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Chronicles of Inferno: Japan’s Art Theater Guild

Sunday, February 10, 2013
5:00 p.m. The Inferno of First Love
Susumu Hani (Japan, 1968)

In Person/Susumu Hani and producer Kimiko Nukamura
Introduction/Miryam Sas

UPDATE: Susumu Hani and Kimiko Nukamura regret that they must cancel their Bay Area visit.

Miryam Sas is a professor in the Departments of Film and Media and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley.

(Hatsukoi jigokuhen). A portrait of a Tokyo and Japan on the crux of worlds old and new, Inferno combines the documentary film techniques of director Susumu Hani—hand-held shooting, the use of nonactors, observational street footage—with an experimental, wildly kinky fictional script by underground provocateur Shuji Terayama. We follow two young almost-lovers, the boy an adoptee with father issues, the girl more “experienced” thanks to her job as a nude model, as they weave through contemporary Tokyo’s nightclub/counterculture district, Shinjuku, with its strip clubs, molesters, and gangs. Infernos, first loves: Hani brilliantly balances hell and heaven, the decadent and the naïve, to reveal a world where opposites exist hand-in-hand. “We are now living between two worlds—the traditional one, which is crumbling, and the new one, which is burgeoning,” wrote Hani. “Living between them, we are confronted with both. In consequence, we live in frustration.”

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Shuji Terayama, Hani. Photographed by Yuji Okumura. With Akio Takahashi, Kuniko Ishii, Koji Mitsui, Kazuko Fukuda. (107 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 16mm, From The Japan Foundation, permission Susumu Hani)