Wednesday, February 17, 2010

That Night's Wife (1930)

Sono Yo No Tsuma (a.k.a. That Night's Wife) - Directed by Yasujirō Ozu
その夜の妻 (監督:小津安二郎)

This Friday, February 19th, the Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley will be presenting That Night's Wife, a rare work by filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu. The 1930 silent movie is part of the two-film miniseries Masters of Asian Cinema, showing alongside Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's "modern classic" A City of Sadness, which runs the following day. The screening of That Night's Wife features Judith Rosenberg on piano, who will provide live accompaniment to the film.

"One of seven films Ozu made in 1930, this seems at first to be a prime example of his 'atypical' early silent period, when he experimented with numerous Hollywood-influenced genres and techniques before gradually refining the minimalist style and thematic focus of his mature career. The film opens as an effective heist drama pastiche, with [male lead Tokihiko] Okada trussing up bank clerks and dodging the long shadows of a police dragnet, fox-like; we follow him home to his wife and their critically ill baby daughter, as does a wily police chief. As captor and prey sit out the night, waiting for the child's recovery, the scene is set for a claustrophobic battle of nerves." (NB, Time Out London)

The films are presented in conjunction with the conference Relocating Ozu: The Question of an Asian Cinematic Vernacular, organized by the Centers for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Studies at UC Berkeley. The conference aims to "bring together a dynamic group of international scholars to reassess Ozu’s work in its wider relation to inter- and postwar colonial and urban modernities in East Asia." For more information, visit the UC Berkeley Institute on East Asian Studies.

For more information on Masters of Asian Cinema: Yasujiro Ozu and Hou Hsiao-hsien, visit the Pacific Film Archive Theater.

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