With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ACF 926: Yakuza lecture & film screening at Japan Society tonight starting at 6:30 PM

Japan Society will be presenting two programs tonight. At 6:30 PM, journalist and author Jake Adelstein will give a talk entitled Yakuza in Popular Media & Real Life: Cracks & Chasms. It will be followed by a screening of the yakuza film Onibi: The Fire Within.

Adelstein is the only American journalist to have gained admittance to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club. For many years, he wrote for the Yomiuri Shinbun, the newspaper with the largest circulation not only in Japan, but the world. He chronicled his experiences in his book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, which was published in 2009 It provides a rare look into real yakuza culture in Japan, as opposed to the image the yakuza want to project, thereby revealing much about how the major groups really function and what the taboos are of depicting yakuza in Japan.

I came across Adelstein's book several weeks ago, and put it on my "to read" list, which is almost as long as my "DVDs to watch" list. When I learned of his lecture, I bought the book and began to read it immediately. It's both incredibly informative and interesting, and I say this as someone who is not particularly interested in "true crime" reads. Also Adelstein strikes me as someone who's as honest as anyone can be. How else to describe someone who admits that he was probably responsible, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, for the rape, torture, and murder of one of his sources?

So I'm going on advance record as stating that Adelstein's talk is sure to be fascinating. And whether you make it there or not, give serious thought to checking out his book.

Onibi: The Fire Within © 1997 GAGA Corporation

Onibi: The Fire Within
Directed by: Rokuro Mochizuki
Starring: Yoshio Harada, Reiko Kataoka,
Sho Aikawa
, and Ko Kitamura
Japan, 1997, 101 min., 35 mm, color
In Japanese with live English subtitles

Onibi will be shown at 8:15, following Adelstein's talk.

Coming from a man who started his career as a porn director, this is a surprisingly spare and emotionally savage film. Often regarded as Rokuro Mochizuki's masterpiece, Onibi injects both sexual passion and subdued sentiment into the macho world of yakuza cinema. Within the confines of the genre, Mochizuki artfully builds a parable of implacable fate, probing the leading performer's inner life with a calm intensity that is almost unparalleled. Noriyuki Kunihiro (Yoshio Harada, in one of his most unforgettable roles) is a yakuza who has just spent half a lifetime in prison, doing time for a double murder. Although his former acolytes try to tempt him back into the fold, he prefers to put his aging but still strong body to more honest work. He finds love in the person of young pianist... and trouble soon follows.

Part of the Globus Film Series:
Hardest Men in Town: Yakuza Chronicles of Sin, Sex & Violence

Lecture only: $12/$8 Japan Society members, seniors & students
Film only: $12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors & students
Lecture & Film: $16/$12 Japan Society members

Special offer for Lecture & Film available only at Japan Society Box Office or by telephone at (212) 715-1258. Offer not available online. Advance sale only.

Buy Film Only Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm.

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