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Week of September 20, 2010

Don’t miss: Film series celebrates director Akira Kurosawa

“Re-Viewing Kurosawa” is the theme for the Center for Japanese Studies Fall 2010 Film Series opening Friday.

In the 1950s, Akira Kurosawa led Japanese cinema onto the world stage, impressing viewers and critics with the emotional depth and the technical adroitness of his films. On the centennial of his birth, this series provides a chance to see Kurosawa’s classics again. They include his early samurai films, shown in fresh, new 35 mm prints.

The films start at 7 p.m. and are screened in Askwith Auditorium, Lorch Hall. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.

The series opens Friday with “Rashomon,” 1950, 88 minutes. A revisionist take on the samurai genre, of which Kurosawa was a master, this film destabilizes truth by allowing four people to retell their versions of the murder of a man and the rape of his wife. By winning first prize at the 1951 Venice Film Festival, “Rashomon” signaled the arrival of Japanese film in the West.

The series continues Oct. 1 with “Ikiru,” 1952, 143 minutes. A dying man learns how “to live” (ikiru), choosing a small act of worth that transcends the mundane preoccupations of his prior life. Critics have called this the jewel of Kurosawa’s humanist cinema.

Some lectures presented this fall in the CJS Noon Lecture Series will address Kurosawa. They include the Sept. 23 lecture by Paul Anderer, Columbia University, “Rashomon’s Shadow,” and a Sept. 30 talk by Dolores Martinez, University of London, “Where the Heart Goes Astray: Guilt and Responsibility in Rashoman and Ikiru.” They are presented in Room 1636, School of Social Work.

The film series continues Oct. 8 with “Seven Samurai,” 1954; Oct. 15, “Throne of Blood,” 1957; Oct. 22, “Hidden Fortress,” 1958; Oct. 29, “High and Low,” 1963; Nov. 5, “Yojimbo,” 1961; Nov. 12, “Sanjuro,” 1962.

For 35 years, CJS has offered a free annual film series. For more information e-mail umcjs@umich.edu.

This series is made possible with help from the Criterion Collection/Janus Films.

 

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