Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Screen Big Apple- Honor Among Ruffians Saturday at the Japan Society

The that the weekend is here The Japan Society's Hardest Men in Town: Yakuza Chronicles of Sin, Sex & Violence film series is ready to kick it up a notch with a whole days worth of film. Not only do you get a whole day of yakuza films, but Saturday contains 4 screenings in the PM of films that You'll Never Find On DVD...Ever(JS's words, not mine. Honor Among Ruffians kicks off with The Walls of Abashiri Prison(pt.3):Longing for Home(1965).

The Japan Society says - "Forty-six years after its Japanese release, the most outstanding episode of the Abashiri series standing firmly on its own, is out in the world, and will have no issue attracting the uninitiated. Upon returning to his hometown of Nagasaki, recently released prisoner Shinichi Tachibana (Ken Takakura) wants to become a better man but must go back to his old gangster ways and former clan, the Asahi, in order to pay back a past debt. Trouble brews when the rival gang that was responsible for sending him to prison learns of his return. Left with no alternative, Tachibana decides to take them on."

Saturday, March 12th 1:00 PM @ Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, at 47th Street and First Avenue

At 3pm we have the international premiere of Brutal Tales of Chivalry(1965).

Japan Society say - "With this film, the honorable yakuza formula loiters on the threshold of formal perfection. Returning imperial soldier Gennosuke (Ken Takakura) finds his hometown hardly more than a pile of rubble. In short, it is Year Zero for this man whose world has been reduced to a dead zone of rusted, unpopulated townscapes. With the sheer power of his will and moral rectitude, Gennosuke must rebuild the local marketplace and protect it from the unscrupulous hands of a rival gang that couldn't care less about chivalry and honor."

Come 5:15pm the US premiere of Theater of Life: Hishakaku(1963)

Japan Society says - "Tadashi Sawashima's Theater of Life launched the 1960s ninkyo eiga boom and is in many ways, the whole genre's blueprint. Hishakaku (Koji Tsuruta), as honorable a gangster as is humanly possible, is in love with Otoyo, a courtesan. But his obligations to the yakuza code keep them apart, not the least because of his stint in prison. During this time, Otoyo struggles against sinister gangsters who see her not as the sweetheart of a chivalrous gambler doing time for his gang, but as a simple commodity. The film made both Toei studio actors Koji Tsuruta and Ken Takakura superstars of the yakuza genre, though it's the fragile beauty of the actress Yoshiko Sakuma that impresses the most."

And the movie program part of the day wraps it up at 7:30PM with Blood of Revenge(1965)

Japan Society says - "The outstanding performance by Koji Tsuruta, the yakuza genre's first star, is the most commanding reason to see this film, in addition to über-stylist Kato's masterly and distinctive mise en scène. Osaka, 1907: Asajiro (Tsuruta) lives between a rock and a hard place: he has to keep his business clean and running, tame his late oyabun's hot-blooded son and suffer the throes of his impossible love for beautiful geisha Hatsue (Junko Fuji). Life is tough, but misdeeds will not remain unavenged and trickling blood will swell to a flood, of course."

Looks like a pretty full day of gangsta shit..60's Japan style. Unfortunately I could only dig up a trailer for Blood of Revenge. These movies do go back almost 50 years, they can't all have trailers.

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