VIZ Cinema is a 143-seat underground cinema inside NEW PEOPLE in San Francisco, owned and operated by VIZ Pictures. Equipped with a cutting-edge HD digital projection and THX®-certified sound system, VIZ Cinema’s programming focuses on the latest and hottest films from Japan, as well as an incredible legacy of classics, favorites, documentaries and anime – making it the only venue of its kind in the United States.
Take the glorious film legends and line them up with underground “pink” filmmakers! This month VIZ Cinema takes on this unique challenge to reveal the flipsides of what makes Japanese film history. Also, June kicks off our new Bay Area filmmakers series!!
|Continuing from May until Saturday, 6/5||The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya|
|Friday, 6/4 – Thursday, 6/10||Kurosawa on High Crimes|
|Sunday, June 6th||World Queer Special|
|Friday, 6/11 7:00pm||TokyoScope Talk Vol.4: Hot Tears of Shame|
|Saturday, 6/12– Thursday, 6/17||Ozu on Sentimental Tokyo|
|Friday, 6/18 5pm & 7pm||ONE PIECE: …Adventures in Alabasta|
|Saturday, 6/19 – Thursday, 6/24||Mizoguchi on Desperate Women|
|Saturday, 6/19 12:00pm||DVD Release: Katsura Funakoshi Whispering Gaze|
|Friday, 6/25 – Thursday, 7/1||Bicycle Bride|
Friday, June 4 – Thursday, June 10
Kurosawa on High Crimes
Celebrating the centennial of the birth of Japan’s beloved director Akira Kurosawa, VIZ Cinema brings his four murder-mystery classics all at once! He is not just about Samurai films! As seen in Drunken Angel and Stray Dog, Kurosawa successfully delivers the thrill of mystery plots while depicting the desperate human conditions and drama of post-war Japan.
(1948, 98min, 35mm, English Subtitles)
In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician.
|High and Low|
(1963, 143min, 35mm, English Subtitles)
Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential High and Low, a compelling race-against-time thriller and a penetrating portrait of contemporary Japanese society.
|The Bad Sleep Well|
(1960, 151min, 35mm, English Subtitles)
A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in director Akira Kurosawa’s scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect.
(1949, 122min, 35mm, English Subtitles)
When a pickpocket steals a rookie detective’s gun on a hot, crowded bus, the cop goes undercover in a desperate attempt to right the wrong. Kurosawa’s thrilling noir probes the squalid world of postwar Japan and the nature of the criminal mind.
Sunday, June 6
World Queer Special
3rd i’s Queer Eye, a South Asian lens on the LGBT experience
Presented by 3rd i Films
Queer South Asian Shorts
Six inspiring short films on sexuality directed by independent filmmakers bridging India and the U.S.
There is a Spider Living Between Us
(Tejal Shah, India, 2005, 6 mins) A frank and biting short by this Bombay-based artist and filmmaker has her pondering the sexual life of her parents. With beautiful live action and charcoal animations. (Pictured above.)
Are We Talking Straight?
(Anindya Shankar Das, Prachi Tulshan, Anirban Ghosh, O. Sircar, D. Dutta, India, 2009, 30 mins)
On the heels of the momentous repeal of penal code 377, students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) take to the streets of Calcutta to figure out prevailing attitudes about homosexuality in the big city. The filmmakers find subjects across class, gender and age lines and find a range of opinions and attitudes – some surprising and some not.
(Sachin Kundalkar, India, 2005, 16 mins)
A poignant film that trails a male prostitute in the megacity that is Bombay. Our protagonist sleeps by day and walks the streets by night, and has a unexpected encounter with a trick who helps mend a little piece of his broken soul. (or who restores his faith in humanity.).
(Tejal Shah, Anuj Vaidya, India/USA, 2002, 8 mins)
When the hero doesn’t come on time to save the heroine, the villain has his way with her. In this spoof on Bollywood cinema, Tejal Shah and Anuj Vaidya take a hackneyed and too-often used plot point from Hindi cinema and turn it into a queer fantasy – to outrageous effect!
Mr. and Mrs. Singh
(Punam S., USA, 2009, 12 mins)
‘In a parody of the Hollywood movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, an Indian American couple enter into a marriage of convenience to appease their parents. But both have a secret they’re not telling!’ – Frameline33
(Jehangir Jani, India, 2005, 8 mins)
Three Mumbai-ites, an ageing actress (a still-lustrous Zeenat Aman) , a call girl on her way to an appointment and a gay man cruising at the railway station are united through the simple but transformative act of putting on make up, in this exquisite, dream-like film. (Pictured below.)
Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story
(Directed by Rudi Dolezal, USA, 2010/2000, 111 min)
DIRECTOR’S CUT, SF Premier
A study of a man who reinvented himself in ways that might seem unthinkable from his origins. – Roger Ebert
Rudi Dolezal’s documentary traces the life of the legendary frontman of Queen, from his childhood in Zanzibar, his formative years in India and then England, and at the height of his fame. 3rd i is pleased to offer the San Francisco Premier of the soon-to-be-released Director’s Cut, featuring previously unseen interviews with Freddie Mercury and more live performances. This updated version was recently featured at the Chicago International Film Festival and at Roger Ebert’s Festival of Overlooked Films.
Tickets: $10 per program; $16 for both films available online at http://www.thirdi.org/2010/05/03/queereye/
Friday, 6/11 7:00pm
TokyoScope Talk Vol.4: Hot Tears of Shame
Friday, June 11th at 7:00pm
at VIZ Cinema
Hosted by Patrick Macias
Presented by OTAKU USA
S-E-X: TokyoScope Vol.4 “Hot Tears of Shame”
From naughty hot spring geisha, to S&M-addicted salarymen, to the
latest bizarre innovations in adult video, this pulse-pounding
presentation will shamelessly reveal the history of “gettin’ it on” in
Join hosts Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama as they sift through
the wreckage of Roman Porno, Pinky Violence, and AV in search of the
most mind-blowing scenes ever to emerge from the Land of the Rising
Admission $10 / ADULTS ONLY!
Winner is David L. !
Saturday, June 12 – Thursday, June 17
Ozu on Sentimental Tokyo
One of the most influential filmmaker of the 20th Century comes from the humble Fukagawa neighborhood of Tokyo. From Jean-Luc Godard to Wim Wenders to Aki Kaurismäki, many acclaimed filmmakers worldwide have been deeply influenced by Yasujiro Ozu. VIZ Cinema proudly presents his four masterpieces in precious 35mm film with subtitles.
(1953, 136min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari) follows an aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Their reception is disappointing: too busy to entertain them, their children send them off to a health spa. After Tomi falls ill she and Sukichi return home, while the children, grief-stricken, hasten to be with her. From a simple tale unfolds one of the greatest of all Japanese films. Starring Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, the film reprises one of the director’s favorite themes—that of generational conflict—in a way that is quintessentially Japanese and yet so universal in its appeal that it continues to resonate as one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces.
|The Only Son|
(1936, 82min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
Yasujiro Ozu’s first talkie, the uncommonly poignant The Only Son is among the Japanese director’s greatest works. In its simple story about a good-natured mother who gives up everything to ensure her son’s education and future, Ozu touches on universal themes of sacrifice, family, love, and disappointment. Spanning many years, The Only Son is a family portrait in miniature, shot and edited with its maker’s customary exquisite control.
|Record of A Tenement Gentleman|
(1947, 72min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
A man finds a lost boy in a war-torn village and brings him to his tenement. He tries to find someone to take care for him but no-one accepts the responsibility. The child eventually ends up with a sour widow Tané (Chouko Iida), despite her refusal.
(1956, 144min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
In his first film after the commercial and critical success of Tokyo Story, Ozu examines life in postwar Japan through the eyes of a young salaryman, dissatisfied with career and marriage, who begins an affair with a flirtatious co-worker.
Friday, 6/18 at 5:00 pm & 7:00 pm
ONE PIECE: The Princess and the Pirates – Adventures in Alabasta
(Directed by Takahiro Imamura, 2009, 90min, Digital, English overdubbed OR with subtitles)
One piece showing in overdubbed version from 5pm and English subtitled version at 7pm on Friday, 18th. One night only!
Based on the bestselling manga by Eiichiro Oda. The island kingdom of Alabasta is about to erupt in civil war – a war engineered by Crocodile, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and his criminal organization Baroque Works. Monkey D. Luffy, his Straw Hat pirates, and Princess Vivi race to the island, where the strongest warriors of Baroque Works wait to stop them. Can Vivi and her friends stop an entire war? And how can Luffy fight Crocodile, when Crocodile can turn into sand?
Saturday, 6/ 19 – Thursday, 6/24
Mizoguchi on Desperate Women
Right up there with Kurosawa and Ozu, and distinguishing himself with awards at the Venice International Film Festival three years in a row, Director Kenji Mizoguchi also comes from downtown Tokyo’s Asakusa district. His signature was the expression of strength, sorrow, and fragility of women, thus Mizoguchi was often known to be very adamant with his actresses. Four films will be shown including his last piece Street of Shame all on 35mm with subtitles!
|Sisters of The Gion|
(1936, 69min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
Sisters of the Gion follows the parallel paths of the independent, unsentimental Omocha (Isuzu Yamada) and her sister, the more tradition-minded Umekichi (Yoko Umemura), both geishas in the working-class district of Gion. Mizoguchi’s film is a brilliantly shot, uncompromising look at the forces that keep many women at the bottom rung of the social ladder.
(1953, 94min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director’s supreme achievement. Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this haunting tale of love and loss—with its exquisite blending of the otherworldly and the real—is one of the most beautiful films ever made.
|Street of Shame|
(1956, 87min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
For his final film, Mizoguchi brought a lifetime of experience to bear on the heartbreaking tale of a brothel in Tokyo’s red light district, full of women whose dreams are constantly being shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them.
|Utamaro and His Five Women|
(1946, 106min, 35mm, with English Subtitles)
Inspired by the life and work of the wood block print artist, Utamaro Kitagawa (1753-1806), who revolutionized the medium by capturing human emotion into his artwork, Utamaro and His Five Women is a fascinating study of a man’s dedication to his art and adherence to self-expression in a time of rigid conformity.
Saturday, 6/19 12:00pm – 1 Day Only!
NEW PEOPLE ARTIST SERIES:
Katsura Funakoshi: Whispering Gaze
(Director: Kenjiro Fujii 2004 98 min. with English subtitles )
Ticket price: $25 including movie ticket, DVD, postcard & more!
Regular Admission: $10. No discounts apply.
Katsura Funakoshi: Whispering Gaze observes the visionary sculptor Katsura Funakoshi as he quietly breathes life into camphor wood. Take a look as he works in his atelier, preps for exhibitions, and speaks at lectures. The simple, warm and gentle figures carved out by Funakoshi can be attributed to the harmony of precise calculations and accidental occurrences. His human-like sculptures draw in beholders with their distant marble gaze as if pondering philosophical thoughts and projecting subtle yet bold emotions.
Friday, 6/25 – Sunday, 7/4
Bay Area Filmmaker’s Series Vol.1
(Directed by Hassan Zee, 2010, 112min, Digital, English Language)
Indian-American Girl meets Swedish Boy: A SF Love Story
The heartwarming comedy features an international cast of renowned Indian, European and American actors including Andreas Wilson (Swedish Star-Academy Award Nominated film The Evil), Melanie Kannokada, Jessica Kitchens, Shruti Tewari, and Rajiv Nema.
“With its theme of independence with a multicultural landscape as a backdrop, “Bicycle Bride” seems a perfect embodiment of the evolution of VIZ Cinema” – SF Chronicle read full review
“a colorful, warm-hearted tale of true love” – SF Weekly read full review
Showtimes from Saturday, June 26th – Sunday July 4th
Bay Area Filmmakers Series Vol.1
VIZ Cinema expands its commitment to innovative filmmaking with the launch of the Bay Area Film Series, an new showcase for the region’s burgeoning community of multicultural independent filmmakers. The first movie of this series is Bicycle Bride, which opens at VIZ Cinema for a week-long run beginning Friday, June 25th until Sunday July 4th.
Directed by Pakistani filmmaker Hassan Zee, Bicycle Bride is a witty story about a rebellious young Indian-American woman named Beena, whose family still clings to old school beliefs about gender roles and marriage for women. Beena pursues her dreams of freedom – but her stern mother has other ideas, including arranging a marriage for her daughter. Beena also has a best friend named Mary Jane, a Caucasian girl who supports her in every way. When Beena meets a man from Sweden named James Dean (played by renowned Swedish actor Andreas Wilson) she is immediately smitten by his European charm, Mary Jane is all for it; she knows James is the boy of Beena’s dreams. But Beena’s mother has imported Bubba, a naive bachelor straight from India. Bubba thinks dollars grow on trees in America, and he must find those trees and marry Beena. Will Beena give in to what her cultural heritage says is right? Or will she follow her heart and possibly lose her family instead?
Get more info at http://www.bicyclebride.com/