I hope everyone had a good summer. As you’ll note from the subject line, I’m now promoting a new film series called Masters of Asian Cinema. As I announced at the final film last year, the Masters of Japanese Cinema series is going to transform to have a broader focus. Why this change in focus? I’ve become increasingly excited by the films coming out of other countries in Asia, including Japan.
Far from living in a time of the death of cinema, as some film writers seem to love to claim, we’re in a golden age of film, though you might have to haunt film festivals and other out of the way places in order to find the good stuff. And that’s just what this series aims to do – to bring several films to town during the course of the year that might otherwise not come here. We’ll also program some older titles that are newly available or otherwise under the radar. For example, in January we’ll be screening King Hu’s legendary martial arts epic A Touch of Zen, which has been out of circulation for many years and is recently restored in a glorious new print. As with the Masters of Japanese Cinema series, we will have local scholars and community members with a connection to film introducing these films before each screening.
A list of the titles for this year is below my name. We will have three recent films from the People’s Republic of China, one from the modern master Jia Zhangke and two debut features. We will have one film by South Korean auteur Hong Songsoo, and the Taiwanese classic mentioned above, A Touch of Zen. We have two just-released films from Japan, and a lesser-known classic from Studio Ghibli. And, we will open with a documentary (about which more below).
I will say more about each film the week or so before they are screened. See you soon!
- December 6: Right Now, Wrong Then (dir. Hong Songsoo, South Korea, 2015)
- January: A Touch of Zen (dir. King Hu, Taiwan, 1971)
- February: Kaili Blues (dir. Bi Gan, China, 2015)
- March: Creepy (dir. Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Japan, 2016)
- April: Old Stone (dir. Johnny Ma, China, 2016)
- May: Harmonium (dir. Fukada Koji, Japan, 2016)
- June: Pom Poko (dir. Takahata Isao, Japan, 1994)
Also, as with the Japanese film series, Masters of Asian Cinema is a cooperative venture between the Libraries at Western Washington University and Pickford Film Center.