“Four Seasons in Japan: A Cycle of Film Classics” Free Film Series at the Clark

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2009

The “Four Seasons in Japan: A Cycle of Film Classics” film series at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute takes a turn through the years with a sampling of classic work from four Japanese masters of cinema who made the postwar era a golden age of film in Japan. Films, held on Fridays at 4 pm, are in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission to the films is free.

Kenji Mizoguchi’s celebrated tale Ugetsu (1953, 96 min.), shown on June 12, follows a sixteenth-century potter who leaves home to sell his wares in the midst of a civil war, and is captivated by a ghost princess.

On June 19 catch When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960, 110 min.), by Mikio Naruse. This modern story examines the life of a woman who ascends (and descends) the stairs to the Ginza bar where she serves as a female companion to businessmen, in a niche between geisha and prostitute.

On June 26 Yasujiro Ozu’s valedictory film An Autumn Afternoon (1962, 112 min.) recapitulates his customary themes, with a widower marrying off his daughter as the modern postwar world supplants traditional Japanese ways.

Ran (1985, 160 min.) will be shown on July 3. Akira Kurasawa’s culminating masterpiece adapts King Lear to a mythical samurai past with pageantry and passion, mounting some of the most spectacular battle scenes ever filmed.

Seasonal change and depictions of the natural world have formed a core in the repertoire of Japanese artists throughout the ages. The exhibition Through the Seasons: Japanese Art in Nature at the Clark brings together screens and scrolls from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries and displays them with contemporary ceramics, each work emphasizing the inspirational role of nature in Japanese art. Drawn from both public institutions and private collections, many of these works have never before been exhibited. Through the Seasons will be on view in Stone Hill Center’s galleries June 7 through October 18, 2009.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November 1 through May 31. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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