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A Very Japanese Holiday…

December 10, 2010

For this holiday season, I was just browsing my usual film venues for special events and I came across a few that are very interesting. Now I have a strong affinity for old school Japanese cinema (and especially Kurosawa but let’s not get into that or else we’ll be here for a while) but with finals and a lot of other business, I totally forgot to mention these awesome screenings (hopefully I’m not too late!):

At the Film Forum, the Toru Takemitsu festival is in progress screening his most important works. For those of you who don’t know, Takemitsu was the Ennio Morricone of Japan, scoring works for greats such as Nagisa Oshima, Masaki Kobayashi, Kon Ichikawa, Hiroshi Teshigahara, and of course Akira Kurosawa. The line up is incredible and it would be a shame for you to miss an opportunity to see these movies in theaters. My personal favorites are Harakiri, Samurai Rebellion, and Ran (which just got a new 35mm restoration last year so the quality is amazing). Pitfall and Face of Another (by Teshigahara) are two other mind blowing films but, unfortunately, they already screened.

Det. Konakawa as Akira Kurosawa in Paprika

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is doing a memorial screening for the late Satoshi Kon, Japan’s great animator (second only to Hayao Miyazaki) whose life was cut short by pancreatic cancer just earlier this year. He was only 46 and in his prime as an artist. The memorial screening will take place on the 22nd and show Perfect Blue and Paprika, two AMAZING films. Perfect Blue made such an impression on director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) that he bought the American remake rights just so he could use scenes from that film for Requiem for a Dream. Paprika is also said to have inspired this year’s blockbuster film, Inception (which just came out on Blu-Ray last Tuesday).

Also another noteworthy event at the same venue is that screenwriter/director Jerzy Skolimowski will be in NY for an in house talk! Before making his directorial debut, he wrote scripts for Polish greats such as Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski (although the latter’s personal life is questionable).

At the Japan Society, they will be screening Kon Ichikawa’s great Fires on the Plain tonight at 7:30 pm. If you can’t catch that, make sure to see Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, an interesting World War II film starring rockstars, Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Bowie. Click HERE for the full program.

Also make sure to go to the Hunter Film and Media Guild’s film festival which is next Friday at 7 pm in the Lang Recital Hall! Click HERE for the facebook event!

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