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Zigeunerweisen

June 20, 2024

Zigeunerweisen

(Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 1980)

Los Angeles premiere of 2K restoration!

DOORS 

7:00pm

SCREENING

7:30pm

LOCATION

The Culver Theater
9500 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg
Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg

Co-presented by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities.


In the 1980s, Seijun Suzuki reinvented himself as an independent filmmaker. Freed from the commercial obligations of studio work, he indulged his passion for the Taisho era (1912–26), a brief period in Japanese history likened to Europe’s Belle Époque and America’s Roaring Twenties. Though not linked by plot, these three films—Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za, and Yumeji—embody the hedonistic cultural atmosphere, blend of Eastern and Western art and fashion, and political extremes of the 1920s, all infused with Suzuki’s own eccentric vision of the time.


Named the best film of the 1980s in a poll of Japanese film critics, Zigeunerweisen takes its title from a violin recording by Pablo de Sarasate. The piece haunts the film’s two main characters: Aochi, an uptight professor at a military academy, and his erstwhile colleague Nakasago, now a wild-haired wanderer and possible murderer.


The movie’s plot is a metaphysical ghost story involving love triangles, doppelgängers, and a blurred line between the worlds of the living and the dead. “Underlying the teasing riddles,” writes film critic Tony Rayns, “is an aching lament for the sumptuous hybrid culture of the 1920s that was swept away by the militarism of the 1930s.”


TRT: 145 min.


"With this first installment of his career-riving Taisho Trilogy, Suzuki proved that the films he made as salaried studio director showed only a taste of his true virtuosity and talent." —, Slant Magazine


"An aching lament for the sumptuous hybrid culture of the 1920s that was swept away by the militarism of the 1930s." —Tony Rayns, ICA London


"Playful, sensuous and performed and shot with élan... the first and arguably best achieved part of Suzuki's 'Taisho Trilogy.'" —Time Out


"The first chapter in a loosely knit trilogy all set during the affluent, decadent 1920s, and all intensely, drowsily tripped out on reflexive slippage, narrative Dada, and gender-combat ambiguity." —Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice


"This, the film that properly began the second act of Suzuki's career, finds his tendency to luxuriate in kink intact, though also displays a more solemn side of Suzuki's art, a film of twilit mahogany sitting rooms which slowly ratchets up the tension to an unnerving climax. He would never after return to the frenzied, electrified creative pace of his mid-'60s creative outburst—but neither would he be tamed." —Nick Pinkerton, Artforum


(Available to download after screening date)

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