December 4 – 12

Series includes restorations of Ozu classics EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON as well as Ozu-influenced films by Pedro Costa, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jim Jarmusch, Aki Kaurismaki, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Wim Wenders

NEW YORK, NY (October 31, 2013) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today Ozu and his Afterlives, a program honoring the work and legacy of the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963), running December 4 – 12. Timed to the 110th anniversary of Ozu’s birth and the 50th anniversary of his death on December 12, 2013, the series will celebrate the legendary filmmaker’s work as well as his indelible influence on some of today’s most notable directors.

“Ozu’s greatness can never be asserted often enough,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Cinematheque Programming. “In this anniversary year, we wanted to recognize his modernity and his eternal relevance by showing two of his final color works, which happen also to be two of his most beautiful. We are presenting them alongside a wide range of more recent movies that were, in some way, made with Ozu in mind. These are all films that — to borrow a phrase from the director Claire Denis — grew under the shade of Ozu.”

The focal point of Ozu and his Afterlives will be the U.S. premieres of restorations of two exquisite color films by Ozu, EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), newly restored by the Japanese studio Shochiku to commemorate this anniversary year. The films screen seven times each during the nine-day series. The program also includes films by contemporary directors—from Jim Jarmusch to Pedro Costa, who once called Ozu’s films “documentaries about mankind”—that bear some trace, obvious or subtle, of the great Japanese master.

A great formalist as well as a great humanist, Ozu began his career in the silent era.  Early on, he developed a spare, distinctive style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese and Hollywood cinema, and that he continued to refine and intensify through the final stage of his career. In his rigorous yet deeply expressive films, Ozu minimized camera movement and shot from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and rejected standard editing patterns.

Often called “the most Japanese of all directors,” Ozu has long held a special place in the pantheon of master auteurs, not least among fellow filmmakers (his TOKYO STORY was recently voted the best film of all time in Sight and Sound’s directors’ poll). “If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu,” said Wim Wenders, whose TOKYO-GA screens as part of this series. “For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognizes himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.”

The films that will be screened alongside EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON are Claire Denis’s 35 SHOTS OF RUM (2008), Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004), Pedro Costa’s IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000), Aki Kaurismaki’s THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s STILL WALKING (2008), Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) and Wim Wenders’s TOKYO-GA (1985).

Tickets are now available for purchase on Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Discount packages start at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more.  Films will be screened at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam).


35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 Rhums) (2008) 100 min

Director: Claire Denis
Countries: France/Germany
Claire Denis’s gloriously delicate and graceful film begins in the territory of Renoir’s La Bête humaine and gradually develops into an unlikely and enchanted evocation of Ozu’s Late Spring. Denis regular Alex Descas is Lionel, a train driver who shares a modest apartment, and a life of tacit, mutual devotion, with his daughter Joséphine (Mati Diop). Beyond their cozy domestic existence lie threats and temptations, connections to the outside world that are sure to weaken their bond. Shot by frequent Denis collaborator Agnès Godard with a score by Tindersticks, this moving cinematic ballad casts a lovely gossamer spell. A wonderful German interlude features a guest appearance by Ingrid Caven.
Saturday, December 7 at 1:45PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 5:00PM

AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (Sanma no aji) (1962) 113 min
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
As much a reworking as an updating of Late Spring, Ozu’s final film recasts Chishu Ryu as an aging widower anxious to settle his daughter’s marriage.  Taking into account the social transformations of the intervening decade, Ozu recontextualizes the earlier story by making the female characters far more assertive and keeping an eye out for characters enamored of expensive golf clubs and refrigerators, thus extending the ironic commentary on growing consumerism laid down in Good Morning. The film’s Japanese title, The Taste of Mackerel, alludes to the time in late summer when the delicacy is in season. Ozu’s wistful swansong is an beautiful evocation of particular moods, flavors, and places, not least the hauntingly empty house to which Ryu once again returns in an unforgettable coda. New digital restoration courtesy of Shochiku.
Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00PM
Thursday, December 5 at 1:00PM
Friday, December 6 at 5:00PM
Saturday, December 7 at 4:00PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 2:30PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00PM
Thursday, December 12 at 8:30PM

CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004) 104 min
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Countries: Japan/Taiwan
Commissioned to mark Ozu’s centenary year, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s quietly breathtaking city symphony updates the Japanese master’s recurring concerns: the family in decline, the clash between tradition and modernity. Newly returned from a stay in Taiwan, the heroine wanders the Tokyo streets and rides the trains while researching a project on a modernist composer. Suffused with the pathos of contemporary urban solitude, this literal Tokyo story taps into the daily rhythms of the metropolis, seeming to capture the vibrations of its secret life.
Wednesday, December 4 at 4:30PM
Friday, December 6 at 7:30PM

EQUINOX FLOWER (Higanbana) (1957) 118 min
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
Stern, workaholic businessman Hirayama (an outstanding Shin Saburi) denounces the unromantic arranged marriage his parents imposed on him, yet recoils in anger when his own daughter, Setsuko, decides whom to marry without consulting him. Accused of being inconsistent, he angrily protests: “Everyone is inconsistent, except God. The sum total of inconsistencies is life!” With this ambivalent, seemingly hypocritical patriarch, Ozu fashions one of his most memorable characters: a sad, remarkably dour paterfamilias of conflicted impulses stubbornly clinging to preordained, conservative thinking in spite of his own better judgment. Ozu’s first full-fledged comedy in over 20 years, the gorgeously shot EQUINOX FLOWER was also his first film in color. Though he remained steadfast in opposing widescreen, which to him resembled a “roll of toilet paper,” Ozu took to color with great enthusiasm.
Wednesday, December 4 at 2:00PM
Thursday, December 5 at 3:30PM
Friday, December 6 at 2:30PM
Sunday, December 8 at 6:45PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 7:15PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 1:45PM
Thursday, December 12 at 4:00PM

IN VANDA’S ROOM (No Quarto da Vanda) (2000) 171 min
Director: Pedro Costa
Country: Portugal
A series of shadowy domestic tableaus, shot with a small, static digital camera and using only available light, this second feature in Pedro Costa’s groundbreaking Fontainhas trilogy is a stark, matter-of-fact portrait of a community whose world is literally falling apart. With the intimate feel of a documentary and the texture of a Vermeer painting, IN VANDA’S ROOM takes an unflinching look at a marginalized Lisbon community, but is centered around the heroin-addicted Vanda Duarte. Through Costa’s camera, individuals many would deem disposable become vivid and vital. This was his first use of digital video, and the evocative images he created remain some of the medium’s most astonishing.
Sunday, December 8 at 3:15PM

THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (Tulitikkutehtaan Tytto) (1990) 70 min
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Country: Finland
A poker-faced black comedy about a young woman’s exploitation and revenge, pared to 70 minutes of perfection. With searing economy, Aki Kaurismaki lays bare the deadened existence of his wallflower heroine, who finds a temporary escape from her tedious, assembly-line job and her loutish parents in the arms of an affluent but dubious Prince Charming. The mortified heroine may remind you of a Bresson martyr, but when she’s dumped by her man, she’s anything but passive in her revenge. In one of his bleakest and most heartbreaking works, Kaurismaki mixes deadpan wit with depth charges of feeling.
Tuesday, December 10 at 9:45PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 4:15PM

STILL WALKING (2008) 114 min
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Country: Japan
Unfolding largely over the course of a daylong gathering of a family still mourning the loss of its eldest son, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s fine-tuned elegy—full of personalizing details and the sense memories of childhood—was a direct response to the death of his mother, whom he nursed in the last two years of her life. Kore-eda grants his characters no epiphanies, but allows them moments of dawning awareness. In this quietly anguished domestic drama, resentments go unaired and problems remain unsolved, but they are privately recognized and even understood—which is, at least, one definition of family love.
Wednesday, December 11 at 8:30PM
Thursday, December 12 at 1:30PM

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Countries: USA/West Germany
In Jim Jarmusch’s classic hangdog fable, a pair of deadbeat hipsters and a teenage immigrant (indelibly played by John Lurie, Richard Edson, and Squat Theater’s Eszter Balint) elevate hanging-out to one of the fine arts. Shot by director-to-be Tom DiCillo with a keen eye for desolation and disrepair, the film moves from the empty streets of Manhattan’s ungentrified Lower East Side to the suburban sprawl of Cleveland to the scrubby Florida coastline. It was Jarmusch himself who most evocatively described the film’s winning if incongruous tone: “a neo-realistic black comedy in the style of an imaginary Eastern European director obsessed with Ozu and The Honeymooners.”
Thursday, December 12 at 6:30PM

TOKYO-GA (1985) 92 min
Director: Wim Wenders
Country: USA
Wim Wenders travels to Tokyo to pay homage to Ozu, whose films he considers “sacred treasures.” His impressions of the country formed entirely by the cinema, Wenders interviews Ozu's collaborators while the symbols of the new Japan—all-night pachinko parlors, golf ranges atop downtown skyscrapers, rockabilly teenagers—conspire to shatter his illusions. The diary film features encounters with Ozu actor Chishu Ryu and cameraman Yuharu Atsuta. Chris Marker appears in a single playful shot, briefly glimpsed behind a newspaper.
Wednesday, December 4 at 9:30PM

Screening Schedule

Screening Venue:
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street

Wednesday, December 4
2:00PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)
4:30PM  CAFÉ LUMIERE (104 min)
9:30PM  TOKYO-GA (92 min)

Thursday, December 5
3:30PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)

Friday, December 6
2:30PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)
7:30PM  CAFÉ LUMIERE (104 min)

Saturday, December 7
1:45PM  35 SHOTS OF RUM (100 min)

Sunday, December 8
3:15PM  IN VANDA’S ROOM (171 min)
6:45PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)

Monday, December 9

Tuesday, December 10
5:00PM  35 SHOTS OF RUM (100 min)
7:15PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)

Wednesday, December 11
1:45PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)
8:30PM  STILL WALKING (114 min)

Thursday, December 12
1:30PM  STILL WALKING (114 min)
4:00PM  EQUINOX FLOWER (118 min)

Film Society of Lincoln Center
Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of the moving image. Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year's most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, LatinBeat, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-vous With French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, Film Society recognizes an artist's unique achievement in film with the prestigious “Chaplin Award.” The Film Society's state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year round programs and the New York City film community.

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