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Gamera marches into Japan Society for conclusion of Beyond Godzilla film series

Gamera marches into Japan Society for conclusion of “Beyond Godzilla” film series

Japan Society
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
Saturday, April 8, $13, 4:00 & 7:00

Japan Society’s three-weekend, seven-film “Beyond Godzilla: Alternative Futures & Fantasies in Japanese Cinema” Globus Film Series concludes on Saturday, April 8, with two more tokusatsu kaiju eiga (special-effects-heavy monster movies) that are not about that fire-breathing superstar of postwar madness. At 4:00, Kihachi Okamoto (Sword of Doom, Japan’s Longest Day) goes sci-fi with 1978’s socially conscious Blue Christmas, as UFOs land on earth and have an unusual plan. Then, at 7:00, Gamera, who first trashed cities in 1965, returns in the third film in Shusuke Kaneko’s 1990s reboot, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, involving a cool cat and special effects by Shinji Higuchi (Shin Godzilla). “Ever since Ishiro Honda’s 1954 Godzilla first rampaged across screens around the world, its title monster has become both Japan’s best-known pop culture export and a universal symbol of mass destruction. But Godzilla has also cast a long, scaly shadow obscuring Japan’s other live-action contributions to the sci-fi/fantasy genre,” guest curator Mark Schilling says in a program note in which he also explains, “I curated a section of classic sci-fi and fantasy films sourced from Toho and elsewhere to show that the Japanese cinematic imagination extended beyond Godzilla in ways entertainingly rich and strange.” The series previously screened such cult classics as The H-Man, Invisible Man, and Latitude Zero (with Joseph Cotten!). On April 28, “Godzilla Legend — Music of Akira Ifukube” will feature Hikashu and guest musicians such as Charan-Po-Rantan performing works by Akira Ifukube, who composed scores for tons of films, including Godzilla, The Burmese Harp, Rodan, 13 Assassins, Frankenstein Conquers the World, King Kong Escapes, and Zatoichi the Fugitive, which Japan Society is showing April 7 in its Monthly Classics series.

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