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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 16, 2000. All rights
Film: Japanese New Wave
Japanese `New Wave’ Cinema," a 10-week series of
classic and rare films began this month, presented by Princeton
East Asian Studies Program. The new series comes on the heels of last
year’s resoundingly successful debut, "Classics of Chinese Cinema
1933 to 1949," that brought together community film buffs and
interested members of the expatriate community.
This week’s screening, on Monday, February 21, features She and
He, a 1963 fictional drama by documentary director Hani Susumu
about an unhappy newlywed. With a social consciousness and eye for
detail, Susumu depicts the psychological and emotional travails of
a young woman discontent with her new life in a high-rise complex
who befriends a slum-dweller living in poverty with his dog and a
blind orphan. By reminding the young wife of her own lonely days as
an orphan in Manchuria, the relationship exacerbates her ambivalent
feelings toward her new middle-class life.
Princeton professor Christine Marran, who teaches contemporary
literature and film, says the 1960s was a time of political unrest
in Japan. "These directors are thinking about problems of American
cultural imperialism, and the fallout from Japanese imperialist
before and during the war. Through themes of sex of violence, they
are not only raising a critical voice toward Japan’s authoritative
institutions, they are also posing new alternatives." This is
accomplished, she says, through intense stories, many set in the
of society, focusing on poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised
The term "new wave" is loosely applied in Japan, where film
is not a highly valued form. As in the French "new wave" film
of the same decade, the medium is foregrounded. However, whereas the
French wave is not explicitly political, the Japanese work is.
Also notable is the way that the tradition of Japanese theater arts
is reconfigured through film. Marran says you can identify the
use of the "freeze-frame" moment derived from traditional
Kabuki theater. And in "Double Suicide" of 1969, Masahiro
Shinoda adapts a classic of the Bunraku puppet theater of the 1700s
to film. "The director transforms the tradition into film giving
it a wonderful three-dimensionality that it doesn’t have in the
Although the major works of Akira Kurosawa, arguably Japan’s best
known director in the U.S. were made in the 1940s and ’50s (his 1951
"Rashomon" won the Venice film prize, bringing his work to
international audiences), his work is represented in the series by
the rarely-seen "Dodes’kaden" (1970), his first film in color.
This hypnotically beautiful work is set in a slum community, Kurosawa
joins the "new wave" directors in their theme of
and rare films that began this month, presented by Princeton
East Asian Studies Program, screens Mondays, at 7 p.m., in the James
Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau Street. Free. 609-258-5722.
February 21. Street of Shame (1956), Kenji Mizoguchi’s last
film, set in a Tokyo brothel, that is credited with bringing about
the abolition of prostitution in Japan in 1957, Monday, February 28.
Gate of Flesh, March 6. Death By Hanging, Monday, March
Suicide , Monday, April 10. Farewell, Ark, Monday, April 17.
Dodes’kaden, Akira Kurosawa’s first film in color, April 24.
Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center. Screenings are Fridays through
Sunday in Scott Hall, Room 123, College Avenue campus. Thursday
are in Loree Hall, Room 024, Douglass College campus; with selected
free events at Borders Books, Route 18 South, East Brunswick. Films
are $5, $8, & $10; all programs begin at 7 p.m. Call 732-932-8482.
juried show of its kind that attracts entries from across the U.S.
and abroad, $6, Friday to Sunday, February 18 to 20. Friday’s
"Stretchmark," about a single mother, by Veena Sud of Jersey
City; and "Contretemps of Christmas," a dark holiday tale
by Natasha Uppal. Saturday: "Bright Idea," a short by Nate
Millimeter of Mercerville in which boredom leads to a shocking
and "More Intimacy" by Chun-Hui Wu of San Francisco. Sunday:
"Ready to Bare," a parable about freedom; and "Close to
Home" about growing up black and gay in a conservative family.
Weekly screenings of 13 films, Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., at
Kresge Auditorium, Princeton University. $55 series; $5 single
Brandon Teena won her the Golden Globe’s best actress award, directed
by Kimberly Peirce, Wednesday, February 16. Lolita, Adrian
1998 remake, with Jeremy Irons, Frank Langella and Melanie Griffith,
Wednesday, February 23.
Confirm titles with theaters.
a. AMC, Loews, Mercer, Montgomery, Regal.
against experience on the football field, where Al Pacino plays a
curmudgeonly coach. AMC.
him to remove his shirt. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.
accidentally enters Malkovich’s mind. MarketFair.
of John Irving’s 1985 best-seller. AMC, Regal.
Generation-Y romance. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair,
play an adulterous couple during World War II. AMC, Loews,
finds himself obsessed with master criminal Ashley Judd. AMC,
Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Montgomery, Regal.
star recruited by aliens to save their planet. AMC, Destinta,
East Windsor, Loews, MarketFair.
in the story of a woman’s commitment to a mental hospital. AMC,
Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.
in a story about an innocent man with miraculous powers. AMC,
Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.
crime sting. Loews, Regal.
boxer framed for a murder. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.
of `Valley of the Dolls’ author Jacqueline Susann. AMC,
starring Tom Cruise. AMC.
`Friday.’ AMC, Destinta, Loews.
thriller with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Montgomery.
return. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Garden, Mercer, Montgomery,
star in Matthew Waschus’ adaptation of the Sam Shepard play. AMC,
a boy who communicates with the dead. M. Night Shyamalan directs.
AMC, Destinta, Mercer.
Loews, Montgomery, Regal.
starring Ethan Hawke and Youki Kudoh. East Windsor,
White’s mouse to the big screen. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer,
about a stellar jazz guitarist with a troubled private life. Sean
Penn plays the musician. MarketFair.
star in this thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel. AMC,
Loews, Mercer, Regal.
voices of Jim Cummings and John Hurt. AMC, Destinta, Loews,
Gilbert and Sullivan. AMC, Garden, Mercer, Montgomery,
Hanks and Tim Allen. AMC, Loews.
AMC Hamilton 24 Theaters, 325 Sloan Avenue, I-295 Exit
65A, 609-890-8307. 24-screen, stadium-seating multiplex. $7 adults;
$5 matinees; $5 twilight.
Destinta, Independence Plaza, 2465 South Broad Street,
Hamilton, 609-888-4500. Stadium-seating 12-screen multiplex. $6.75
adults; $5 matinees.
East Windsor Cinemas, Routes 130 and 571, 609-443-9295.
$3 adults; $2.50 matinees. Features Indian language films.
Garden Theater, 160 Nassau Street, 609-683-7595. $6.50
adults; $4 matinees.
Loews Theaters, Route 1 South, New Brunswick,
$8.50; $5.25 matinees.
MarketFair-UA,Route1, 609-520-8700. $7.50; $4.75
Mercer Mall, Route 1, 609-452-2868. $7.25 adults; $4.75
Montgomery Center Theater, Routes 206 and 518,
609-924-7444. $7 adults; $4.25 matinees.
Regal Cinemas, 319 Route 130 North, East Windsor,
Stadium-seating, 15 screens. $8; $5 matinees.
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