Digital Film Major Screenings — Wednesdays

Screenings times: Wednesdays, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Perry 240
Contact: Professor Huixia Lu, hlu@champlain.edu

DFM presents…Japanese Cinema: Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu

Read more about the filmmakers below.

This semester’s screenings focus on the work of the three masters before and after WWII. Each auteur had a distinguished style. Their body of work will expose the audience to a variety of themes and cinematic expressions, set in the historical context of certain times in Japan. There will be discussions after each film.

September 5
I was born But… (1932, Yasujiro Ozu) – 100 mins,

September 12
Sister of the Gion (1936, Kenji Mizoguchi) – 69 mins

September 19
No Regrets for Our Youth (1946, Akira Kurosawa) – 110 mins

September 26
Late Spring (1949, Ozu) – 108 mins

October 3
Life of Oharu (1952, Mizoguchi) – 148 mins

October 10
Stray Dog (1949, Kurosawa) – 122 mins

October 17
Tokyo Story (1953, Ozu) – 136 mins

October 24
Rashomon (1950, Kurosawa) – 88 mins

October 31
Ugetsu (1953, Mizoguchi) – 97 mins

November 7
Seven Samurai (1954, Kurosawa) – 207 mins

November 14
End of Summer (1961, Ozu) – 103 mins, color

November 28
Throne of Blood (1957, Kurosawa) – 109 mins

December 5
Ran (1985, Kurosawa) – 160 mins, color

Note: The films and schedules are subject to change.

About the filmmakers:
About Yasujiro Ozu:
Yasujiro Ozu has often been called the “most Japanese” of Japan’s great directors. From 1927, the year of his debut for Shochiku studios, to 1962, when, a year before his death at age sixty, he made his final film, Ozu consistently explored the rhythms and tensions of a country trying to reconcile modern and traditional values, especially as played out in relations between the generations. Though he is best known for his sobering 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story, the apex of his portrayals of the changing Japanese family, Ozu began his career in the thirties, in a more comedic, though still socially astute, mode, with such films as I Was Born, But . . . He then gradually mastered the domestic drama during the war years and afterward, employing both physical humor and distilled drama. His trademark rigorous style—static shots, often from the vantage point of someone sitting low on a tatami mat; patient pacing; moments of transcendence as represented by the isolated beauty of everyday objects—has been enormously influential among directors seeking a cinema of economy and poetry.

About Akira Kurosawa:
Arguably the most celebrated Japanese filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa had a career that spanned from the Second World War to the early nineties and that stands as a monument of artistic, entertainment, and personal achievement. His best-known films remain his samurai epics Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, but his intimate dramas, such as Ikiru and High and Low, are just as searing. The first serious phase of Kurosawa’s career came during the postwar era, with Drunken Angel and Stray Dog, gritty dramas about people on the margins of society that featured the first notable appearances by Toshiro Mifune, the director’s longtime leading man. Kurosawa would subsequently gain international fame with Rashomon, a breakthrough in nonlinear narrative and sumptuous visuals. Following a personal breakdown in the late sixties, Kurosawa rebounded by expanding his dark brand of humanism into new stylistic territory, with films such as Kagemusha and Ran, visionary, color, epic ruminations on modern man and nature.

About Kenji Mizoguchi:

“Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director’s supreme achievement. This haunting tale of love and loss–with its exquisite blending of the otherworldly and the real—is one of the most beautiful films ever made. Sisters of the Gion follows the parallel paths of the independent, unsentimental Omocha (Yoko Umemura) and her sister, the more tradition-minded Umekichi (Yoko Umemural), both geishas in the working-class district of Gion. Mizoguchi’s film is a brilliantly shot, uncompromising look at the forces that keep many women at the bottom rung of the social ladder.

— Criterion Collection

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