with no crew in sight. Dr. Masada believes that the extreme radiation levels encountered by the crew have caused them to undergo physical transformation, becoming liquid organisms that consume other living beings. Humanity’s very existence is threatened by the advent of the H-Man.

Japan’s Ishiro Honda is best known as a filmmaker who brought to the world extraordinary cinematic visions of space travel, super science, mutants, and giant monsters, including the most famous monster in the world, Godzilla. But in fact, his fantastic films represent less than a half of his filmmaking career, which included dramas, documentaries, comedies and more. THE H-MAN is a unique, genre-blending gem that finds Honda leaving his comfort zone for a violent underworld of criminals, cops, narcotics, divas, strippers, and deviants. Grafted onto this lurid backdrop is an eerie tale of jellylike atomic goblins haunting the rainy Tokyo streets. Dark, mysterious, and a tad risqué, this noir hybrid takes its grit from the burgeoning yakuza movies, with clicking Geiger counters exploiting fears of radioactive fallout.

- Ed Godziszewski


Ishiro Honda (1911-1993) is best known as a filmmaker who brought to the world extraordinary cinematic visions of space travel, futuristic weaponry, super science, mutants, and giant monsters, including what is arguably the most famous monster in the world, Godzilla. But in fact, his fantastic films represent less than a half of his filmmaking career. Ishiro Honda was a versatile artist whose repertoire included family dramas, documentaries, light comedies, melodramas, a biopic, a gangster film, and even musical dramas. Personally, Honda apprenticed with, and became a lifelong close friend with, the internationally acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa. While the name Kurosawa may be more famous in critical film circles, the fact remains that the door to the Western world for Japanese films was actually opened by Honda, his films reaching worldwide notoriety and tremendous box office success far in excess of his famous colleague’s efforts, even though the name Honda has remained mostly obscure to the public even today. Come join Ed Godziszewski, co-author of “Ishiro Honda - A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa,” for a knowledgeable and intriguing overview, enhanced with extensive visuals, of the life and career of Ishiro Honda, the most popular Japanese filmmaker whose name the public may not really know.

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