Children of the Great Buddha

June 1, 2024
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Daibutsu sama to kodomotachi

Imported 35mm Print. The final film in the Beehive trilogy, Children of the Great Buddha chronicles war orphans living among the looming statues and temples of Japan’s ancient capital of Nara. Acting as tour guides as a means of survival, Ko and Genji live a threadbare existence—their constant companionship being the only sure thing. With their days spent in the expanse of a natural world populated by holy objects, the orphans exist under the watchful eye of the divine and sacred. Spending over a year studying Buddhist imagery, Shimizu would take an uncharacteristic hands-on approach to the film’s cinematography, opting not to frame in his typical eye-level compositions, remarking, “It’s different in a film whose stars are Buddhist images.” Poignant and stirring, Shimizu’s spiritual conclusion to his orphan saga is a compassionate work in clear reverence to the children and orphans he spent his entire career depicting.

Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.

Dir. Hiroshi Shimizu, 1952, 102 min., 35mm, b&w, in Japanese with live English subtitles. With Yutaka Iwamoto, Yoshio Hazama, Yukiko Himori.

Part of the John and Miyoko Davey Classic Film Series
Hiroshi Shimizu – Part II: The Postwar and Independent Years
May 16—June 1, 2024

© Collection of NFAJ

Hiroshi Shimizu is co-presented with Museum of the Moving Image, the National Film Archive of Japan, and Japan Foundation, New York.

Hiroshi Shimizu – Part II: The Independent and Postwar Years is generously supported by The John and Miyoko Davey Endowment Fund for Classic Japanese Film.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Film programs are generously supported by ORIX Corporation USA, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Yen Press. Endowment support is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and The John and Miyoko Davey Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family and Friends of Film. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the official Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film. Housing assistance is provided by the Kitano Hotel, the official hotel sponsor of Japan Society Film.

  • Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • 8:00 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Reserved Tickets
  • $16 Nonmembers
  • $12 Members
  • $14 Seniors/Students
  • $14 Person with Disability

There is an additional $1.50 service charge for all non-member ticket types purchased.