American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for Over 80 Years!

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a Jan./Feb. Calendar!

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a Feb./March Calendar!

Series compiled by: Chris D. & Dennis Bartok.

 

Special Thanks to:

Kaai Nishida/THE JAPAN FOUNDATION; Sarah Finklea/JANUS FILMS.

 

SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

 

 

All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< March 4 - 6, 2005 >>>

Elegies of Moonlight And Rain: The Cinema of Kenji Mizoguchi

Screenings of these films will take place at the Aero March 9 - 12, 2005.

 

Born impoverished in 1898 Tokyo and exposed first-hand from an early age to the systematic oppression of women in Japanese society – his sister was sold as a geisha and his father abused his mother and sister – pantheon film director Kenji Mizoguchi had numerous influences molding his worldview. From his early silent films such as A PAPER DOLL’S WHISPER OF SPRING (KAMI NINGYORU NO SASAYAKI, 1926) through his first sound masterworks such as OSAKA ELEGY (NANIWA EREJI, 1936) and STORY OF THE LAST CHRYSANTHEMUM (ZANGIKU MONOGATARI, 1939) through such final treasures as UGETSU (1953) and SANSHO THE BAILIFF (SANSHO DAYU, 1954), Mizoguchi emerged with a body of work that is as sublimely timeless as it is transcendental, rising above the aggression and exploitation found in the world-at-large. A painstaking attention to period detail as well as lighting, frame composition and long, unbroken takes coupled with his intuitive outlook and empathy for his characters, reveals a simple poetry of supernatural power. Along with Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, Mizoguchi remains at the pinnacle of not just Japan’s motion picture legacy, but of international cinema. "He is the Japanese director I admire and respect the most…He never compromised. He never said, "This’ll be enough."…he continually pushed every element until it reached his own vision." – Akira Kurosawa.

We are pleased to present this short retrospective of some of Mizoguchi’s most enduring masterpieces.

 

 

 

Friday, March 4 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

UGETSU (UGETSU MONOGATARI), 1953, Janus Films, 94 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. An ambitious potter (Masayuki Mori) and his devoted spouse (Kinuyo Tanaka) as well as a kindred couple (Eitaro Ozawa, Mitsuko Mito) are torn apart by the civil war chaos of 16th century Japan. Both men realize their material dreams but at a tragic cost to their respective mates. In particular, Mori’s shallow success is reflected in his delirious romance with a ghostly noblewoman (Machiko Kyo), an affair that will drive him to the brink of madness. A poignant evocation of missed opportunities and the illusory nature of worldly desires as well as one of the most haunting depictions of the supernatural ever committed to celluloid. Winner of the 1953 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion Award. "If poetry is manifest in each second, each shot filmed by Mizoguchi,it is because…it is the instinctive reflection of the filmmaker’s creative nobility…the director of UGETSU MONOGATARI can describe an adventure which is at the same time a cosmogony." – Jean-Luc Godard. >> Also playing at the Aero on March 11.

STORY OF THE LAST CHRYSANTHEMUM (ZANGIKU MONOGATARI), 1939, Janus Films, 148 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. Chagrined to learn that his acting success in 1885 Tokyo’s theatre world is entirely due to his father’s reputation, novice thespian Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayanagi) leaves his troupe to blaze his trail in the hinterlands, rising and falling solely by his own merits. Soon he is joined by Otoku (Kakuko Mori), a former family servant fired for her honesty and the budding romance between the two. Regarded as one of Mizoguchi’s finest films.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 10.

 

Saturday, March 5 – 5:00 PM

LIFE OF OHARU (SAIKAKU ICHIDAI ONNA), 1952, Janus Films, 137 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. Based on one of Japan’s most revered novels, the 17th century The Woman Who Loved Love by Saikaku Ihara, Kinuyo Tanaka is Oharu, a samurai’s daughter expelled from her station as a lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Palace for falling in love with a man below her rank. Driven into exile along with her parents, she soon resorts to being a kept woman, then finally a common prostitute. Mizoguchi expertly walks a tightrope, delivering an unflinching study of a sensitive woman’s emotional brutalization without manipulative sentimentality. Another masterwork. With Ichiro Sugai, Toshiro Mifune.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 12.

 

Saturday, March 5 – 8:00 PM

Double Feature:

STREET OF SHAME (AKASEN CHITAI), 1956, Janus Films, 87 min. Maestro director Kenji Mizoguchi’s swansong is a moving portrait of post-WWII working class prostitutes in Dreamland, a Tokyo brothel. Machiko Kyo, Ayako Wakao, Aiko Mimasu and Michiyo Kogure supply only a few of the outstanding performances as Mizoguchi crosscuts through a patchwork quilt of sagas, sympathetically but unsentimentally examing each woman’s plight and dreams for a better life.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 12.

SISTERS OF THE GION (GION NO SHIMAI), 1936, Janus Films, 95 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. Yoko Umemura and Isuzu Yamada portray two sisters who are both geishas in the Gion district and have vastly different attitudes towards men. Umekichi (Umemura) is idealistic and genuinely in love with her bankrupt suitor, but Omocha (Yamada) is a mercenary creature always unscrupulously manipulating to elevate both their incomes. However, Fate has less-than-kind futures in store for both siblings. Mizoguchi brilliantly manages to chart a universal course not just particular to Japanese women but all people exploited by economic forces outside their control.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 11.

 

Sunday, March 6 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature:

SANSHO THE BAILIFF (SANSHO DAYU), 1954, Janus Films, 120 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. In medieval Japan, a decent noble family is splintered when the father, the compassionate provincial governor is exiled. The mother is sold into prostitution and the son and daughter shipped to the slave labor camp of oppressive Sansho The Bailiff (Eitaro Shindo). Kinuyo Tanaka, Kyoko Kagawa, Akitake Kono, Noriko Tachibana, Yoshiaki Hanayanagi all turn in splendid performances, perfectly embodying the slow grind of degradation and ultimately the transcendence of suffering as times passes. One of Mizoguchi’s most enduring classics.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 9.

OSAKA ELEGY (NANIWA EREJI), 1936, Janus Films, 90 min. Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. Ayako (Isuzu Yamada) becomes her boss’s mistress to financially assist her wayward father and student brother. But her efforts go largely unappreciated by her family and set in motion a new spiral of catastrophes. Mizoguchi’s first acknowledged masterwork is a simple tale transformed by his intuitive mise-en-scene and the inspired performances into an emotionally devastating powerhouse.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 12.