Friday, January 30, 2009

Japan Society lines up an impressive Art Theater Guild retrospective this February

by Chris MaGee

In December we told you about a great gallery of Art Theater Guild posters that Martin Vieillot had assembled over at Eiga GoGo, and now it looks those of you living in or traveling to New York between February 18th and March 1st will get a chance to see many of the films those posters were advertising.

The Japan Society with the help of Roland Domenig, Lecturer of Japanese Film History at Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna, and Go Hirasawa, Film Historian and Lecturer at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, have put together a very impressive retrospective of 12 films from the Arts theater Guild. Formed initially as an independent distributor for art house films from Europe the ATG went on to produce films by many of the loosely allied directors who would later be lumped together as the Japanese New Wave. These included Nagisa Oshima, Yoshishige Yoshida and Masahiro Shinoda, all who jumped ship from Shochiku after clashes with the studio's heads, as well as Susumu Hani, Akio Jissoji and Shuji Terayama amongst others.

This retrospective will give audiences the opportunity to catch such classics as Oshima's "Death by Hanging" (above) and Masahiro Shinoda's "Double Suicide" as well as lesser known films like Kazuo Kuroki's 1966 "Silence Has No Wings" about the evolution of a caterpillar as it journeys from Nagasaki to Hokkaido and Michio Okabe's avant-garde 1968 pastiche "Crazy Love".

For a full listing of the films that will be screening head to the Japan Society's website here, and while you're at it do yourself a favor and read through Roland Domenig's informative essay "The Anticipation of Freedom" posted over at Midnight Eye.

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