Ghost Story of Yotsuya
東海道四谷怪談 (Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan)
Wednesday, February 27, 8 PM
Opening Film—New York Premiere
This adaption of a kabuki play by Tsuruya Nanboku (1825) is a Japanese Macbeth about a monstrous ambition whose fruits are murder. A classic of the genre and typically thought of as the best of more than 30 film adaptations, Nobuo Nakagawa's horror masterpiece focuses on the psychology of the characters, particularly the ruthless, cruel, but humanly weak samurai and his abused wife. Nakagawa's characteristic atmospherics are present, particularly his use of color to express the poisoning of the body (sickly greens) and mind (ghastly reds). The film however, is most memorable for the raw force of its emotions, from the shock and desolation of the betrayed wife to the fright and desperation of the doomed husband. The stand-out performance is that of Wakasugi as Iwa, whose shock and dismay as her face dissolves into a blackened, disfigured mass is indelible.
Japan. 1959. Color, blu-ray, 76 min., in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Nobuo Nakagawa. With Shigeru Amachi, Noriko Kitazawa, Katsuko Wakasugi, Shuntaro Emi, Ryuzaburo Nakamura.
Part of the Globus Film Series 2013
Followed by the Enka Ecstasy party. Guests are warmly encouraged to wear their black-and-white outfits, with two accessories of color, to participate in the spirit of the retrospective and celebrate the six black-and-white and two color(ful) film rarities we are showcasing. The party features a live performance by New York-based Japanese soul music band Neo Blues Maki.
With a unique contemporary approach to old school Japanese soul music, Neo Blues Maki is a project launched in 2009, and led by Soshi Uchida. While placing lead vocalist Kayo Yoshioka's authentic interpretation of enka and '70s Japanese folk/pop music center stage, the band's music personifies atypical progressive arrangements. Combined influences of members in the band reflect neo-soul, R&B, gospel, rock, funk and hip hop. The band performed on the main stage at The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Annual Sakura Matsuri in 2011 and 2012. Neo Blues Maki is based in New York City, performing at various venues, and is working on a new album scheduled to be released this year.
Watch Neo Blues Maki on YouTube
$12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors and students
Buy tickets online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm.