99-year old filmmaker Kaneto Shindo’s Retrospective, Dec 20-23

Shindo Kaneto Film PostcardIn celebration of Postcard, the latest film in the 99-year old director’s long and storied career and Japan’s official entry for the Academy Awards 2012 – Foreign Language Film, The Cinefamily, 611 North Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, is hosting  “Kaneto Shindo: A Retrospective” presented by actor Benecio Del Toro.

Throughout his remarkably prolific, long and fascinating career, Kaneto Shindo (b. 1912) has remained at the center of major trends and turns in Japanese cinema.

A sought-after art director and apprentice in the 1930s, Shindo made a name for himself in the 1940s as a screenwriter before working as assistant director to such iconic filmmakers as Kon Ichikawa and New Wave titans Seijun Suzuki and Toshio Matsumoro.

In 1950, Shindo formed one of Japan’s first independent production companies with actress Nobuko Otowa (who would later star in several of Shindo’s key films), and began to direct politically outspoken features with a distinct class-consciousness — an interest which would culminate in The Naked Island, his extraordinary study of a rural 20th century peasantry, and a film considered by many to be his masterpiece.

Shindo’s notable embrace of period ghost stories also resulted in the important and influential films Onibaba and Kuroneko, which maintained the critical Marxist stance of his early work and inspired a new interest in folk-tales and the “primitive” as a major theme.

At a spry 98 years old, Shindo remains active to this day with his latest film, the powerful anti-war drama Postcard, marking a return to the subject of Hiroshima’s complex and troubling legacy.

(Source: Harvard Film Archive)

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The Cinefamily, 611 North Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036


Tue, Dec. 20 @ 8:00 PM
The Naked Island + Kuroneko
$10/free for members of the Cinefamily

Wed, Dec. 21 @ 7:00 PM
The Naked Island + Postcard
Opening remarks from producer Jiro Shindo (Kaneto Shindo’s son), and a representative of the Consulate General of Japan, Los Angeles
Intermission Reception
$12/free for members

Thu, Dec. 22 @ 8:00 PM
The Naked Island + Lucky Dragon No. 5
$10/free for members

Fri, Dec. 23  @ 8:00 PM
Onibaba + Tree Without Leaves
$10/free for members

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Postcard screening and Reception, Wed, Dec 21

The Naked Island – 7:00 pm

“Gorgeously shot in wide-screen black-and-white…once seen it is not easily forgotten — the myth of Sisyphus transposed to Tahiti.” — J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Filmed on a nearly deserted archipelago, and told with almost no dialogue whatsoever, this landmark docudrama tone poem in the tradition of Robert Flaherty charts one year in the life of a poor farming family who must continually reach out to neighboring islands in order to subsist.

Anchored by a stoic, moving lead performance by Nobuko Otowa and a haunting score by regular Shindo collaborator Hikaru Hayashi, The Naked Island is a pure poignant wallop.

The Naked Island: Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1960, 35mm, 96 min.

Reception to follow on Cinefamily’s backyard Spanish patio during intermission.

Postcard – 9:45pm (producer Jiro Shindo in person)

Shindo sometimes tells ghost stories about the living. For this haunting chamber piece of his 49th film, completed when he was 98 years old, Shindo returns once more to the subject of warfare, and its capacity to fracture personal experiences of love, trust, and purpose.

The story follows the path of a postcard sent by a Japanese soldier to his wife as he prepares to depart for World War II; upon returning, he finds that all his loved ones have mourned his loss and moved on with their lives.

Mining his own early experience as one of the few surviving soldiers of a hundred-man unit, Shindo pieces passages — in turn meditative, wrenching, hilarious, and lyrical — into a careful and composed whole.

Postcard: Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 2010, 35mm, 114 min.

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“Kaneto Shindo: A Retrospective” is co-presented by Benecio Del Toro and  Cinespia. The series is coordinated by New York-Tokyo and Bobo Mencho Inc. Supports are provided by Kindai Eiga Kyokai and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.

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