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Tōru Takemitsu “wanted to create an atmosphere of terror” in Masaki Kobayashi’s quartet of ghost stories

KWAIDAN (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964)
Film Forum
209 West Houston St.
Friday, December 10, 1:00, 6:30
Series continues through December 16

Masaki Kobayashi paints four marvelous ghost stories in this eerie collection that won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes. In “The Black Hair,” a samurai (Rentaro Mikuni) regrets his choice of leaving his true love for advancement. Yuki (Keiko Kishi) is a harbinger of doom in “The Woman of the Snow.” Hoichi (Katsuo Nakamura) must have his entire body covered in prayer in “Hoichi, the Earless.” And Kannai (Kanemon Nakamura) finds a creepy face staring back at him in “In a Cup of Tea.” Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, KWAIDAN is one of the greatest ghost story films ever made, four creepy, atmospheric existential tales that will get under your skin and into your brain. The score was composed by Tōru Takemitsu, who said of the film, “I wanted to create an atmosphere of terror.” He succeeded.

Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu will be celebrated in film and music in New York City this month

KWAIDAN is screening as part of Film Forum’s two-week salute to composer Tōru Takemitsu (1930-96), who scored KWAIDAN and more than one hundred other films, including such diverse works as Teshigahara’s ANTONIO GAUDI, PITFALL, THE FACE OF ANOTHER, and WOMAN IN THE DUNES, Nagisa Oshima’s THE CEREMONY, Masahiro Shinoda’s CHINMOKU and PALE FLOWER, Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s HIMATSURI, Kon Ichikawa’s ALONE ON THE PACIFIC, Masaki Kobayashi’s YOUTH OF JAPAN, HARAKIRI, and SAMURAI REBELLION, and Akira Kurosawa’s RAN and DODES’KA-DEN, all of which are part of the series. The music of Takemitsu will also be celebrated this month at the JapanNYC Festival, with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a presentation of Takemitsu’s “November Steps,” with Yukio Tanaka on biwa and Kifu Mitsuhashi on shakuhachi, at Carnegie Hall on December 15 (in addition to Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique), a concert featuring traditional hōgaku instruments at the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University on December 16, and a tribute concert at Zankel Hall on December 17 curated by his daughter, Maki Takemitsu, with jazz performances of his film scores performed by guitarists Kazumi Watanabe and Daisuke Suzuki, accordionist coba, and percussionist Tomohiro Yahiro.

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