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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

STRAY DOG & DRUNKEN ANGEL

Wednesday, August 31

STRAY DOG
12:30   4:50   9:15

DRUNKEN ANGEL
2:50   7:10

DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.

STRAY DOG

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshiro Mifune

(1949) Kurosawa Noir: While a rubble-strewn Tokyo swelters through a torrid heat wave, awkward young white-suited detective Mifune finds to his shame that his pistol has been stolen – and then that it’s been used in a murder. Thus begins his obsessive, guilt-ridden search, highlighted by a nearly ten-minute dialogue-less sequence shot by hidden camera in the toughest black market section of the city. (The post-production dubbing, with twelve of the latest pop songs layered in, was so difficult that Kurosawa’s soundman was reduced to tears.) No bleeding hearts here: when seasoned mentor Takashi Shimura points out that the killer, a returned vet, went bad when all his possessions were stolen, Mifune heatedly replies that the same thing happened to him – and then he became a cop. No surprise then that, as the chase progresses towards a final confrontation – electrifyingly backgrounded by a young girl’s stop-start practicing of a Mozart piece – Mifune and the unseen killer begin to seem more and more alike. A confessed admirer of Georges Simenon, Kurosawa adapted his own unpublished novel for this, his first detective film and the real beginning of the genre in Japan. 35mm. Approx. 122 mins.
12:30, 4:50, 9:15 

“ONE OF THE GREATEST DETECTIVE FILMS EVER MADE!”
– The New York Times

“A neorealist cop movie!”
– Terrence Rafferty

“PERHAPS THE BEST DETECTIVE PICTURE EVER MADE IN JAPAN!”
– Donald Richie

“Mifune is magnetic as a Tokyo cop obsessed with recovering his gun, but the real star is the city itself, in all its heat and squalor. The movie is an impassioned outcry against social dissolution – Kurosawa sees both Mifune and the thief who goes on a crime spree with the cop’s pilfered Colt as products of a brutal postwar environment.”
– Michael Sragow, The New Yorker

“Above all a film of atmosphere…By piling on naturalistic details to keep the heat constantly in our minds – fluttering fans, the mopping of brows, a cop hitting the back of a witness’ electric fan to make it oscillate between them – Kurosawa evokes a world in perpetual motion.”
– Chris Fujiwara

“A detective story that’s also meant to function as a commentary on the desperate social conditions of postwar Japan. The excitement it provides is deeper and more satisfying than simple suspense.”
– Terence Rafferty

DRUNKEN ANGEL

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshiro Mifune

(1948) In his slum clinic nestled next to a festering sump, ruined-by-booze sawbones Takashi Shimura casually scissors open the wound of his latest patient, greasily-coiffed yakuza Toshiro Mifune – but does Mifune also have tuberculosis? Obviously not a good affliction for the business he’s in – especially when it turns out the Big Boss is back after all, and ready to reclaim his gang and moll. This tortured, Dostoyevskyan encounter amid postwar ruins was the beginning of the legendary Kurosawa-Mifune collaboration. Said Kurosawa later, “Shimura played the doctor beautifully, but I found that I couldn’t control Mifune. When I saw this I let him play the part freely. I didn’t want to smother that vitality,” – a vitality that encompassed his throttling Shimura, frenetically dancing to “Jungle Boogie,” and going toe to toe in a white-paint-strewn final showdown. Kurosawa: “In this picture I finally discovered myself. It was my picture: I was doing it and no one else.” Not seen here until 1960, this was Kurosawa’s first Kinema Jumpo ‘Best One’ award winner (Japan’s Oscar equivalent), highlighted by Mifune’s wheezing reel through the neighborhood in counterpoint to the “Cuckoo Waltz.” 35mm. Approx. 98 mins.
2:50, 7:10

“A blend of American film noir and Italian Neorealism.”
– Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader