Imported 35mm Print. In Somai’s relentless and near-mythical tale of the high seas, a young man takes on the intergenerational calling of his girlfriend’s family—that of a tuna fisherman. Abandoning his father’s vocation, Shinichi (Koichi Sato) turns to his girlfriend’s father Fusajiro, a leather-faced fisherman played by Ken Ogata, to teach him the ways of the sea but struggles to assimilate to the rugged and callous lifestyle. His doting girlfriend Tokiko finds herself caught in a current of emotional devastation as she tends to both men, witnessing the arduous occupation harden and shape Shinichi as he obsesses over mastering his new trade. Playing out as a family tragedy of repeated cycles of trauma and pain, Somai’s maritime odyssey is a modern-day Melvillian epic.
Dir. Shinji Somai, 1983, 140 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. With Ken Ogata, Masako Natsume, Koichi Sato.
Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.
$15 Nonmembers / $10 Members
Part of the Globus Film Series: Rites of Passage
April 28—May 13, 2023
Rites of Passage showcases the work of Shinji Somai, an iconic Japanese director who remains largely unrecognized in the West. A pioneering filmmaker in the 1980s—a period sometimes described as Japanese cinema’s lost decade—Somai has had a persistent influence on filmmakers that followed, including Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Encompassing a mix of genre and stylistic conventions from independent art dramas to idol vehicles, Somai’s films are tied together by his potent depictions of the turbulence and volatility of youth growing up in an increasingly chaotic world.
Image: The Catch © 1983 Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Rites of Passage: The Films of Shinji Somai is supported, in part, by a generous gift from The Globus Family.
Special Thanks to Bret Berg (AGFA); Ed McCarry (Cinema Guild); Miki Zeze (Kadokawa); Alo Joekalda (The National Film Archive of Japan); Mami Furukawa and Umi Yamamoto (Nikkatsu); Aya Takagawa (Shochiku).
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 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.
- May 12, 2023
- 7:00 pm
- Reserved Tickets
- $15 Nonmembers
- $10 Members
- $12 Students/Seniors
- $10 Person with Disability