Events

JAPANESE CLASSICS

In conjunction with the 15th Anniversary of the Japanese Film Festival in Malaysia, JFKL is organizing Japanese classic film screenings with the collaboration of Faculty of Creative Writing and Film, Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA).

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Continuing our tradition to bring Japanese greatest films to the Malaysian public, we will screen “The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum” (1939) directed by Kenji MIZOGUCHI, “Late Spring” (1949) and "Early Summer" (1951) directed by Yasujiro OZU in the programme.

Date: 16th 17th March, 2019 (Saturday-Sunday)

Venue: Pawagam Jalan Ampas, 3rdFloor, Faculty of Creative Writing and Film, National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA), 464, Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Admission: Free, no registration required (first come first served basis)

16th March (Sat) 10:30am -1:05pm The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (153 min) 2pm - 3:50pm Late Spring (109 min) 4pm - 4:50pm Introductory Session (Tentative) 5pm - 7:05pm Early Summer (125 min)

17th March (Sun) 11am - 1:05pm Early Summer (125 min) 2pm - 4:35pm The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (153 min)


Photo Credit: 1939/2015 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum / 残菊物語

Kenji MIZOGUCHI / 1939 / 121 min / B&W / Drama (P13)

Synopsis:

Kikunosuke, the adopted son of a legendary kabuki actor, Kikugoro the 5th is being groomed to follow in his theatrical footsteps despite Kikunosuke’s clearly lack of talent. Servant Otoku is the only one concerned about him but the pair soon falls apart due to Kikunosuke’s adoptive mother Osato’s disapproval. When his father fires Otoku, Kikunosuke leaves home to search for her. They start to live together and with her encouragement, Kikunosuke tries to become a great actor as a member of a touring theatre troupe.

Trivia:

  • Selected to be screened in the Cannes Classic Section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
  • 2nd place of Kinema Jumpo’s (Japan’s oldest film magazine) list of best films on 1939.

Director Profile:

“MIZOGUCHI is cinema’s Shakespeare, its Bach or Beethoven, its Rembrandt, Titian or Picasso”.

- James Quandt, Senior Programmer at TIFF Cinematheque

Born in Hongo, Tokyo on 16 May 1898, MIZOGUCHI begin his creative career as an advertisement designer with the Yuishin Nippon newspaper in Kobe. In 1920, he returns back to Tokyo to enter film industry as an actor. Three years after that, he got his opportunity to become a film director under Nikkatsu Studio directing his first movie, The Resurrection of Love (1923).

From 1922 to 1956, MIZOGUCHI has made eighty six films. Among them, The Story of Last Chrysanthemums (1939), Life of Oharu (1952), Ugetsu (1953) and Sansho the Bailiff (1954) are considered masterpieces, universally recognized by film aficionado. From these films, you can trace MIZOGUCHI’s commitment not just to situate his work within Japan’s social and cultural history, but also to preserve the Kabuki style and tradition of Japanese dance in screen. Regularly employ long take and a very rich texture to his films, MIZOGUCHI’s style remain as his distinctive signature compare to other directors of his generation.

Nowadays, Kenji MIZOGUCHI hailed as one of the greatest of Japanese directors alongside with Yasujiro OZU, Akira KUROSAWA and Mikio NARUSE.


Photo Credit: 1949/2015 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

Late Spring / 晩春

Yasujiro OZU/ 1949 / 108 min / B&W / Drama (U)

Synopsis:

Noriko has reached a suitable age for marriage but she is content to carry on looking after her father Professor Somiya. While her aunt Masa busies herself looking for a suitable match, Somiya for a while suspects she is dating his student Hattori. When it transpires that Hattori is engaged to someone else, Somiya conspires with Masa to trick Noriko into thinking that he has decided to re-marry so that Noriko doesn’t have to worry about him anymore. Appalled, she runs away to stay with her friend Aya. Eventually, she goes on an arranged date with someone and agrees to marry him. Father and daughter go on one last holiday to Kyoto.

Trivia:

  • Won Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress awards in Mainichi Film Awards.
  • Number 15 in “The Greatest Films of All Time” 2012 Sight & Sound’s poll published by British Film Institute (BFI).
  • First film of the long-lasting collaboration between OZU and NODA.

Photo Credit: 1951/2016 Shochiku Co., Ltd. Early Summer / Yasujiro OZU/ 1951 / 125 min / B&W / Drama (P13) Synopsis: At a family gathering, Noriko’s boss proposes a prospective marriage candidate to her. Her parents announce their wish to retire to the countryside and are keen for her to marry. One day, Noriko goes to visit her neighbour Yabe, who was the best friend of Noriko’s brother before he was killed in action. Yabe, who works under Noriko’s other brother Koichi, is soon to be transferred to Akita. Yabe’s mother entreats Noriko to marry Yabe, and impulsively she agrees. Her family is shocked and totally against her marrying a widower, with a small child, a modest income and an outpost job. However, eventually, they accept the inevitable. Trivia:
  • Listed among 1000 most acclaimed film in history by aggregation site, They Shoot Picture, Don’t They

Director Profile:

“The night my daughter was born, I came home and put on OZU, I Was Born. There is something about the simplicity, the beauty, the rigor of the framing that gives me another dimension in life.”

-Martin Scorsese, filmmaker

Yasujiro OZU was born in Fukugawa district in Tokyo on 12 December 1903. When he entered of what is now Ujiyamada High School, he frequently skipped school to watch films at the local cinema. In 1923, he becomes an assistant in the cinematography department under Shochiku Film Company. Getting his first chance as a third assistant director at Shochiku studio, he gradually climbs up the hierarchy and was promoted to direct his first (and only) jidaigeki film (period film), Sword of Penitence (1927) his first collaboration with screenwriter, Kogo NODA.

When discussing about Yasujiro OZU and his works, the most common entry point will be Tokyo Story (1953) a wonderful fable about inter-generational relationship. Inspired by 1937 American film Make Way for Tomorrow directed by Leo McCarey, Tokyo Story is widely considered as OZU’s masterpieces and is often cited as one of the greatest films ever made. There is no dispute that there have never been bad films from him.

Over the years, he solidifies his signature through films such Late Spring (1949), Floating Weeds (1959), Late Autumn (1960) and An Autumn Afternoon (1962), maintaining the same theme over and over again conflict between generation, marriage, and domestic drama. His obsession with tatami shot and understated humanistic drama elevates him as an auteur filmmaker.


Setsuko HARA Profile:

“She can act from the very depths of her being, and always has a quick understanding of her part. When I am giving her direction, she always responds intelligently and instinctively, a wonderful natural actress.”

-Yasujiro OZU on Setsuko HARA

Setsuko Hara was born in what is now Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama and made her screen debut when she was 15 years old in Don’t Hesitate Young People! (1935) under Nikkatsu Studios. In her 30 year illustrious career, she is best known for her work with three major directors Akira KUROSAWA, Yasujiro OZU and Mikio NARUSE. Famously known to the world as Noriko in OZU’s films, her performance won acclaim due to her sublime portrayals of woman who follow family duties rather than pursue her own independence.

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