Ozu’s Innovative Melodrama Woman of Tokyo Screens May 5 in 35mm with Live Accompaniment by Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 • Seniors: $9 • MBT Members: $7

Saturday, May 5 @ 11:30 AM / Live Organ Accompaniment from Dennis Scott
WOMAN OF TOKYO
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu • 1933
In Japanese with English subtitles
Although the Japanese film industry had been producing sound movies since the dawn of the decade, Yasujiro Ozu continued to turn out silent features until 1936. Ozu’s silent output was not a dead end, but a site of fervent experimentation and refinement, as demonstrated by Woman of Tokyo, a masterful miniature that applies the lessons of Ernst Lubitsch’s narrative shorthand to a new milieu. (A scene from Lubitsch’s If I Had a Million segment is excerpted at length, and the screenplay is credited to one “Ernst Schwartz”—an Ozu pseudonym.) Two pairs of adult siblings attempt to eke out a living in Tokyo: a university student (Ureo Egawa) shares an apartment with the sister (Yoshiko Okada) who pays for his education while his girlfriend (Mizoguchi regular Kinuyo Tanaka) lives with her policeman brother (Shin’yô Nara). When Nara learns that Okada may be supplementing her typist income with disreputable side gigs, the cheerful cop ruins one life and another in turn.  A staunchly feminist tragedy that envisions gender roles as pernicious traps for men and women alike, Woman of Tokyo plays like a melodrama refracted through a prism of avant-garde technique. Upon the belated American premiere in 1982, critic J. Hoberman cited Woman of Tokyo as the year’s best film. Co-presented with Chicago Critics Film Festival (KW)
47 min • Shôchiku Eiga • 35mm from Janus Films
Film Stock: Fuji
Short: A Straightforward Boy [Fragment] (Yasujiro Ozu, 1929) – 14 min – 35mm

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The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, May 9 @ 7:30 PM
MA AND PA KETTLE
Directed by Charles Lamont • 1949
Nearly 50 years before television audiences gathered to have a good collective chuckle at the technologically challenged Ozzy Osbourne trying to work his new TV set on The Osbournes, there was the first Ma and Pa Kettle film, in which a loveable hillbilly family (Ma, Pa, their numerous children and farm animals) living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Washington move into a brand-new “house of the future” after Pa wins a slogan-writing contest for a tobacco company. Already on the verge of being evicted from their charming squalor, they move into the modern, mostly automated dream home only to be plagued by its state-of-the-art gadgets. Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride) first graced the screen as supporting characters in The Egg and I playing neighbors to a newlywed couple (Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurrary) trying to make a go at chicken farming. Universal subsequently launched a spin-off franchise of nine films about the Kettle clan that were so popular they helped pull the studio from the brink of bankruptcy. We doubt it will do the same for us, but we promise there will be hijinks, projectiles, and laughs more numerous than the Kettle kids, which is, well … a lot. (RL)
76 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Cartoon: Porky Pig in “The Swooner Crooner” (Frank Tashlin, 1944) – 7 min – 16mm

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