THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN: Japan Society Announces Final Titles To Wrap Its John Zorn Line-Up


Regular attendees of Japan Society may be attentive at the latest news regarding their upcoming programming in the wake of the monthly film series, The Dark Side Of The Sun, hosted by avant-garde composer and music arranger John Zorn. As such, Japan Society has listed Oshima Nagisa's 1964 film, It’s Me Here, Bellett - 私のベレット(Watashi no Beretto) as its feature film of choice preceeded by eight experimental shortfilms ready to freshly make their North American premiere on Feburary 20, 2015.
One of the few films produced by the Directors Guild of Japan was a promotional film for the Isuzu Bellett- a sedan car that began manufacture in Japan in 1963. Starting with Yasujiro Ozu as advisor to the script, the credits include a slew of A-list film directors such as Heinosuke Gosho and Yoshitaro Nomura with a hip jazz soundtrack by jazz pianist and composer Hachidai Nakamura (also famous for being the composer of the hit song "Sukiyaki"). This mid-length movie is composed of 3 parts, each featuring the Bellett prominently. Each part utilizes different colors to produce different moods, with part 2 starring Akiko Koyama, Oshima’s wife. Originally made for television, It's Me Here, Bellett is a must-watch for Oshima fans as this will be the first ever official screening in the U.S.
The eight shortfilms that will preceded it are by late animator and cartoonist Tezuka Osamu and will include the following:
Male
おす (Osu)
1962, 3 min., DVD, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A man in a dark room is tormented by a cool cat who wants to make love to his girlfriend cat in peace.

Memory
めもりい (Memorii)
1964, 5 min., DVD, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
In what seems at first to be a light-hearted contemplation on memory, this creative multi-media animation takes a more ironic and cautionary tone.

Mermaid
人魚 (Ningyo)
1964, 8 min., DVD, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
Set to Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and set in a society where no daydreaming and imagination is allowed, a boy is imprisoned for claiming that a fish he rescued had turned into a mermaid.

The Drop
しずく (Shizuku)
1965, 4 min., DVD, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A gag-ridden comedy about a man lost on a raft and his struggle to get the last drop of water fall into his thirsty mouth. The task proves to not be so easy.

The Genesis
創世記 (Souseiki)
1968, 3 min., DVD, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A parody of John Huston’s 1966 religious epic, The Bible: In the Beginning… The intention was to make fun of this high-budget production using basically no budget at all.

Push
プッシュ (Pusshu)
1987, 4 min., DVD, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
In this simple and sharp satire, a man buys everything brand new from vending machines. He eventually goes to God and asks for a brand new Earth.

Muramasa
村正 (Muramasa)
1987, 8 min., DVD, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
A warrior finds a cursed sword stuck in a straw figure and begins cutting more straw figures, only to find them turn into humans once cut. A dark cautionary tale for a world dependent on nuclear weapons. Characters were designed by master kirie (paper cutting) artist Hyakkimaru.

Self-Portrait
自画像 (Jigazou)
1988, 13 sec., DVD, color, no dialogue. Directed by Osamu Tezuka.
The last of Tezuka’s experimental animation, his own face becomes a slot machine of various characters.
Japan Society will then commense the following weekend with special screenings of several of Tezuka's other shortfilm works, including both parts of his musical homage to the history of animation, the 1988 installation of Legend Of The Forest, Part 1- 森の伝説 (Mori No Densetsu), and his son's 2013 follow-up, Legend Of The Forest, Part 2 - 森の伝説第二楽章 (Mori No Densetsu Dainigakusho), along with the 1984 short, Jumping - ジャンピング (Janpingu) and 1985's Broken Down Film - おんぼろフィルム (Onboro Firumu). To learn more about the program and to purchase your tickets, visit the official website with screening dates and ticket links HERE and HERE.

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