Art House Films from the 60s and 70s
Shinjuku Ecstasy: Independent Films
from the Art Theatre Guild of Japan
Featuring early work by Oshima, Yoshida, Terayama and more!
February 18-March 1, 2009
The Japan Society Film Program presents the Globus Film Series Shinjuku Ecstasy: Independent Films from the Art Theatre Guild of Japan, highlighting 12 remarkable Japanese art house films and introducing the independent filmmaking phenomenon Art Theatre Guild. Curated by eminent Japanese film scholar Roland Domenig and film historian Go Hirasawa, the Shinjuku Ecstasy series runs February 18 through March 1 at Japan Society, and features an introduction and Q&A with curator Roland Domenig on February 18 and an opening weekend party on February 20.
Founded in 1961 as a distributor of European art films in Japan, the Art Theatre Guild (ATG) began co-producing independent films in 1967, and quickly established itself as the leading platform for highly experimental and innovative cinema. For three decades, ATG played a decisive role in the development of art-house films in Japan, often dealing with some of the most controversial subjects of the time including incest, anarchism, homosexuality and gay culture and capital punishment.
Shinjuku Ecstasy: Independent Films from the Art Theatre Guild of Japan focuses on the first decade of ATG and on the Shinjuku Bunka, ATG's flagship theater, which formed a unique intersection of filmmakers and artists of all kind in Shinjuku, considered the center of Japan’s vibrant counterculture in the 60s. Although many famed filmmakers such as Oshima, Yoshida, Shinoda and Shuji Terayama gained international recognition through their films made in cooperation with ATG, the Art Theatre Guild is still little known outside of Japan.
Schedule February 18th thru 22nd:
©1971 Art Theater Guild of Japan Co., Ltd./Jinrikihikosha
Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30 pm
1971, 137 min., 35mm, color.
Written and directed by Shuji Terayama.
With Hideaki Sasaki, Masaharu Saito and Yukiko Kobayashi.
The internal chaos and uncertainty of a young man and his dysfunctional family is captured in fragmented and imbalanced images. Playwright and theater director Terayama's first feature film is a psychological study of alienation and a plea for sociopolitical revolution of the 1960s countercultural generation.
Introduced by and Q&A with series curator Roland Domenig.
Funeral Parade of Roses / Bara no soretsu
Friday, February 20 at 7:30 pm
1969, 105 min., 16mm, b&w.
Written and directed by Toshio Matsumoto.
With Peter, Yoshio Tsuchiya and Osamu Ogasawara
This dizzying and sardonic version of Sophocles' Oedipus set in modern Tokyo's gay milieu is a parodic and aesthetically delirious deconstruction of conventional, oppositional politics and a milestone of Japanese queer cinema.
Followed by the Shinjuku Party. Tickets for this special screening are $15/$12 Japan Society members, students & seniors. FREE for audience members who arrive in fabulous retro kimono or vintage 60s style!
Death by Hanging / Koshikei
Saturday, February 21 at 3 pm
1968, 117 min., 35mm, b&w
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
With Kei Sato, Fumio Watanabe and Masao Adachi
In this first film planned and produced by ATG, Oshima's subversive and provocatively absurd reconstruction of the murder crime of a young Korean man, who is executed but refuses to die, is an ingeniously conceived farce on intolerance, assimilation and capital punishment.
Silence Has No Wings / Tobenai chinmoku
Saturday, February 21 at 5:30 pm
1966, 100 min., 35mm, b&w
Directed by Kazuo Kuroki
With Mariko Kaga, Minoru Hiranaka and Shoichi Ozawa
Following the journey of a caterpillar along the Japanese islands from Nagasaki to Hokkaido, this allegorical and oblique first feature film by Kuroki depicts in exquisite images a series of encounters and life's turning points.
Eros plus Massacre / Erosu + gyakusatsu
Sunday, February 22 at 3 pm
1970, 167 min., 35mm, b&w
Directed by Yoshishige (Kiju) Yoshida
With Mariko Okada, Toshiyuki Hosokawa and Yuko Kusunoki
Yoshida's dense and self-reflexive film about the anarchist Sakae Osugi, who was killed in the wake of the great Kanto earthquake of 1923, explores the obscure intersection between reality and fiction, history and memory, anxiety and revolution in the wake of the collapsed left movement.
Tickets are $11/$7 Japan Society members, students & seniors, except the February 20 screening including the Shinjuku Party.
For the complete Shinjuku Ecstasy schedule, trailers, and links to order tickets, click here.