Cinema Japan: A Wreath for Madame Kawakita

11/1/08 to 12/17/08

Celebrating the centenary of Madame Kashiko Kawakita, a “roving ambassador” who brought Japanese cinema to international attention-and to PFA-over many decades, this eclectic twenty-four-film showcase offers a journey through highlights of Japan's postwar cinema.

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  • Branded to Kill, November 7

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Past Films

  • Intentions of Murder

    • Wednesday, December 17 7:00 PM

    A neglected housewife is raped by an intruder with whom she develops a bizarre relationship. “Imamura gazes at her in quiet awe.”-N.Y. Times

  • A Last Note

    • Sunday, December 14 2:00 PM

    Shindo's autumnal masterwork about an elderly theater actress vacationing at her mountain villa is a tribute to dignity in the face of aging.

  • Where Spring Comes Late

    • Sunday, December 14 4:15 PM

    A miner takes his family from sunny western Japan to wintry Hokkaido in Yamada's touching drama.

  • Tokyo Drifter

    • Friday, December 12 6:30 PM

    Suzuki's free-jazz version of a yakuza tale is a fabulous collection of surrealist set pieces and mind-warping visual gags.

  • Violence at Noon

    • Friday, December 12 8:20 PM

    Oshima weaves the story of a serial killer into a chronicle of the failure of idealism (and Japan's socialist movement). “Grandly idiosyncratic.”-N.Y. Times

  • Black Rain

    • Sunday, December 7 2:00 PM

    Focusing on the psychological toll on one family, Imamura “treats the medical horrors of post-atomic Hiroshima with a tense, sorrowful reserve.”-N.Y. Times

  • Onibaba

    • Sunday, December 7 4:30 PM

    Two women lure samurai to their deaths in one of the key works of the Japanese New Wave and a great influence on the recent “J-Horror” wave.

  • Boy

    • Friday, December 5 9:00 PM

    Nagisa Oshima's New Wave classic is a furious indictment of the desperation in Japan's postwar economy. “Weird, beautiful, and terrifying.”-The Observer

  • The Ceremony

    • Wednesday, December 3 7:00 PM

    Oshima's audacious family saga is nothing less than the history of the postwar Japanese state. “Makes contemporary cinema look puny by comparison, so dense and complex its achievement.”-Cinematheque Ontario

  • Tora-san's Sunrise and Sunset

    • Sunday, November 30 3:00 PM

    A Japanese populist classic from Yoji Yamada's Tora-san series. Our bumbling proletarian hero has adventures in the Tokyo suburbs and in the arts.

  • Zigeunerweisen

    • Saturday, November 29 5:00 PM

    Seijun Suzuki weds surrealism to ghost story to evoke the late 1920s in Japan as a period of changing mores akin to Weimar Germany.

  • Her Brother

    • Friday, November 28 8:40 PM

    Kon Ichikawa's powerful family drama, set in the Taisho era, with virtuoso performances by Kinuyo Tanaka and Keiko Kishi.

  • Ode to Mount Hayachine

    • Sunday, November 23 2:00 PM

    A mystical mountain provides the setting for Sumiko Haneda's fascinating documentary look into Japanese folklore and tradition.

  • Akiko-Portrait of a Dancer

    • Sunday, November 16 3:00 PM

    Sumiko Haneda turns her expert lens on dancer Akiko Kanda in this portrait of creativity, individuality, and rebellion.

  • The Yellow Handkerchief of Happiness

    • Friday, November 14 6:30 PM

    Screen icon Ken Takakura is a parolee making his way home to Hokkaido in Yoji Yamada's 1977 favorite, a fun and sentimental road trip through Japan's back country.

  • Vengeance Is Mine

    • Friday, November 14 8:35 PM

    Imamura's portrait of a serial killer is ”through its very plainness and dire clarity, a dark poem of bottomless need.”-N.Y. Times

  • Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa

    • Sunday, November 9 3:00 PM

    The story of a samurai's revenge depicted on a famous Edo-period Japanese painting is cinematically brought to life.

  • Naked Island

    • Friday, November 7 6:30 PM

    A family struggles against the elements on a windswept island in Kaneto Shindo's highly visual epic. “One of the most beautiful cinematic poems the Japanese cinema has given us.”-Pariscope

  • Branded to Kill

    • Friday, November 7 8:30 PM

    Seijun Suzuki's absurdist gangster thriller seems as wildly perverse now as it did in 1967. “One of the most bizarre movies ever made.”-AllMovie Guide

  • Ikiru

    • Wednesday, November 5 7:00 PM

    In Kurosawa's humanist masterpiece, an ordinary civil servant discovers what it means to live. This Japanese Everyman was perhaps Takashi Shimura's greatest role.

  • Rashomon

    • Sunday, November 2 3:00 PM

    Visual proof of the relativity of truth, Kurosawa's legendary film is still a revelation.

  • A Full-Up Train

    • Sunday, November 2 5:00 PM

    Ichikawa's delightfully black comedy satirizes corporate culture in '50s Japan.

  • Stray Dog

    • Saturday, November 1 6:30 PM

    Toshiro Mifune is a driven detective in Kurosawa's bravura Tokyo noir. “A bona fide masterpiece.”-Time Out

  • Enjo

    • Saturday, November 1 9:00 PM

    Kon Ichikawa's stunning adaptation of Mishima's best-selling novel about an acolyte who sets fire to Kyoto's Golden Pavilion. With Raizo Ichikawa, Tatsuya Nakadai.