Villon’s Wife

July 14, 2010
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Film past event

2009, 114 min., 35 mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Kichitaro Negishi. With Takako Matsu, Tadanobu Asano, Shigeru Muroi, Masato Ibu.

"A quietly magnificent cast."  – Ronnie Scheib, Variety

Filmmakers who try to match the manic despair of artists, camera for pen or brush, rarely pull it off. With Villon’s Wife, one of the most acclaimed Japanese films from last year, veteran director Kichitaro Negishi (What the Snow Brings) turns the spotlight on the artist’s companion, giving her flesh, blood and the radiant beauty of Takako Matsu. Based on a semi-autobiographical 1947 short story by Osamu Dazai, this period piece flows from the preternaturally patient woman Sachi, who bears the burden of resilience and devotion that seems to be the natural lot of the artist’s wife. One night, her Byronic (i.e., drunk and unfaithful) husband Otani stumbles home, followed by an outraged bar owner (Masato Ibu) who accuses him of stealing ¥5,000 from his cash register. To avoid further complications, Otani’s wife offers to work at the bar as a self-professed "guarantee" for her husband’s debt. The relationship between Sachi and Otani waxes and wanes, deepens and shifts as Sachi’s growing empowerment threatens to destroy the fragile balance of their marriage and the two characters try to drown both their hopes and regrets. The role earned Takako Matsu the 34th Hochi Film Award, the 22nd Nikkan Sports Film Award and the 2010 Japan Academy Prize for Best Actress, while Negishi won the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival for Best Director.

Part of Japan Cuts: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

$12 / $8 Japan Society members, seniors & students

Buy Tickets Online or please call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.

  • Wednesday, July 14, 2010
  • 6:30 pm