Mr. Thank You, December 10|© Shochiku Co., Ltd.
In this famous melodrama, Mizoguchi strips away the romantic veneer of the geisha business, both in the story and in a stark visual style that capitalizes on visual elements of the Gion district.
A thoroughly modern niece disrupts the lives of a professor and his socialite wife in Ozu's splendid satire on Tokyo's suburban bourgeoisie. "Wry, affectionate, and ironic."-Donald Richie
"Mr. Thank You is the driver of a bus chugging its way through the hills and villages of rural Japan. Shooting entirely on location, Shimizu merrily tracks along the winding paths, accompanied by some favorite American tunes to while away the journey. Irresistible."-NFT, London
Live Musical Accompaniment by Mark Izu and Friends. Gosho's beautiful, fresh adaptation of Yasunari Kawabata's novel about the romance between a dancer in a touring troupe and a college student, set in the mountain resorts of the Izu peninsula.
In an Osaka sparkling with the seductive allure of capitalism, Mizoguchi depicts the humiliations of a switchboard operator who adapts to the times. Isuzu Yamada stars in "Mizoguchi's most brilliant pre-war film."-Joan Mellen
Gabriel Thibaudeau on Piano. "A knockout. Shimizu's stunning tale of passion, crime, and decadence [is an] exhilarating triumph of . . . experimental style [and] also a precious portrait of the great port city of Yokohama."-Village Voice
The story of 20th-century Art Theater actress Sumako Matsui is emblematic of a woman who refused to conform to traditional Japanese values of the period. Kinugasa directs this star turn for the great Isuzu Yamada, "a complete performer."-David Owens
Gabriel Thibaudeau on Piano. Teinosuke Kinugasa's experimental films from the '20s have a place in any international history of the avant-garde. Here, his virtuosic style animates a tale of innocence betrayed in 18th-century Yoshiwara.
Gabriel Thibaudeau on Piano. Kinugasa's early avant-garde masterpiece uses techniques we would normally associate with German Expressionism and Russian montage to create a hallucinatory story of love set entirely in an insane asylum. "As intense, mysterious, poetic, and technically inventive as Dr. Caligari."-The Observer
"Mizoguchi's female icon of the '30s, Isuzu Yamada . . . [in] the essential Mizoguchi fable about a worthy woman destroying herself for a worthless man."-Village Voice. Our print has recorded benshi narration and orchestral score.
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Ozu's Depression-era melodrama rehearses his later style in "a subtle riot of discordant formal devices."-Village Voice
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Minoru Murata's brooding tale of power, passion, and violence evokes 1870s Yokohama in darkly atmospheric images.
Set in 1926, a watershed year on the cusp of the Taisho and Showa eras, Seijun Suzuki's sequel to Zigeunerweisen concerns a playwright, a businessman, and a ghost. It has been hailed for its "luminous images and fierce eroticism."-London Film Festival
Tokyo's lively Asakusa district comes alive in Naruse's wonderful portrait of three modern girls who try to break away into love and marriage. Based on a Kawabata novel.
Naruse's warm, funny-sad tale of a girl who tries to unite her poetess mother and estranged father "is presented with a simplicity and a seriousness. . . . The result is one of the most moving films I know."-The Nation
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Beautifully choreographed fight scenes highlight this tale of treachery, conspiracy, and doomed love in a samurai clan. With a fragment from Daisuke Ito's Slashing Swords.
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Ozu's stylish comedy of petty thieves, con men, and flappers.
Japan's first talkie is filled with sounds, as Gosho constructs a satirical comedy around the distractions experienced by a middle-class couple in their new home.
Shimazu was an early master of understated irony, and this picture of a middle-class family was "carefully calculated by the director to give the effect of eavesdropping on life itself."-Donald Richie
Seijun Suzuki weds French Surrealism to Japanese ghost story, hypnotically evoking the late 1920s as a period of changing mores in Japan akin to Weimar Germany.
Michael Mortilla on Piano. A story of two geishas, one aging, one starting out, shows "Naruse's genius for combining a lyrical realism with his feminist sentiments."-William M. Drew. With a fragment from Mizoguchi's Rising Sun.
Michael Mortilla on Piano. Ozu satirizes Taisho chic and nostalgia in this gleefully ribald comedy about a collegian who passionately loves his beard and despises all modern ways. But then he shaves . . .
Michael Mortilla on Piano. A fascinating look at Tokyo in 1925, after the Great Kanto Earthquake. With the most complete extant version of Mizoguchi's Tokyo March.
Michael Mortilla on Piano. Takako Irie stars in Mizoguchi's tale of delicate passion and crushing irony, detailing a woman's plight in Meiji-era Japan.
Michael Mortilla on Piano. From 1921, this Western-influenced melodrama directed by Ryoha Hatanaka is a key example of Japan's "pure film" movement.
Donald Sosin on Piano. Introduced by Akira Tochigi and Fumiaki Itakura. Shimizu's romantic melodrama is notable for its stylish modernist sets. With short The Sumida River.
Donald Sosin on Piano. Introduced by Akira Tochigi. This city symphony documents Tokyo's recovery after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
Donald Sosin on Piano. Introduced by Fumiaki Itakura. Neorealist in tone, Murata's fascinating film (based partly on Gorky's Lower Depths) was Japanese cinema's first modern work, and its first work of social criticism. Denmei Suzuki stars.
Donald Sosin on Piano. Introduced by Akira Tochigi. This saga of murder, detection, and double identity recalls the picaresque adventures of Fantomas and other French crime serials, which were popular in Japan. With short To the Reborn Imperial Capital by Airship.