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Chronicles of Inferno: Japan’s Art Theater Guild

Saturday, February 9, 2013
8:00 p.m. She and He
Susumu Hani (Japan, 1963)

In Person/Susumu Hani
Introduction/Series co-curator Roland Domenig

UPDATE: Mr. Hani regrets that he is unable to visit the Bay Area as planned.

(Kanojo to kare). On its release, She and He was compared by western critics to the films of Antonioni, and indeed Susumu Hani enters similar thematic territory in this telling of a middle-class woman's sudden realization of her alienation from the world around her. Naoko (Sachiko Hidari) lives comfortably with her young-executive husband (Eiji Okada, Hiroshima, Mon Amour) in a sterile Tokyo suburb; in a marriage drained of passion, they have virtually become "She" and "He." Hani infuses an elliptical narrative with a sense of authenticity drawn from on-location shooting and a cast of both professional and nonprofessional actors: Ikona, the ragpicker, is portrayed by a spindly painter in his first acting role; the blind girl, by a blind girl. Sachiko Hidari won the Best Actress award at the 1964 Berlin Film Festival for her altogether contemporary portrayal of a woman driven mad by so-called "happiness." "A young housewife in a good neighborhood refuses to ignore the ragman, the blind girl, the homeless dog, and thus precipitates a confrontation with, among others, her husband,” wrote Donald Richie. “But she won't back down—the order of the pronouns in the title tells it all."

• Written by Hani, Kunio Shimizu. Photographed by Shigeichi Nagano. With Sachiko Hidari, Eiji Okada, Kikuji Yamashita, Mariko Igarashi. (111 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From The Japan Foundation, permission Audio-Visual Media Ltd.)