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Masterpieces of World Cinema


January 6 (Monday) 7 pm

Tokyo Story

Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Japan 1953, 35mm, b/w, 134 min.
With Chishu Ryu, Chiyeko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara
Japanese with English subtitles

Ozu’s sad, simple story of generational conflict is often regarded as the filmmaker’s greatest achievement and a landmark in the practice of narrative cinema. In precisely composed images that detail the objects and spaces of daily life, Ozu presents the story of an elderly couple who pay a visit to various busy, self-absorbed offspring in Tokyo. Their presence is met with indifference and ingratitude, revealing permanent chasms in the fabric of the family structure. Ozu’s examination of the slow fracturing of the contemporary Japanese family is filled with quiet resignation and the realization that tradition is subject to change.

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January 13 (Monday) 7 pm

Vertigo

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
US 1958, 35mm, color, 128 min
With James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

Perhaps the most masterful achievement of a highly celebrated career, Vertigo (the director’s personal favorite) is a multi-layered summary of Hitchcock’s prime obsessions: the fear of physical and psychological intimacy and of mortality. Set in San Francisco, the film stars James Stewart as a retired police detective suffering from a severe fear of heights who is hired by an old friend to keep an eye on his wife (Novak). In the process, he becomes obsessively attached to his ward and is drawn further and further into a web of guilt and deception. One of Hitchcock’s most poetic films, Vertigo opens onto questions of identity and illusions as it weaves a powerful visual document of psychological states.

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