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March 7, 2016 - 7:30 pm

Print provided by Japan Foundation

Kagero-za  (Japan, 1981)

According to film critic Tony Rayns, Kagero-za (1981), “may well be Suzuki’s finest achievement outside the constraints of genre filmmaking.”  In this hallucinatory adaptation of work by the Taisho Era writer Kyoka Izumi, a mysterious woman named Shinako invites Matsuzaki, a playwright, to the city of Kanazawa for a romantic rendezvous.  While Matsuzaki is on his way, his patron Tamawaki appears on the train, claiming to be en route to witness a love suicide between a married woman and her lover.  Matsuzaki suspects Shinako is Tamawaki’s wife, and the trip to Kanazawa may spell his doom.  As in Zigeunerweisen (1980), reality, fantasy, life and afterlife blend together in Kagero-za—most spectacularly in the grand finale, in which Matsuzaki finds his life morphing into a deranged theatrical extravaganza.

35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 140 min.  Production: Cinema Placet Prods.  Director: Seijun Suzuki.  Based on a novel by Kyoka Izumi.  Screenwriter: Yozo Tanaka.  Cinematographer: Kazue Nagatsuka.  Production Design: Noriyoshi Ikeya.  Editor: Akira Suzuki.  With: Yusaku Matsuda, Michio Ogusu, Katsuo Nakamura, Eniko Kusuda, Mariko Kaga.