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1964, Janus Films, 123 min, Japan, Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara

Director Hiroshi Teshigahara made only a handful of films, and like this one, most were adapted from the elliptical novels of Kôbô Abe. Eiji Okada, an entomologist searching for rare insects in remote sand dunes, asks villagers for shelter. They bring him to a house at the bottom of a large pit, inhabited by a lonely woman (Kyoko Kishida). When he awakens the next day, he finds the ladder out of the hole has been removed, and he has been conned into becoming the woman’s new man, solely in order to help her remove the shifting sand that is continually creeping in, threatening to bury the structure. An astonishing, bizarre allegory about life’s routines and a thoroughly engrossing psychological drama. With a brilliant score by Toru Takemitsu. Teshigahara won the Jury Special Prize at Cannes for 1964. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film.

1963, Universal, 120 min, USA, Dir: George Englund

John F. Kennedy was sufficiently impressed with the foreign policy insights of The Ugly American that he sent copies of the book to all his Senate colleagues; director George Englund and screenwriter Stewart Stern give the bestseller a potent adaptation. Marlon Brando stars as a U.S. ambassador to the fictional Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan, where the limitations of America’s anti-Communist crusade offer eerie parallels to that of Vietnam.

1959, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, France, Japan, Dir: Alain Resnais

A one-night stand between a young French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) brings back the memory of Riva's first impossible love in wartime France, her intense pain at the death of her German lover, and her punishment for sexual collaboration with the enemy. Brilliantly written by Marguerite Duras, director Alain Resnais’ first feature remains a high point in French cinema of the 1950s, and one of the most devastating love stories ever put on film. "Once you've seen HIROSHIMA it becomes impossible to make movies the way you used to." – Francois Truffaut. In French and Japanese with English subtitles.

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