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Silver Screen Club


VENUES AND TICKETS
Whitsell Auditorium
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

The Box Office opens 30 minutes prior to showtime.

PARKING

ADMISSION PRICES
$9 General
$8 PAM Members, Students, Seniors
$6 Friends of the Film Center

Tickets are now available online. Click on the 'Buy Tickets' links to buy online.

BOOK OF TEN TICKETS
$50 Buy Here

THE 10-MINUTE RULE
Seats for advance ticket and pass holders are held until 10 minutes before showtime, when any unfilled seats are released to the public. Thus, advance tickets or passes ensure that you will not have to wait in the ticket purchase line but do not guarantee a seat in the case of arrival after the 10-minute window has begun. Your early arrival also helps get screenings started promptly. We appreciate your understanding. Advance ticket holders who arrive within the 10-minute window but are not seated may exchange their tickets for another screening at the Ticket Outlet or obtain a cash refund at the theater. There are no refunds or exchanges for late arrivals or for missed screenings.



   
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Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition

This year, we depart from the usual contemporary focus of our annual Japanese Currents series to explore in depth the evolution of a particularly Japanese film genre: the samurai film. Fittingly, this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Akira Kurosawa, the legendary director whose films are perhaps most commonly associated with the genre. But the samurai film has come a long way since Kurosawa’s epics of the 1950s, venturing into subgenres of horror, exploitation film, melodrama, even comedy. Its influence has permeated international cinema, inspiring prominent Western filmmakers, critics, and fans alike. The samurai era may have passed, but as the screenings in this series demonstrate, the samurai film genre, now some sixty years old, is alive and fighting.

Special thanks to the Japanese Consulate of Portland for its support of the series. Co-sponsored by the Japan America Society of Oregon.



Wed, Nov 17, 2010
at 7 PM

Mon, Nov 22, 2010
at 6 PM

Watch Trailer
Read Review
SEVEN SAMURAI
DIRECTOR: AKIRA KUROSAWA
JAPAN, 1954

When bandits threaten, the residents of a small farming village seek an army of samurai to protect their harvest and families. Veteran warrior Kanbê (Takashi Shimura) answers their call, bringing seven masterless samurai together in a bond of honor and respect—and humor, thanks to the antics of swordsman Kikuchiyo (Toshirô Mifune). Hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, Kurosawa’s masterpiece not only spawned the samurai film genre, but also prompted numerous imitations including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and THE WILD BUNCH. “Kurosawa’s masterpiece. The greatest battle epic since BIRTH OF A NATION. Widely imitated, but no one has come near it.”—Pauline Kael. (207 mins.)

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Thu, Nov 18, 2010
at 7 PM

Tue, Nov 23, 2010
at 7 PM

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Read Review
THE HIDDEN FORTRESS
DIRECTOR: AKIRA KUROSAWA
JAPAN, 1958

In this comic romp, two luckless, greedy peasants (played by Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara) strive to make a quick buck in the midst of a war. Their homeland, Akizuki Province, has been captured by enemy forces, its princess and gold cache missing. While searching for the treasure, the two peasants meet famed samurai Makabe (Toshirô Mifune), who is protecting the princess and the gold and enlists their help in transporting both to safety in a neighboring province. The peasants’ bickering antics not only buoy the comic energy of the film, they also provided the inspiration, decades later, for two much-beloved George Lucas characters. (126 mins.)

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Wed, Nov 24, 2010
at 7 PM

Read Review
THE NEW TALE OF ZATÔICHI
DIRECTOR: TOKUZÔ TANAKA
JAPAN, 1963

Though the great Toshirô Mifune may be a more familiar face to American audiences, it is the blind masseur and master swordsman Zatôichi (Shintarô Katsu) who deserves the title of most popular Japanese movie hero ever, starring in 26 films spanning three decades. In this third installment in the series, Zatôichi meets his former sensei and mentor (Seizaburo Kawazu), who, now corrupt, conspires with local thugs. At the same time, Zatôichi falls for his mentor’s sister, whom he cannot marry unless he renounces the sword. Burdened by his reputation and his past, Zatôichi longs to change, but giving up the sword proves easier said than done. (91 mins.)

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Wed, Dec 1, 2010
at 7 PM

Fri, Dec 3, 2010
at 9 PM

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Read Review
SWORD OF DOOM
DIRECTOR: KIHACHI OKAMOTO
JAPAN, 1966

Unlike previous cinematic samurai, bound in honor and pure of heart (if not of action), the central figure in SWORD OF DOOM is a swordsman without scruple. Ryunosuke Tsukue (chillingly played by Tatsuya Nakadai) is a skilled fighter who hones his craft by killing all who cross his path, from an old man encountered by chance on a mountain pass to a fellow fencer whose wife begs for mercy. He finds his foil, however, in a virtuous fencing teacher (played by—who else?—Toshirô Mifune), whose wise words, “The sword is the soul,” begin to haunt Ryunosuke, leading to his frenzied disintegration in the brutal final scene. (120 mins.)

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
at 7 PM

Sat, Dec 4, 2010
at 9 PM

Watch Trailer
Read Review
SHOGUN ASSASSIN
DIRECTOR: ROBERT HOUSTON, KENJI MISUMI
US / JAPAN, 1980

In the 1970s, six LONE WOLF AND CUB films were released in Japan, all directed by Kenji Misumi and centered on a mysterious samurai/assassin who roams the countryside looking for work while pushing his two-year-old son in a wooden baby cart. The films were never released in the U.S., until 1980 when, prompted by the popularity of “Shogun” on TV, director Robert Houston edited the first two LONE WOLF AND CUB films together, rewrote the dialogue, and commissioned a new electronic score by Mark Lindsay (of the Mamas and the Papas fame). The result was the hyper-violent SHOGUN ASSASSIN, which showcased for American audiences the brutal artistry of Kenji Misumi’s original direction and the brooding intensity of Tomisaburo Wakayama as an assassin and father haunted by the past. (85 mins.)

Dubbed in English.

Co-presented with Portland’s Grindhouse Film Festival.

Festival director Dan Halsted will introduce the screenings.


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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
at 7 PM

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Read Review
TABOO
DIRECTOR: NAGISA ÔSHIMA
JAPAN, 1999

A skilled young swordsman named Kano (Ryûhei Matsuda) is inducted into the renowned Shinsengumi samurai school. With his long locks, high cheekbones, and cool impassivity, Kano soon becomes an object of desire, pursued by men from his fellow inductee Tashiro (Tadanobu Asano) to several leading officials. Kano is equally an object of mystery to his superior, Captain Hijikata (Takeshi Kitano), through whose eyes the audience sees the story. Hijikata, and by extension we the viewers, will never know what qualities make Kano so magnetic or with whom Kano is involved. Jealousy, rumor, and Kano’s own inscrutability cloud the truth, leading to deceit and murder. (100 mins.)

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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
at 7 PM

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Read Review
THE HIDDEN BLADE
DIRECTOR: YÔJI YAMADA
JAPAN, 2004

Set at the end of the samurai era, when Western weapons and military tactics are replacing the traditional schools of swordsmanship and codes of honor, THE HIDDEN BLADE takes as its hero Munezô (Masatoshi Nagase), a low-ranking samurai whose heart also feels the conflict of the old and the new. In love with his family’s maid, Munezô is unable to marry her because of the strict feudal class lines dividing them. At the same time, when a former friend and fellow samurai is arrested for treason, Munezô is ordered to kill him. Director Yamada (THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI) crafts a quiet, heartfelt melodrama, an elegy to the passing of the samurai era. (132 mins.)

This screening will be introduced by Samurai aficionado Patrick Galloway, author of such fan favorites as “Stray Dogs and Lone Wolves,” “Warring Clans, Flashing Blades: A Samurai Film Companion,” and “Asia Shock: Horror and Dark Cinema from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand.”


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Sat, Dec 11, 2010
at 7 PM

Sun, Dec 12, 2010
at 7 PM

Watch Trailer
SWORD OF DESPERATION
DIRECTOR: HIDEYUKI HIRAYAMA
JAPAN, 2010

Kanemi Sanzawon (Etsushi Toyokawa) lives a quiet life as a samurai. His reputation is unblemished, his skill as a swordsman unmatched, and his home life peaceful, his days spent taking care of his late wife’s niece. Until one day, the tranquility of Sanzawon’s life is shattered when he kills the poisonous mistress of his powerful daimyo. Death by execution seems the inevitable punishment for his crime, but unexpectedly Sanzawon receives a light sentence: one year of isolated imprisonment. When Sanzawon returns to his clan, his seeming good luck continues: he is hired to serve as the daimyo’s assistant and must use his unique sword-fighting skills to protect the daimyo from a rival who threatens to overthrow him. (114 mins.)

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