Bridging the worlds of cinema and literature, the recurring series Print Screen invites our favorite authors to present films that complement and have inspired their work, with discussions and book signings to follow screenings.
To mark the recent release of Sweet Lamb of Heaven (W. W. Norton & Company), a chilling new novel that follows a mother fleeing her estranged husband, Lydia Millet joins us for a screening of Hideo Nakata’s terrifying classic Ringu, followed by a conversation and book signing.
Millet is the author of the novels Sweet Lamb of Heaven (W. W. Norton & Company), Mermaids in Paradise, Ghost Lights (a New York Times Notable Book), Magnificence (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize) among other books. Her short-story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Hideo Nakata, Japan, 1998, 35mm, 96m
Japanese with English subtitles
Adapted from the popular 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki, Hideo Nakata’s cinematic nightmare is an anxiety-inducing, foreboding ghost story in which the modern fear of technology meets the haunting repression of tradition. TV reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) investigates the growing myth surrounding an eerie videotape that curses its viewers to die one week later. After she and her young son Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka) view the tape, Reiko’s enquiry becomes all the more pressing as she travels around the country in search of clues to solve its creepy mystery. Sustained by an expertly manipulated atmosphere of dread, Ringu revitalized a global interest in Japanese horror that spawned numerous cinematic adaptations, including a 2002 American remake, in addition to masterfully envisioning its story’s onryō (“vengeful spirit”) through Sadako—one of the most recognizable and terrifying additions to the pantheon of horror-movie icons.
“Ringu and the Hollywood franchise it inspired are the stuff of my worst nightmares. When my daughter wants to hear me scream—and there are those times—she knows that all she has to do is drop to all fours, drape her long hair in front of her face, and crawl toward me with a jerky motion, her arms bent awkwardly so that her elbows stick out. The image of a young girl in this posture is the perfect evocation of horror. What intrigues me about Ringu is its direct and oddly powerful use of the child: child as horror, child as innocent. And a mother placed between them.” — Lydia Millet