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February 24 – February 26, 2017

Three Films by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

The Harvard Film Archive welcomes back Happy Hour director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (b. 1978) for a screening of three earlier works that showcase the filmmaker’s fascination with the performative and theatrical dimensions of cinema and everyday life. In Hamaguchi’s hands, the figures of the photographer’s model, stage actor and dancer central to The Depths, Intimacies and Touching the Skin of Eeriness each offer alternate perspectives onto that subtle intertwining of performance and presence that is the mysterious quintessence of screen acting. Whether working with professional actors such as Hoshi Ishida or the first-time actresses and students in Happy Hour and Intimacies, Hamaguchi similarly achieves a gentle understatement of tone and meaning that gives rich nuance to his subtle yet deeply emotional screen dramas.

Co-presented with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard. Special thanks: Theodore C. Bestor, Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology and Stacie Matsumoto, Assistant Director—Reischauer Institute; Becca Voelcker—Film and Visual Studies Program, Harvard.


$12 Special Event Tickets
Ryusuke Hamaguchi in Conversation with Alexander Zahlten

Friday February 24 at 7pm

Touching the Skin of Eeriness (Bukimi na mono no hada ni sawaru)

Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. With Hoshi Ishida, Aoba Kawai, Ayumi Mizukoshi
Japan 2013, DCP, color, 54 min. Japanese with English subtitles

A haunting study of loneliness gradually gives way to a dark mystery in Hamaguchi’s unusual and beautifully acted Touching the Skin of Eeriness. After his father’s death, the reclusive Chihiro goes to live with his older half-brother brother and channels his unspoken feelings into his one passion, modern dancing. Chihiro’s relationship with his dance partner grows increasingly strange, mirroring the dances invented by their intense teacher, played by renowned dancer and choreographer Osamu Jareo. DCP courtesy filmmaker.

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$12 Special Event Tickets
Ryusuke Hamaguchi in Person

Saturday February 25 at 3pm

Intimacies (Shinmitsusa)

Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. With Rei Hirano, Ryo Sato, Mikio Tayama
Japan 2012, DCP, color, 255 min. Japanese with English subtitles

Hamaguchi’s first exploration of extreme duration is a fascinating three-part epic following the difficult production and realization of a stage play. Conceived while Hamaguchi was teaching at the ENBU film and theater school, and featuring an ensemble cast of ENBU students and colleagues, Intimacies blends fiction and documentary, the cinematic and theatrical, in its observational chronicle of the challenging tensions that animate yet also threaten to upend the production. DCP courtesy filmmaker.

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Sunday February 26 at 4pm

The Depths

Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. With Kim Min-Jun, Hoshi Ishida, Soji Arai
Japan/South Korea 2010, DCP, color, 121 min. Japanese, Korean and English with English subtitles

A famous Korean fashion photographer on assignment in Japan discovers a new kind of friendship with a mysterious male escort in Hamaguchi’s delicate character study. Anticipating his masterful epic of love and friendship, Happy Hour, The Depths reveals Hamaguchi’s fascination with the unspoken and often indescribable bonds that create real intimacy. A Korean-Japanese coproduction, The Depths gives a new dimension to Hamaguchi’s oeuvre with its study of homosexual desire and the therapeutic potential of art making. DCP courtesy filmmaker.

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