Trailer of the Day: A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS

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The first film in Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy and one of the most successful spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and ’70s, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS relocates the story of YOJIMBO to the Mexican desert, where, as in Kurosawa’s film, two warring gangs fight for control of a small town. A nameless drifter (Clint Eastwood) inserts himself into the scuffle, seeking as much money as he can get and nihilistically pitting the two gangs against each other, all the while protecting a family terrorized by both rivals. Made without Kurosawa’s consent, the film was embroiled in legal troubles for several years following its Italian release—finally getting theatrical runs in the US in 1967. Today, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, scored by iconic composer Ennio Morricone, remains a key entry in the spaghetti western canon and one of Leone’s best films. (99 mins.)

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS screens Saturday, December 21 at 8pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Trailer of the Day: YOJIMBO

Yojimbo

Set at the end of the Tokugawa era, YOJIMBO follows the rōnin Sanjuro (Toshirô Mifune) who, while wandering the countryside, happens upon a village over which two clans wage war. Sensing an opportunity, the rōnin wiles his way into the conflict with the goal of killing both sides and extorting what he can from the clans in the process. But as he becomes more involved in the scheme and with the helpless townspeople, the brash Unosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai), brother of one of the clan’s bodyguards, comes to town armed with a pistol—the first ever seen in the village. For his role as the masterless samurai confronted with the realities of modernization and the waning of his breed, Mifune won the Best Actor Award at the 1961 Venice Film Festival. (110 mins.)

 

YOJIMBO screens Saturday, December 21 at 5:30pm and Sunday, December 22 at 4:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Trailer of the Day: GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI

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A highly idiosyncratic take on the samurai film, Jarmusch’s tale of a lone, pigeon-keeping hit man (Forest Whitaker) removes the warrior from feudal Japan and places him in modern-day Jersey City. Ghost Dog, as he is known, is a strict follower of Hagakure (the way of the samurai). He spends his days at the park with his only friends, Haitian ice cream salesman Raymond (Issach De Bankolé) and adolescent Pearline (Camille Winbush), and his nights wandering the streets stealing cars and making hits for the Italian Mafia, but when a hit goes wrong, he is targeted by his former employers. GHOST DOG displays Jarmusch’s style in full flower while tackling issues of loyalty and the warrior code, with very modern repercussions. (116 mins.)

GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI screens Friday, December 20 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Trailer of the Day: KILL BILL, VOL. 1

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A revenge tale with a female protagonist, blood-gushing fight scenes, animation interwoven with live action, the song “Shura No Hana” (“Flower of Carnage”)…. Quentin Tarantino pays homage to the original LADY SNOWBLOOD (also screening) by transplanting much of the film’s narrative and aesthetics into his modern story of The Bride (Uma Thurman). Formerly a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, The Bride tries to leave the assassin’s life behind when she becomes pregnant with the child of her ruthless boss, Bill (David Carradine). But Bill and his minions (Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, and Michael Madsen) shoot her down, killing her baby and leaving her in a coma that lasts four years. When she wakes, The Bride embarks on her own quest for revenge. (111 mins.)

KILL BILL, VOL. 1 screens Sunday, December 1 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

Trailer of the Day: LADY SNOWBLOOD

lady snowblood

Set in the late 1800s when Japan began to emerge from its feudal isolation, this cult classic features as its protagonist a female samurai—a rare figure in a film genre traditionally dominated by men. After a woman is victimized by three assailants who rape her and kill her husband, she sleeps with every man she can in order to produce a child who will seek her revenge. From this auspicious beginning, Yuki (Meiko Kaji) is born, who dedicates her life to martial arts training and becomes Lady Snowblood. At the age of twenty, her sword carefully concealed in a parasol, Lady Snowblood embarks on a blood-drenched quest to avenge the villains who wronged her mother. (97 mins.)

LADY SNOWBLOOD screens Saturday, November 30 at 7pm and Sunday, December 1 at 4:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

Trailer of the Day: SEVEN SAMURAI

Seven Samurai

Kurosawa’s humanistic masterpiece of honor and courage takes place in a small 18th-century village in the Japanese countryside, where peasants eke out a meager existence from their crops. Threatened by a rogue band of thieves intent on pillaging their food supply, the villagers are forced to hire protection: seven lone samurai, led by Kurosawa regulars Takashi Shimura and Toshirô Mifune. As the inevitable clash between the samurai and the marauders nears, love blossoms between a young samurai and a village daughter, sparking debates of not only tradition versus modernity but also of the samurai code and its catastrophic effect on the possibility of living a long, peaceful life. “Not only a great film in its own right but the source of a genre that would flow through the rest of the century.”—Roger Ebert. (207 mins.)

Andrew Goble, Professor of Japanese History and Religious Studies at the University of Oregon, will introduce the film on Friday, November 22 at 6:30. Film at 7:00.

SEVEN SAMURAI screens Friday, November 22 at 7pm and Sunday, November 24 at 5pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

NW Film Center’s Samurai Cinema series presents ONIBABA (1964)

Onibaba

In war-torn 14th-century Japan, an old woman whose son has gone off to war lives with her daughter-in-law in the tall reeds of a swamp. In the wild, lonely landscape, the two women survive by killing wayward samurai, dumping the bodies, and trading the armor and weapons for food. When their neighbor Hachi returns from battle, he reports that the old woman’s son is dead. He joins their samurai-slaying schemes while seducing the now-widowed young woman. Furious that her daughter-in-law sneaks off every night to sleep with Hachi, the old woman plots to terrorize the two by donning a demon mask acquired from a disfigured samurai general she has killed. She soon finds, however, that the mask is no mere toy…. A chilling, atmospheric classic of the samurai and horror film genres. (103 mins.)

ONIBABA screens Friday, November 1 at 7pm and Sunday, November 3 at 4:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

Trailer of the Day: HARAKIRI

Harakiri

Set in the Tokugawa era (1600-1868), Masaki Kobayashi’s classic film is a searing indictment of the hypocrisy and exploitation of the ideal of samurai honor. After the shogunate embarks on a campaign to wipe out provincial lords, thousands of ronin (masterless samurai) flood the cities looking for work. An older samurai, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai), arrives at the gate of the Iyi clan requesting the right to commit ritual suicide in their forecourt rather than starve. He is told that another ronin previously made the same request, hoping to be rewarded with alms but instead forced to commit the act with only a bamboo sword. Though Tsugumo feigns ignorance at first, the connection between the two impoverished samurai is gradually revealed. (133 mins.)

 

HARAKIRI screens Saturday, October 26 at 2pm and Tuesday, October 29 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

Trailer of the Day: Samurai Rebellion

Samurai Rebellion

This stunning meditation on honor, duty, justice, and love, set in the 18th century, stars the magnificent Toshirô Mifune as Isaburo, a renowned swordsman who takes an heroic but deadly stand for individual freedom. Isaburo is the essence of samurai loyalty until his daughter-in-law is commandeered as mistress for his overlord. The injustice moves him toward a revolt raging with power and emotion. “Everything builds to a climactic bloodletting, and the point of the violence is not so much its kinetic exhilaration as its tragic inevitability. Travis Bickle (TAXI DRIVER) might well recognize the profoundly alienated warrior as his ancestor.”—Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times. Winner of the Kinema Jumpo Award for Best Japanese Film of 1967. (121 mins.)

SAMURAI REBELLION screens Sunday, October 20 at 3pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

Trailer of the Day: RAN

Ran

One of the late masterpieces of Akira Kurosawa’s career, RAN was inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and the Japanese legend of daimyo (lord) Mori Motonari. Tatsuya Nakadai plays Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging warrior-lord who decides to abdicate in favor of his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. His youngest son Saburo declares that Hidetora is foolish to believe that the three brothers will remain loyal to Hidetora’s wishes once they are in power and finds himself banished for his candor. His words, however, soon prove only too true, as Taro and Jiro conspire to strip their father of his title, his riches, and his army. Featuring Academy Award-winning costumes by Emi Wada and an evocative score by Toru Takemitsu, Kurosawa’s epic tale of greed and revenge remains one of the most highly regarded films in cinema. (162 mins.)

 

Maribeth Graybill, the Portland Art Museum’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art, will introduce the film on Sunday, October 13.

 

RAN screens Sunday, October 6 at 4:30pm and Sunday, October 13 at 2pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our Samurai Cinema series.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.