November 3, 2023
past event image
Film past event


Introduced by Tristan Teshigahara Pollack, Sogetsu Foundation Artistic Liaison & Archives Coordinator. 

35mm Presentation. The first Japanese release from the legendary Art Theatre Guild, Pitfall treads between social realism and kaidan (ghost story), occupying the space of “documentary fantasy” in its flashes of avant-garde surrealism and anti-capitalist rhetoric. In the desolate foothills of an abandoned mining pit, a coal miner is stabbed to death by a mysterious man in white. Unable to intervene, his ghost watches as the fallout of his death pits striking labor unions against each other. The first feature film by Hiroshi Teshigahara, director of the Sogetsu Art Center (a radical incubator for avant-garde and experimental art, including John Cage and Fluxus), Pitfall is a striking work of New Wave cinema that distills playwright/novelist Kobo Abe’s dark postwar ethos into a beguiling work of alienation, labor exploitation and class struggle. Music direction by Toru Takemitsu and compositions by Toshi Ichiyanagi and Yuji Takahashi.

Dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1962, 97 min., 35mm, b&w, in Japanese with English subtitles. With Hiroshi Igawa, Kazuo Miyahara and Kanichi Omiya. Screenplay by Kobo Abe.

This fall, celebrate the pioneering Japanese spirit of the global avant-garde through a special season of symbiotic, genre-crossing programming.

Your ticket also includes complimentary admission for one person to Out of Bounds: Japanese Women Artists in Fluxus, on view at Japan Society Gallery through January 21, 2024. Please come early to view the exhibition and show your ticket/receipt to the Welcome Desk for free admission before the screening.

And don’t miss out on the John Cage’s Japan series, focusing on Japan’s influence on the iconoclastic 20th century composer.This first-ever John Cage performance series spotlighting Japan kicks off with Paul Lazar’s Cage Shuffle, a solo performance of spoken texts that demonstrates Cage’s strong connection to Japan. It continues with a series of innovative concerts curated by distinguished composer/musician Tomomi Adachi, a noted Cage expert, collaborating with New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble and other international guest performers. 

Image: Pitfall © 1962 Teshigahara Productions.

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, November 3, 2023
  • 7:00 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Reserved Tickets
  • $16 Nonmembers
  • $8 Members
  • $14 Seniors/Students
  • $14 Person with Disability