Film

Nagisa Oshima’s It’s Me Here, Bellett<br><em>Preceded by</em><br>8 Experimental Shorts by Tezuka
FILM

Nagisa Oshima’s It’s Me Here, Bellett
Preceded by
8 Experimental Shorts by Tezuka

Friday, February 20, 2015

It's Me Here, Bellett © 1964 Directors Guild of Japan.

It’s Me Here, Bellett
私のベレット(Watashi no Beretto)
U.S. Premiere

One of the few films produced by the Directors Guild of Japan was a promotional film for the Isuzu Bellett- a sedan car that began manufacture in Japan in 1963. Starting with Yasujiro Ozu as advisor to the script, the credits include a slew of A-list film directors such as Heinosuke Gosho and Yoshitaro Nomura with a hip jazz soundtrack by jazz pianist and composer Hachidai Nakamura (also famous for being the composer of the hit song "Sukiyaki"). This mid-length movie is composed of 3 parts, each featuring the Bellett prominently. Each part utilizes different colors to produce different moods, with part 2 starring Akiko Koyama, Oshima’s wife. Originally made for television, It's Me Here, Bellett is a must-watch for Oshima fans as this will be the first ever official screening in the U.S.
 
8 Experimental Shorts by Osamu Tezuka

The grandfather of anime, Osamu Tezuka, creator of legendary works such as Astro Boy and Buddha also made experimental shorts to explore the possibilities of animation. Series curator John Zorn selects 8 of his favorite shorts for this screening preceding It's Me Here, Bellett.
 

Male

おす (Osu)
1962, 3 min., Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A man in a dark room is tormented by a cool cat who wants to make love to his girlfriend cat in peace.
 

Memory
めもりい (Memorii)

1964, 5 min., Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
In what seems at first to be a light-hearted contemplation on memory, this creative multi-media animation takes a more ironic and cautionary tone.
 

Mermaid
人魚 (Ningyo)

1964, 8 min., Blu-ray, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
Set to Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and set in a society where no daydreaming and imagination is allowed, a boy is imprisoned for claiming that a fish he rescued had turned into a mermaid.
 

The Drop
しずく (Shizuku)

1965, 4 min., Blu-ray, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A gag-ridden comedy about a man lost on a raft and his struggle to get the last drop of water fall into his thirsty mouth. The task proves to not be so easy.
 

The Genesis
創世記 (Souseiki)

1968, 3 min., Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A parody of John Huston’s 1966 religious epic, The Bible: In the Beginning… The intention was to make fun of this high-budget production using basically no budget at all.
 

Push
プッシュ (Pusshu)

1987, 4 min., Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
In this simple and sharp satire, a man buys everything brand new from vending machines. He eventually goes to God and asks for a brand new Earth.
 

Muramasa
村正 (Muramasa)

1987, 8 min., Blu-ray, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A warrior finds a cursed sword stuck in a straw figure and begins cutting more straw figures, only to find them turn into humans once cut. A dark cautionary tale for a world dependent on nuclear weapons. Characters were designed by master kirie (paper cutting) artist Hyakkimaru.
 

Self-Portrait
自画像 (Jigazou)

1988, 13 sec., Blu-ray, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
The last of Tezuka’s experimental animation, his own face becomes a slot machine of various characters.

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Part of The Dark Side of the Sun: John Zorn on Japanese Cinema.

Inset images, from top: Male © Tezuka Productions; Memory © Tezuka Productions; Mermaid © Tezuka Productions; The Drop © Tezuka Productions; The Genesis © Tezuka Productions; Push © Tezuka Productions; Muramasa © Tezuka Productions; Self-Portrait © Tezuka Productions.

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