Satan’s Town / Love Letter

February 4, 2023
past event image

This screening features two films.

Satan’s Town

Imported 35mm Print. In this convoluted crime film that echoes Raoul Walsh’s White Heat, a gang boss decides to pull off a heist after getting out of prison, but the team he puts together has multiple competing ambitions and very little loyalty. Suzuki extends his formal experiments to editing a sequence out of freeze-frames and shooting a scene upside-down in a pool reflection, and his sense of humor shows itself in numerous murder scenes, as well as the film’s climax. To viewers who are familiar with only his late Nikkatsu work, Satan’s Town may be the earliest recognizable Suzuki Seijun film. (William Carroll)

Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 1956, 79 min., 35mm, b&w. With Seizaburo Kawazu , Shinsuke Ashida, Ichiro Sugai.

Love Letter

Imported 35mm Print. A pianist goes to visit her lover in the wilderness, with whom she has kept up correspondence by mail, but discovers a secret upon her arrival at his address. This short kayo film (a “ballad” film named after a popular song that would be performed in the film) stars popular singer Frank Nagai as the pianist’s co-performer; he also sings the film’s title track. In addition to its unusual genre, the film’s production values seem incongruous with its short running time—the 40-minute kayo film was shot on location in rural Tohoku with elaborate tracking and crane shots on snowy mountains. The landscape shots are gorgeous, and the interiors in the log cabin are cozy and inviting—with a surprisingly effective result given how little time there is to develop the narrative. (William Carroll)

Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 1959, 40 min., 35mm, b&w. With Kyosuke Machida, Frank Nagai, Hisako Tsukuba.

$15 General Admission / $10 Members

Series Pass
Purchase tickets for all films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket.

Part of the Seijun Suzuki Centennial
February 3—11, 2023

Celebrating 100 years of iconoclast director Seijun Suzuki (1923-2017), a singular force in Japanese cinema whose radical stylistic vision and unpredictable narratives shaped the B-movie genre, Japanese cinephilia and the political New Left, Japan Society and The Japan Foundation present a selection of six films from across the filmmaker’s nearly 60-film body of work, all on imported 35mm prints straight from Japan. Covering ground from his earliest yakuza feature (Satan’s Town) to his unbridled return to studio filmmaking after being blacklisted for 10 years (A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness) and his subsequent independent success (Kagero-za), this special series offers a rare glimpse into the core of Suzuki’s creative genius.

Series guest programmed by William Carroll, Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Co-presented by The Japan Foundation.

Image: Satan’s Town © 1956 Nikkatsu Corporation

Co-presented by the Japan Foundation.

Special Thanks to William Carroll; Shun Inoue and Maya Sato (Japan Foundation).

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and Shiseido Americas. 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 endowment support from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, David Toberisky, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Laurel Gonsalves, and David S. Howe. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.

  • Saturday, February 4, 2023
  • 5:00 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Timed Tickets
  • $15 General Admission
  • Members
  • $12 Students / Seniors
  • $10 Person with Disability