35th Anniversary—Imported 35mm Print. Based on one of the Sandaikisho (Three Great Occult Books) of Japanese mystery fiction, Toshio Matsumoto’s fourth and final feature adapts the unadaptable: a filmed version of surrealist 1935 avant-garde classic Dogra Magra written by Kyusaku Yumeno—the famous detective novelist whose pen name fittingly translates to “person who always dreams.” In Taisho 15, the period’s final year, an amnesiac awakens in a sanatorium without recollection of his name or face. Forced to reconstruct his memory, the patient is accosted by two doctors (including one purported to be deceased) who relate his condition in differing fashions, complicating whether physicians are telling the truth, or playing a Fowlesian godgame. Working with frequent cinematographer Tatsuo Suzuki (Himiko, Pastoral: To Die in the Country), Matsumoto constructs a disorientating Jungian work, overwrought with conspiracies and intermingling tales. Delivering intra-womb fetuses, red herrings and false revelations, Dogra Magra unfurls a complex tapestry of alternating histories—resulting in a whirlwind tragedy brought on by fantasies of eternal recurrence.
Dir. Toshio Matsumoto, 1988, 109 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with live English subtitles. With Yoji Matsuda, Shijaku Katsura, Hideo Murota, Eri Misawa.
Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.
Part of Taisho Roman: Fever Dreams of the Great Rectitude
December 9—16, 2023
Taisho Roman offers transgressive visions of Japan’s own belle epoque, featuring films from some of Japan’s most radical and outré filmmakers.
© 1988 KATSUJIN DO CINEMA
Special Thanks to Bret Berg (AGFA); Laurence Braunberger & Frédérique Ros (Films du Jeudi); Mako Fukata; Beth Rennie (George Eastman Museum); Shun Inoue & Akinaru Rokkaku (Japan Foundation); Daniel Joseph; Carl Morano (Media Blasters); Rikako Kosugiyama & Jo Osawa (National Film Archive of Japan); Shuji Shibata, producer of Dogra Magra.
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, David Toberisky, 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.
- Friday, December 15, 2023
- 9:00 pm
- In-Person Event
- Reserved Tickets
- $16 Nonmembers
- $12 Members
- $14 Seniors/Students
- $14 Person with Disability