Case Western Reserve University and Cinematheque bring rare
Japanese films to Cleveland
“Rarely Seen Gems of Japanese Cinema,”
a film festival of four major Japanese classics with very
limited showings in the United States, will be presented this
fall at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque,
11141 East Blvd., in University Circle.
The Japan Foundation in New York City is co-sponsoring the event
with Case Western Reserve’s Baker-Nord Center for the
Humanities, the Dean’s Office in the College of Arts and
Sciences, the university’s Department of Modern Languages and
Literatures, and the Cinematheque.
“This is a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Linda
Ehrlich, associate professor of Japanese, world literature
and cinema in Case Western Reserve’s Department of Modern
Languages and Literatures. Cinematheque Director John Ewing
adds, “This series, and the generous support of The Japan
Foundation, allows me to bring four great movies to Cleveland
that I have long wanted to show here.”
The series runs on four nights between Sept. 28 and Oct. 12,
The four films, dating from the 1930s to the 1950s, expose
Cleveland audiences to Japanese history and culture in stories
from the Edo/Tokugawa period (1603-1868) through the post-WWII
years. The films were directed by four of Japan’s most
celebrated filmmakers (Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, Sadao
Yamanaka, and Heinosuke Gosho) and feature some of Japan’s
greatest movie actors, including Kinuyo Tanaka, Isuzu Yamada,
Keiko Kishi, Bando Choemon, Nobuko Otowa and Hibari Misora.
Ehrlich is curating the festival with Ewing. They coordinated
the screenings to coincide with and celebrate the reopening of
the Japanese and Korean Art Galleries at the Cleveland Museum of
All of the movies will be shown in 35mm or 16mm film prints with
English subtitles; three of the prints are being imported from
Japan solely for the series. An expert in Japanese literature,
history and cinema studies will discuss the films before and
after each showing.
The festival films and show times are:
Sat., Sept. 28, 5 p.m.: “Miss Oyu” (Oyusama,
1951), directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Ehrlich will introduce and
discuss the story of a young man promised in marriage to one
woman, but who falls in love with her sister.
Thu., Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.: “Record of a Tenement Gentleman”
(Nagaya shinshiroku, 1947), directed by Yasujiro Ozu, is
a story about one family’s struggles in post-WWII Japan.
Garrett L. Morgan, visiting assistant professor of history at
Oberlin College, will provide a background of life and times in
Sat., Oct. 5, 5 p.m.: “Humanity and Paper Balloons” (Ninjo
kami fusen, 1937) is one of director Sadao Yamanaka’s
greatest achievements before his untimely death at age 28.
Kimberly Kono, assistant professor of Japanese in the Department
of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Smith College and a
visiting associate professor at Case Western Reserve, will
discuss Yamanaka’s career, directing 26 films in six years.
Sat., Oct. 12, 5 p.m.: “Growing Up” (Takekurabe,
1955), directed by Heinosuke Gosho. Ann Sherif, in the East
Asian Studies Program at Oberlin College and a former faculty
member at Case Western Reserve, will explain this film’s story
of how two girls’ growing up in a prostitution district impacts
General admission to each film is $9, Cinematheque members and
those with CWRU and CIA IDs $7, age 25 & under $6. For further
information, call 216.421.7450 or visit
Parking for filmgoers is free in the CIA lot.