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Friday, Jan. 15, 2010

Classic Japanese films show in Tokyo with English subtitles

Special to The Japan Times

The Kawakita Memorial Film Institute is sponsoring screenings of classic Japanese films, all with English subtitles, at the National Film Center in Tokyo from Jan. 14-31.

Titled "A Wreath for Madame Kawakita," the screenings are being held in honor of Kashiko Kawakita (1908-1993) who, together with her husband, Nagamasa, pioneered the distribution of European films in Japan, starting in the prewar period, while introducing Japanese films abroad.

Their company, Towa-Shoji, was the predecessor of Toho-Towa, today a major foreign-film distributor.

Madame Kawakita was also active in preserving and disseminating Japanese films through her film library.

Today her work is being carried on by the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute and the National Film Center, a division of the National Museum of Modern Art, located a two-minute walk from Kyobashi Station on the Ginza Line.

The screenings at the National Film Center are of movies by eight Japanese directors who are all recipients of the Kawakita Award, which is given annually to individuals or organizations that have contributed to the development and diffusion of Japanese films and Japanese culture.

The films to be screened include "Stray Dog" (Nora Inu) and "Ikiru" by Akira Kurosawa, "Boy" ("Shonen") and "The Ceremony" ("Gishiki") by Nagisa Oshima, "The Island" ("Hadaka no Shima") and "Onibaba" by Kaneto Shindo, "Intentions of Murder" (Akai Satsui) and "Vengeance Is Mine" ("Fukushu Suru wa Ware ni Ari") by Shohei Imamura, "Ode to Mount Hayachine" ("Hayachine no Fuji") and "Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa" ("Yamanaka Tokikwa") by Sumiko Haneda, "Conflagration" ("Enjo") and "Her Brother" ("Ototo") by Kon Ichikawa, "Where Spring Comes Late" ("Kazoku") and "The Yellow Handkerchief" ("Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi") by Yoji Yamada and "The Tokyo Wanderer" ("Tokyo Nagaremono") and "Zigeunerweisen" by Seijun Suzuki.

Screenings are ¥500 for adults. For screening times check the National Museum of Modern Art Web site at www.momat.go.jp/english/ and click "A Wreath for Madame Kawakita."

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