Summer Vacation 1999

March 13, 2014
past event image
Film past event

Introduction by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Film, Emeritus, The Museum of Modern Art.

Donald Richie on Summer Vacation 1999:
"This profoundly romantic, beautifully realized independent production is one of the most original Japanese films of the year…. It is a muted, intense, romantic fusing of love and death. To this an entirely new dimension has been added by casting young girls (14 to 15) in the roles of the four young boys. The result is astonishing and extremely moving. One watches these young people, so young that a degree of androgyny is expected, and it is as though one is watching adolescence for the first time." (Excerpted from Richie’s "New Japanese Cinema" report to Japan Society, spring 1988.)

A student has committed suicide at a boys-only boarding school located in the middle of a forest. During the summer vacation of 1999, only three students remain and one day, a boy who looks exactly like the dead student shows up. Inspired by Thomas’ Heart (Toma no shinzo), a legendary popular manga by Moto Hagio, Shusuke Kaneko (1955- ) depicts teenage yearning, mystery and dark passion. The screenplay is by Rio Kishida, a long-time collaborator with poet-filmmaker-theater director Shuji Terayama, and the mesmerizing cinematography is by Kenji Takama.

1988, 90 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Shusuke Kaneko. With Eri Miyajima, Tomoko Ohtakara, Miyuki Nakano, Rie Mizuhara (currently Eri Fukatsu). Voiceovers by Minami Takayama, Nozomu Sasaki, Hiromi Murata.

Part of Richie’s Electric Eight: A Tribute to Donald Richie (1924-2013), Part 2

Followed by the Yaoi Party! Guests are warmly encouraged to wear their most gender-bending outfits to participate in the spirit of Summer Vacation 1999’s androgynous young characters. The party features a live performance by the high-energy glam jazz pop band Ideal Orkestra.

Ideal Orkestra, founded by musician/composer Willard Morgan and featuring Uta Bekaia’s avant-garde art wear, performs original compositions as well as jazz, blues, and pop hits. Ideal Orkestra’s recent tour played Maastricht, Paris, Brighton, Toronto, Miami and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Orkestra’s Sweat Shop Boogie, a song cycle and art installation, explores the domestic and global impact of humanity’s obsession with fashion.
Watch Ideal Orkestra on YouTube.
*The term yaoi originates from a genre in Japanese manga, which features homoromantic male relationships, and is predominantly created by women for female audiences.

$15/$12 Japan Society members, seniors and students

  • Thursday, March 13, 2014
  • 7:00 pm