The Naked Island + Postcard (w/ intermission reception, producer in person!)

Evening co-sponsored by Smart Assist and Cultural News

The Naked Island – 7:00pm
“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. Reception to follow on Cinefamily’s backyard Spanish patio during intermission! Sake from Hiroshima provided by Smart Assist.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1960, 35mm, 96 min.

Postcard – 9:45pm (producer Jiro Shindo in person!)
“Mr. Shindo’s world is sad and inspiring in familiar ways, but what makes it so memorable is that it is also gorgeous and strange.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Shindo sometimes tells ghost stories about the living. For this haunting chamber piece of a film (his 49th, completed when he was 98 years old!), Shindo returns once more to the subject of warfare, and its capacity to fracture personal experiences of love, trust, and purpose. The story follows the path of a postcard sent by a Japanese soldier to his wife as he prepares to depart for World War II; upon returning, he finds that all his loved ones have mourned his loss and moved on with their lives. Mining his own early experience as one of the few surviving soldiers of a hundred-man unit, Shindo pieces passages — in turn meditative, wrenching, hilarious, and lyrical — into a careful and composed whole. The result is an anti-war film like no other: the work of a man who has absorbed the impact of a century of conflict, and reflected it back to us in an unforgettably cathartic form. Our screening of Postcard is preceeded by opening remarks from producer Jiro Shindo (Kaneto Shindo’s son), and Jun Niimi of the Consulate-General of Japan In Los Angeles!
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 2010, 35mm, 114 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Naked Island”!