The Naked Island + Lucky Dragon No. 5

The Naked Island – 8:00pm
“Gorgeously shot in wide-screen black-and-white…once seen it is not easily forgotten — the myth of Sisyphus transposed to Tahiti.” — J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Exhilarating, heartwrenching and so tangible you’ll feel the soil under your own fingernails and the sun on your brow, The Naked Island is one of the most emotionally satisfying Japanese films you’ve never seen — from any decade, past or present — and is simply one of Kaneto Shindo’s greatest works. Filmed on a nearly deserted archipelago, and told with almost no dialogue whatsoever, this landmark docudrama tone poem in the tradition of Robert Flaherty charts one year in the life of a poor farming family who must continually reach out to neighboring islands in order to subsist. “Daily chores, captured as a series of cyclical events, result in a hypnotising, moving, and beautiful film harkening back to the silent era.” (Masters of Cinema) Anchored by a stoic, moving lead performance by Nobuko Otowa and a haunting score by regular Shindo collaborator Hikaru Hayashi, The Naked Island is a pure poignant wallop. DO NOT MISS IT.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1960, 35mm, 96 min.

Lucky Dragon No. 5 – 9:45pm
1959′s Lucky Dragon No. 5 is Shindo’s dramatic recreation of a radioactive disaster five years prior that not only launched the anti-nuclear movement in Japan, but also prompted the premise for Godzilla. In 1954, 23 men aboard fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru (the film’s eponymous trawler) were physically devastated by radiation poisoning from nearby H-bomb testing conducted by the U.S. government, and fallout from the tests blighted an area previously inhabited by humans for over 2000 years. The nerve center around which Shindo masterfully reconstructs the turmoil is one perfectly-rendered character: radio operator Kuboyama Aikichi (Jukichi Uno), the first victim of the blast. In his depiction of the toxic, irreversible impact of the culture of war, Shindo shines a searing light on the human element — the psychological and social fallout of a tragic miscalculation that continues, to this day, to compromise the region’s safety and to silently terrorize the community that remains.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1959, HDCAM, 115 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Naked Island”!