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

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Programmed by: Chris D.
Special Thanks to: Sarah Finklea & Brian Beloverac/JANUS FILMS; Yoshihiro Nihei/THE JAPAN FOUNDATION; Hideyuki Baba & Yasuhiko Nakajima/TOEI COMPANY; Kenjiro Toba & Shinako Matsuda/NIKKATSU; Masao Kawano & Mr. Takahashi/KADOKAWA PICTURES.

 

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 $10 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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<<< September 6 - 9,  2007 >>>

Japanese Outlaw Masters Return 2007

Co-Presented by the Japan Foundation

 

Discuss this series with other film fans on:
http://www.myspace.com/americancinematheque

This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

More of the wildest, fastest and most uncompromising from the Golden Age of Japanese genre cinema (and many are not on DVD)! We've got SWORD OF DOOM (a sought-after, awe-inspiring and hard-to-see-on-the-big-screen samurai classic) and Shohei Imamura's emotional cyclone of a movie, VENGEANCE IS MINE, about a real-life serial killer; plus a double feature from Seijun Suzuki -- eye-dazzling pop confections, including the action-packed, ultra-mod DETECTIVE OFFICE #23 - GO TO HELL, BASTARDS! As part of our mini-tribute to the late Imamura, we've also got PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS a savagely satirical tragi-comedy about crime in the slums. And don't miss Kon Ichikawa's controverial PUNISHMENT ROOM (all but banned-in-1950's Japan) that surpasses REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE in youth-on-the-rampage pyrotechnics. Strap yourself in and get ready for one helluva ride!

 

Thursday, September 6 – 7:30 PM

Samurai Double Feature:

SWORD OF DOOM (DAIBOSATSU TOGE), 1966, Janus Films, 120 min. Director Kihachi Okamoto made a slew of great films, including KILL!, DESPERADO OUTPOST, AGE OF ASSASSINS, SAMURAI ASSASSIN, and THE HUMAN BULLET – to name only a few! – but his ultimate masterwork is this uncompromising samurai film. It is a riveting, desolate picture, anchored by a mesmerizing portrayal from Tatsuya Nakadai as paranoid killer Ryunosuke Tsukue, an outcast from his family and a hunted man recruited by the notorious Shinsengumi band of assassins. There have been many movie renditions of Kaizan Nakazato’s popular novel The Great Boddhisatva Pass since it first appeared over seventy years ago, but Okamoto’s version in ashen black-and-white scope captures the nihilistic netherworld of the sociopathic swordsman best. Masaru Sato’s music is at the pinnacle of a multitude of great Japanese movie scores from the 1960’s. The supporting cast, including Toshiro Mifune, Michiyo Aratama and Yuzo Kayama, are all excellent. Screenwriter, Shinobu Hashimoto (who co-wrote many of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces) provides an expert distillation, going back to the literary source. If you’ve never seen it on the big screen, it is not to be missed.

THE GREAT MELEE (DAI SATSUJIN), 1964, Toei Studios, 118 min. The literal translation of the Japanese title is "The Great Killing" and, as you might guess, it delivers in spades. Director Eiichi Kudo (THIRTEEN ASSASSINS) helmed this stark samurai allegory of the radical student movement in early sixties Japan and captures this feeling perfectly without sledgehammer proselytizing. A reform activist (Kotaro Satomi) is pulled into a violent fray when an acquaintance hunted by government troops hides in his house. Samurai police burst in, kill the man and attempt to arrest Satomi. Rescued by fellow activists who create a diversion, Satomi is sheltered by a good natured, hard-drinking, apolitical ronin (Mikijiro Hira, of SWORD OF THE BEAST and THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI). A wealthy opposition samurai organizes Satomi, a female ninja, a sex-obsessed priest and a samurai family man, in an effort to assassinate the province’s abusive ruler. However, the cruel, arrogant lord (Kantaro Suga) has an expert swordsman as his bodyguard (Ryutaro Otomo). Consequently, the desperate crew’s unraveling plan devolves into a spectacular bloodbath of repression that will serve as a wake-up call for previously carefree samurai Hira. NOT ON DVD

 

Friday, September 7 – 7:30 PM

Shohei Imamura Double Feature:

PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS (BUTA TO GUNKAN), 1961, Janus Films, 108 min. Director Shohei Imamura’s superlative, atypical yakuza saga of slum waif Jitsuko Yoshimura, her wannabe gangster boyfriend Hiroyuki Nagato, an ucler-plagued gang boss Tetsuro Tanba (THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI) and a plot to sell pigs on the post-WWII black market of their shantytown, dockside inferno. The nearby U.S. military base provides fertile soil for all varieties of crime, including prostitution, narcotics, protection rackets, gambling and black market goods. Imamura’s dark sense of humor integrates perfectly with his trademark sociology-lesson-from-hell realism. The climax where Nagato grabs a machine gun and hijacks the convoy of pigs, only to release them in a porcine stampede in the red light district is simultaneously funny, scary and sad. A matter-of-fact, unsentimental masterpiece. NOT ON DVD

INTENTIONS OF MURDER (AKAI SATSUI), 1964, Janus Films, 150 min. Director Shohei Imamura expertly treads the fine line between a shocking sociological exposť and an uncompromising suspense thriller. Masumi Harukawa is Sadako, a downtrodden housewife, abused by her husband (Ko Nishimura, of SWORD OF DOOM) and mother-in-law. After being raped by a strange intruder (Shigeru Tsuyuguchi), she decides to kill herself. But the rapist returns, expressing his love and, to her own surprise, Sadako begins a passionate affair with her anguished attacker. The tryst awakens Sadako’s awareness of her own power as a woman, and she is finally able to stand up against everyone in her life that is using her to take out their own frustrations. "…a faultlessly constructed model of sophistication, which uses its messy appearance to suggest that beneath the ordered chaos of modernity with all of its artificial constraints, it is characters such as Sadako that provide the beating heart that enables society to continue." – Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye NOT ON DVD

 

 

Saturday, September 8 – 7:30 PM

Delinquent Sociopaths Double Feature:

New 35mm Print! VENGEANCE IS MINE (FUKUSHU SURU WA WARE NI ARI), 1979, Janus Films, 140 min. Based on a true story, this is one of director Shohei Imamura’s most well-known and popular masterworks, and features Ken Ogata in his breakout role as sociopathic killer Iwao Enokizu. Imamura captures tormented Enokizu’s rampage of robbery and murder, effortlessly flowing in-and-out of flashbacks to his past life, with equally astonishing performances from Rentaro Mikuni as his scrupulously Catholic father and Mitsuko Baisho as his lonely, love-starved wife. A great crime film that rises above and beyond the genre, achieving a totality that enables Enokizu’s character to be recognized as a vulnerable human being while still holding him responsible for his brutally amoral transgressions."Movies about actual crimes are usually frustrating because, limited to the facts, they pretend that the facts are enough…VENGEANCE IS MINE transcends those limitations and gives us a portrait of a killer that is poignant, tragic and banal enough to deserve the comparison with Crime and Punishment." – Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times
PUNISHMENT ROOM (SHOKEI NO HEYA) 1956, Kadokawa Pictures, 96 min. Dir. Kon Ichikawa (THE BURMESE HARP; FIRES ON THE PLAIN). A phenomenal, astonishing and pioneering youth film that makes REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE look anemic in comparison. This spectacle of an angry, ego-driven youth (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) haunted by his own emotional impotence and resentment towards his parents, was immensely influential on Japanese pictures that came after - from Nagisa Oshima’s CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH and Seijun Suzuki’s EVERYTHING GOES WRONG to Kinji Fukasaku’s GRAVEYARD OF HONOR & HUMANITY and even Imamura’s VENGEANCE IS MINE. Kawaguchi, intelligent but hating the idea of becoming ‘tamed’ (or grown up) abuses everyone -- his ulcer-ridden bank teller dad (Seiji Miyaguchi, of THE SEVEN SAMURAI), his long-suffering mom, his teachers, his best friends (when they decide to take school seriously) and the girl he fancies (Ayako Wakao, of MANJI). Original story writer Shintaro Ishihara, brother of Nikkatsu Studios superstar Yujiro, had already written several other "sun tribe" (taiyo-zoku) bestsellers about directionless youth propelled by self-will, self-gratification and self-destruction. Two -- SEASONS IN THE SUN and CRAZED FRUIT -- had already been made into films. Parents, teachers and politicians had been grumbling, but PUNISHMENT ROOM was the straw that broke the camel’s back, causing all the studios to put a moratorium on "sun tribe" pictures. Ironically, Ishihara is now a prominent, conservative member of the Japanese government. NOT ON DVD

 

Sunday, September 9 – 7:30 PM

Seijun Suzuki Action Double Feature:

DETECTIVE OFFICE #23 – GO TO HELL, BASTARDS! (TANTEI JIMUSHO NIJUSAN-KUTABARE AKUTODOMO), 1963, Nikkatsu, 92 min. Dir. Seijun Suzuki (TOKYO DRIFTER; GATE OF FLESH). Surreal, ultra-mod nuttiness with hep cool cat Joe Shishido (BRANDED TO KILL) tooling around in an Austin Healey working for detective bureau boss Nobuo Kaneko (BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR & HUMANITY) to break up a band of hoods who have stolen weapons from a U.S. Army base. Much like his other film from 1963, YOUTH OF THE BEAST, Suzuki’s irreverent visual humor breaks free in striking color compositions and action choreography, especially in some riotous nightclub scenes, with a great ‘60s rock/R&B/ Dixieland (!) hybrid score, and, last but not least, a flaming gas jet finale down in villain Kinzo Shin’s cellar. With Tamio Kawaji, Reiko Sassamori. NOT ON DVD

FLOWER AND THE ANGRY WAVES (HANA TO DOTO) 1964, Nikkatsu, 92 min. Director Seijun Suzuki’s classic spin on the traditional ninkyo yakuza genre, with Akira Kobayashi (BLACK TIGHT KILLERS) as a young anti-hero in a coal carters union in the turn-of-the-20th-century Taisho era up against a rival evil gang. He is also caught between the virginal Chieko Matsubara and the more worldly Naoko Kubo. Midway through the saga, his face is slightly disfigured, something which must have wreaked havoc with the sensibilities of matinee-idol/pop star Kobayashi’s younger female fanbase. Also with Tamio Kawaji as a sword-wielding assassin in Zorro-cape-and-hat (!). NOT ON DVD