IKIRU
1952, Janus Films, 143 min, Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

Director Akira Kurosawa’s haunting meditation on the need to “seize the day” was cited by critic Roger Ebert as his greatest film. Kurosawa regular Takashi Shimura stars as Kanji Watanabe, a Tokyo bureaucrat diagnosed with stomach cancer. Hoping to find some meaning in what remains of his life, Watanabe breaks from the monotony of his job to crusade for a children’s park - a change his former coworkers struggle to understand. In Japanese with English subtitles.


GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL
GOJIRA
1954, Janus Films, 96 min, Japan, Dir: Ishirô Honda

In the first of countless kaiju (“strange creature”) films from Japan, a nuclear explosion rouses a reptilian monster from the depths of the ocean; as Godzilla crushes Tokyo underfoot, the only weapon that could stop him may be too powerful to use. Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi and Akihiko Hirata star in this seminal sci-fi film, which was later recut with new scenes starring Raymond Burr and released as GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS! in America.
Godzilla ®, Gojira and the character design are trademarks of Toho Co., Ltd. © 1954 Toho Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


THRONE OF BLOOD
KUMONOSU JO
1957, Janus Films, 110 min, Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

As its alternate English titles (COBWEB CASTLE and CASTLE OF THE SPIDER’S WEB) suggest, director Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a chilling blend of gothic melodrama and samurai swordplay, Elizabethan tragedy and Noh theater. Taketori Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), inspired by a ghostly vision and coaxed by his frighteningly ambitious spouse, Lady Asaji (Isuzu Yamada), conspires to murder his lord to rise in the ranks to become eventual ruler. In the process, he betrays friends and foes alike, is driven to madness along with his cold-hearted spouse and is overwhelmed by the violent forces of chaos. With Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Akira Kubo. "Kurosawa’s THRONE OF BLOOD is the grisliest Macbeth you’re likely ever to see. It’s powerful filmmaking and provides much revelatory cultural frisson. It also features some of the best work of Kurosawa’s alter ego Toshiro Mifune." – Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle. In Japanese with English subtitles.


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