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Close Encounters
Donald Richie Lúcia Rocha

An Evening with Donald Richie
With Live Musical Accompaniment by Sabana Blanca
October 5 (Friday) 8 pm

Dead Youth

Directed by Donald Richie
Japan 1967, 35mm, b/w, 14 min.

Noted authority on Japanese cinema Donald Richie made a series of experimental, “personal” films of his own during the 1950s and 1960s. Based on a poem by Mutsuro Takahashi, hisDead Youth is a lyrical meditation on time and memory that explores the grief-stricken actions of a group of men in response to the death of a friend. The recurring image of the young man’s body washed by the sea forms the basis for this reflective, universal elegy. 

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Screens with Dead Youth (see above)

A Page out of Order (Kurutta Ippeji)

Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa
Japan 1926, 35mm, b/w, silent, 60 min.
With Masuo Inoue, Yoshie Nakagawa, Ayako Iijima

Lost until 1971, Teinosuke Kinugasa’s 1926 avant-garde masterpiece A Page Out of Order provides a fascinating, if unique, glimpse of Japanese silent film. Made by the artistic pioneer whose Gate of Hell (1953) would later help to bring his country’s cinema to the attention of the West, the film relates the story of a seaman who takes a job as janitor in a mental asylum in order to free his wife, incarcerated after a suicide attempt that succeeded only in drowning their baby son. Using no intertitles to relay his disturbing tale, Kinugasa relies soley on visual invention—“expressionistic” camera angles, unearthly lighting enhanced by sets that were painted silver, penetrating close-ups, and superimpostions. This startling work of radical invention easily rivals the most advanced avant-garde practices of the West, although these could not have been known to Kinugasa at the time.

American-born novelist, essayist, and film scholar Donald Richie has been a resident of Japan for more than half a century. His numerous books on Japanese culture (including The Inland Sea and A Lateral View: Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan) and cinema (among them, Japanese Cinema: An Introduction and Ozu) have been instrumental in bringing an understanding of Japanese society and cinema to Western audiences and remain classics in the field.

This program is presented with the generous assistance of the Japan Society of Boston. Live musical accompaniment is provided by local ensemble Sabana Blanca, with Takaaki Masuko on percussion, Johannes Ammon on violin, and Andrew Blickenderfer on bass.

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Due to concerns about travelling during the current time of crisis in
America, Lucia Rocha has, with profound regret, postponed her visit to
Boston. We hope to be able to reschedule Lucia Rocha's visit next year
in conjunction with a full Glauber Rocha retrospective.

October 25 (Thursday) 8 pm

The Mother

Brazil 1998, video, color, 16 min.
Directed by Fernando Bélens
Portuguese with English subtitles

This rarely seen documentary traces the life and work of Lúcia Rocha, mother of the legendary Brazilian director Glauber Rocha.

screens with The Mother (see above)

Antonio des Mortes (O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro)

Brazil 1969, 35mm, color, 95 min.
Directed by Glauber Rocha
With Maurico Do Valle, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvana
Portuguese with English subtitles

Characterized as “one of the great troublemakers of modern cinema” by the late critic Serge Daney, filmmaker Glauber Rocha was the guiding spirit of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement and its most prominent—and polemical—theorist and practictioner. He brought to international attention a unique and highly personal vision of the complex problems of Third World culture and the possibility for an authentic cinema freed from the enslaving influence of the “language of foreign films—particularly North American movies.” When he died prematurely in 1981 at the age of 43, Rocha left behind a rich artistic legacy: in addition to ten feature films and numerous shorts (including many Super-8 works still largely unseen), there were novels, paintings, poems, letters, unrealized screenplays, theoretical writings, and voluminous journalistic prose. Part folk epic, part political allegory, Antonio das Mortes—seen here in a newly restored print—is the story of a gunman hired by a feudal landlord to eliminate the leaders of a peasant rebellion and his transformation from hired assassin to rebel leader.

We are honored to host a very rare appearance by Dona Lúcia Rocha, mother of Glauber Rocha and director of Tempo Glauber, the museum in Rio de Janeiro she founded to help preserve and foster awareness of her son’s work. Now 83, Lúcia Rocha continues to devote her extraordinary energies to this task. 

The Harvard Film Archive thanks the following for their generous support for tonight’s presentation: The Consulate of Brazil in Boston, Japan Airlines, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, Terra Brasilis and Mr. Paulo Guedes, and Martin Scorsese. 

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