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March 18 - April 15, 2002

Classics of World Cinema


March 18 (Monday) 7 pm


Directed by Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang
China/Japan 1990, 35mm, color, 95 min.
With Gong Li, Li Baotian, Li Wei
Mandarin with English subtitles

A fatalistic, Oedipal fable of an abusive husband, his new bride, and the adopted nephew who falls in love with her, Zhang Yimou’s Ju Dou is a disturbing tragedy that counts pyromania and manslaughter among its dramatic developments. Zhang, trained as a cinematographer, creates visually stunning, edenic landscapes and then exposes the hellish realities beneath them. Banned in China on its initial release, the film went on to win numerous international film awards, including a nomination for best foreign language film at the1990 Academy Awards.

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April 1 (Monday) 7 pm


Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Japan 1954, 35mm, b/w, 120 min.
With Eitaro Shindo, Kinuyo Tanaka
Japanese with English subtitles

An intensely lyrical, uncompromising study of tragedy and psychic degradation, Sansho the Bailiff is among Mizoguchi’s great masterpieces. The story, set in eleventh-century Japan, concerns a mother who sets off with her two children in search of her exiled husband. When the three are kidnapped, the mother is sent to become a courtesan, and the children are sold into slavery to the cruel Sansho of the title. After a decade of subjugation and tragedy, the son, spiritually restored by a Buddhist monk, sets out to avenge his family’s sufferings by aiding humanity.

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April 15 (Monday) 7 pm


Directed by Satyajit Ray
India 1955, 35mm, b/w, 115 min.
With Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee
Bengali with English subtitles

Adapting a popular novel by Bhibuti Bashan Bannerjee and finding inspiration in Italian neorealism, the films of Jean Renoir, and the work of writer/philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, Ray set out to establish a new artistic cinema for India. Telling the story of a poor Bengali scholar and his wife and two children, Pather Panchali employs real-life exteriors and an array of professional and nonprofessional actors to take us deep into the world of the family and its children, who venture out to discover the wonders and difficulties of life, the pettiness of humanity, and the violence of nature.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700