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A Theater Near You

Saturday, July 6, 2013
8:30 p.m. Kuroneko
Kaneto Shindo (Japan, 1968)

(Black Cat). In twelfth-century Japan, a band of marauding samurai stumble upon two women living in an isolated hut. Moving swiftly from a long, quiet introduction to abrupt violence, the film sustains a haunting and suspenseful pace. Within this hallucinatory atmosphere, Kuroneko, like Shindo’s Onibaba before it, remains a pointed condemnation of Japan’s feudal past and, in its weird way, a celebration of the common people’s immense energy for survival. “My sympathies,” Shindo has said, “are expressed through the peasant mother . . . and her daughter-in-law. . . . My eyes, or rather the camera’s eye, is fixed to view the world from the lowest level of society, not from the top.”

• Written by Shindo. Photographed by Kiyomi Kuroda. With Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kiwako Taichi, Kei Sato. (99 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, ’Scope, 35mm, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)