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Passport to Darkness  /  Eight Hours of Fear

Passport to Darkness
February 22, 2016 - 7:30 pm
Tom Vick, Freer and Sackler Galleries. He will sign copies of his book, "Time and Place are Nonsense: The Films of Seijun Suzuki," beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Print provided by Japan Foundation

Passport to Darkness  (Japan, 1959)

Ankoku no Ryoken

In this stylish film noir, a trombonist goes on an all-night bender after his wife disappears during their honeymoon.  When he returns home to find her corpse in their apartment, he sets off on a frantic quest to find her killer by piecing together a night he can’t remember.  Director Seijun Suzuki used this classic noir material to play with genre tropes and make expressive use of darkness and light.

35mm, b/w, in Japanese with English subtitles, 88 min.  Production: Nikkatsu.  Producer: Kenzo Asada.  Director: Seijun Suzuki.  Screenwriter: Hajime Takaiwa.  Cinematographer: Kazue Nagatsuka.  Production Design: Takeharu Sakaguchi.  Editor: Akira Suzuki.  Music: Koichi Kawabe, Taichiro Kosugi.  With: Ryoji Hayama, Chako van Leeuwen, Masumi Okada, Mari Shiraki, Tamaki Sawa.

Print provided by Japan Foundation

Eight Hours of Fear  (Japan, 1957)

Hachijikan no kyôfu

When their train is trapped by a landslide, passengers—including a murderer escorted by police officers—pile into a bus to proceed through the rugged countryside.  Meanwhile, two bank robbers are loose in the vicinity.  As the travellers’ journey continues, the danger mounts and tempers begin to fray.  Bizarre camera movements and compositions provide a glimpse of the experimentation that took over in director Seijun Suzuki’s later films, but Eight Hours of Fear (1957) stands on its own as a gripping, eccentric adventure yarn.

35mm, b/w, in Japanese with English subtitles, 77 min.  Production: Nikkatsu.  Producer: Kenzo Asada.  Director: Seijun Suzuki.  Cinematographer: Kazue Nagatsuka.  Production Design: Akiyoshi Satani.  Editor: Akira Suzuki.  Music: Takio Niki.  With: Taizo Fukami, Hisako Hara, Nobuo Kaneko, Minako Katsuki, Sumiko Minami.