Calendar

Mar
10
Tue
Nippon Nights #7: Branded to Kill by Seijun Suzuki
March 10, 2015

Nippon Nights is a monthly series presenting different genres, styles and generations of Japanese Cinema to Bay Area audiences.

Join us for a discussion with Mr. Aaron Kerner (San Francisco State University Cinema Department Associate Professor) after the screening to discuss the world of Seijun Suzuki

“Reputedly one of Seijun Suzuki’s finest works and unquestionably very stylish in its ‘Scope framings (Jim Jarmusch copied a few shots from it in his Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)”

-Jonathan Rosenbaum,  Chicago Reader

Unknown-5A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death, and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.

Directed by Seijun Suzuki, 91min, 1967, Japan

Branded to Kill review – genuinely bizarre Japanese thriller

Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a very 1960s metaphysical thriller, a cult item treasured by connoisseurs as the kind of film that – for all its delirious craziness – could even be a truer product of Japan than the higher artefacts of Ozu and Kurosawa. It is an erotic and dreamlike pulp noir, and its disdain for any sort of conventional plot infuriated the director’s employers at the Nikkatsu studio. Jô Shishido is Hanada, a hired killer with a sexual fetish for the smell of boiled rice; a bungled job brings him into mysterious contact with Misako (Anne Mari), a woman who hires him for three hits. He becomes obsessed with her, and finds himself in a duel with the legendary top killer, the No 1 (Kôji Nanbara). The obvious comparisons are with Melville’s Le Samouraï or Godard’s Pierrot le Fou – this film holds up against these perfectly well – with hints of John Boorman’s Point Blank and Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. It is, however, closer to Luis Buñuel in its gleefully disquieting insistence on sudden horrific closeups: the glass eye removed from the skull, the bullet hole, the bleeding head in the toilet bowl. Where Godard had his jump-cut, Suzuki has his disorientating ellipses, his sudden dreamlike time-slips. Genuinely fascinating and bizarre.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Nippon Nights Program is Endorsed by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco & Japan Foundation

Mar
28
Sat
Czech That Film: Clownwise
March 28, 2015

images-1Come see new and exciting films at the fourth annual

Czech That Film festival, showcasing the best of Czech cinema

in 18 cities across the United States

Clownwise_440x300Oskar Franz, a famous comic entertainer, returns to his native country after 30 years of living in France. His past is inseparably intertwined with two notable artistic personalities: Max Hubschmann and Viktor Tauber. Throughout the film, Oskar, Max and Viktor go though a lot of surprising discoveries about each other’s lives. Their journey is peppered with the wisdom of a certain age when you know that having the last laugh is the next best thing.

(Klauni, 2013, 120 min.), dir. Viktor Tauš

Czech That Film: To See the Sea
March 28, 2015

images-1Come see new and exciting films at the fourth annual

Czech That Film festival, showcasing the best of Czech cinema

in 18 cities across the United States.

pojedeme-k-moriTen-year-old Tomas gets a digital Nikon camera for his birthday and begins to record the world around him. Consequently, Tomas watches moments of joy and disappointment, inconspicuous moments as well as important decisions as seen through a child’s eyes.

(Pojedem k moři, 2014, 90 min.), dir. Jiří Mádl

Mar
29
Sun
Czech That Film: Fair Play
March 29, 2015

images-1Come see new and exciting films at the fourth annual

Czech That Film festival, showcasing the best of Czech cinema

in 18 cities across the United States

Filmmaker in Person!!

fairplayIn the 1980s in former Czechoslovakia, young talented sprinter Anna is selected for the national team and starts training to qualify for the Olympic Games. As part of the preparation, she is placed in a secret “medical program” where she is given anabolic steroids to better her performance. Her mother sees the drugs as Anna’s ticket out of the Iron Curtain, while Anna knows the drug is harming her body. In a story that follows the impacts of a decision, a young woman is tested by fate.

(Fair Play, 2014, 100 min.), dir. Andrea Sedláčková

Mar
30
Mon
Czech That Film: KRÁSNO
March 30, 2015

images-1Come see new and exciting films at the fourth annual

Czech That Film festival, showcasing the best of Czech cinema

in 18 cities across the United States

 

Unknown-3A dark comedy begins with Michal and Adam, two childhood friends coming back to their hometown after 20 years. Michal’s mother has been dead for several years and Michal’s father dies on the day they return. Without knowing the truth about his mother´s death, all that is left is anger and sadness. The father’s new wife (now a widow) behaves suspiciously, which encourages Michal and Adam to investigate. The pair embark on a journey to solve a mystery, unaware that disaster awaits.

(Krásno, 2014, 119 min.) dir. Ondřej Sokol

Apr
10
Fri
Invasion of the Body Snatchers double feature
April 10, 2015

Spoke Art and Trailers from Hell present:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers double feature

with special guests Philip Kaufman (director –  Invasion ’78) and Sam Hamm (writer – Batman)

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Join us Friday, April 10th for a very special double feature of both the 1956 and 1978 versions of the cult sci-fi classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

As an added bonus, the director of the 1978 version, Philip Kaufman, will join acclaimed screenwriter Sam Hamm (Batman, Batman Returns) on stage for a very special Q&A session.

Spoke Art gallery will also present a brand new limited edition screen print to commemorate this once in a lifetime event.

1956: Directed by Don Siegel, 80min.

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

1978: Directed by Philip Kaufman, 115min.

In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion.

Apr
16
Thu
Nippon Nights #8: GHOST IN THE SHELL
April 16, 2015

Nippon Nights is a monthly series presenting different genres, styles and generations of Japanese Cinema to Bay Area audiences. Check out our upcoming screenings:

Join us for a discussion with Gilles Poitras, writer on anime, manga and Japanese culture after the screening to discuss the world of Ghost in the Shell.

Ghost in the Shell stands as one of the pioneering films of anime history, one that captures the imagination with its intricate story and dazzles the eyes with its gorgeous animation.

-Jeff Beck, Examiner.com

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The year is 2029. The world has become intensively information oriented and humans are well-connected to the network. Crime has developed into a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network. To prevent this, Section 9 is formed. These are cyborgs with incredible strengths and abilities that can access any network on Earth.

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, 83min., 1995, Japan, English subtitled.

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Nippon Nights Program is Endorsed by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco & Japan Foundation