Friday, April 2, 2010

Mad, Bad... & Dangerous To Know

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the exciting listings for Mad, Bad... & Dangerous To Know, a currently ongoing film series at the Japan Society of New York showcasing femme fatales of the 60s and 70s. The three-week, three-part event focuses on "three untamed beauties": actresses Ayako Wakao (若尾文子), Meiko Kaji (梶芽衣子) and Mariko Okada (岡田茉莉子).

Japan Society film programmer Samuel Jamier notes, "Both Wakao and Okada were muses and inspiration for two major film directors, Yasuzo Masumura (増村保造) and Kijū (Yoshishige) Yoshida (吉田喜重), respectively, while Kaji navigated between filmmakers, a wild card of Japanese cinema at the time. Put together, their films delineate what one could call an aesthetic of 'convulsive beauty.'"

The selections' themes vary from violent to erotic and anywhere in between. However, according to the series' press release, it's about more than just fetishizing skin flicks. Rather, "the films of Mad, Bad… & Dangerous to Know address concerns of the Japanese New Wave, post-war discontent, and the influence of international film genres such as the westerns and film noir."

"On one level [the series] reflects the status of the 'movie star' during the Golden Age of Japanese cinema at a time when cross-cultural traffic truly emerged. On a much deeper level, it brings to light new views of gender politics in Japan and examines the interconnections between female agency, gender ideologies, and Japanese models of womanhood."

Mad, Bad... & Dangerous To Know runs through April 18th at the Japan Society of New York. For more information, visit their website.

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