American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for Over 80 Years!


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Series programmed by:Chris D.
Special Thanks to: Sarah Finklea and Brian Beloverac/JANUS FILMS..

 

 

SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

 

 

All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $10 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling. Aero Theatre: Barry King.

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<<< February 6 - 8, 2009 >>>

Masaki Kobayashi's Epic Japanese Classic: THE HUMAN CONDITION Trilogy

 

This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive

 

Between 1959 and 1961 pantheon Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi (HARAKIRI, KWAIDAN) released his mammoth three-part epic THE HUMAN CONDITION (NINGEN NO JOKEN). Chronicling the trials and tribulations of a pacifist (Tatsuya Nakadai of SWORD OF DOOM, KAGEMUSHA and RAN) and his wife (Michiyo Aratama), director Kobayashi follows the idealistic young man as he tries to improve the lives of inmates at a forced labor camp in pre-WWII Manchuria. Nakadai comes into conflict with his superiors, is chastised and ultimately drafted by his militaristic bosses when he proves too humane. Sent to fight the Russians as war breaks out, he undergoes massive trauma in battle and fights to reunite with his long-suffering spouse. Not as well known as Akira Kurosawa’s famous humanist epics, Kobayashi’s THE HUMAN CONDITION is a masterpiece on an epic scale about one man who resolutely follows his conscience when the world is dissolving into chaos. Nakadai gives one of his greatest, most fully nuanced performances in a film that is easily the equal of THE SEVEN SAMURAI in international classic cinema status. Parts 1: NO GREATER LOVE, 2: THE ROAD TO ETERNITY & 3: A SOLDIER’S PRAYER run approximately 3 hours each. One part will be screened each night – by the end of the weekend you will have witnessed the whole magnificent 9 plus hours. It is not an exaggeration to call this cinematic experience a revelation and particularly relevant in light of current world events. Special thanks to Janus Films for striking new prints for this limited re-release. "…a sprawling…epic of love, war, heroism and cruelty…Kobayashi’s monumental film can clarify and enrich your understanding of what it is to be alive." – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

 

 

 

Friday, February 6 – 7:30 PM

THE HUMAN CONDITION – NO GREATER LOVE (NINGEN NO JOKEN I), 1959, Janus Films, 205 min. In real life, director Masaki Kobayashi (KWAIDAN) served in the Japanese Imperial Army but continually refused promotion, remaining a private throughout the duration of WWII as a way of protest. In this first installment of what is probably Kobayashi’s most outstanding achievement as a filmmaker, Tatsuya Nakadai portrays a newlywed pacifist who is sent with his wife (Michiyo Aratama) to Manchuria to put into practice his theories for improving conditions at labor camps. But optimistic Nakadai is slowly undermined not just by his civilian superiors’ complacency but also the brutal inhumanity of the military police overseers. The opening salvo of one of the great cinematic sagas of the 20th century, a classic that stands alongside Rossellini’s OPEN CITY, Kurosawa’s IKIRU and Kazan’s ON THE WATERFRONT as a social document defining personal courage. "…a richly rewarding visual and human experience in all its bleakness…Nakadai's performance as a man of Christlike forbearance, who travels to the edge of human endurance in a doomed and lonely struggle against an evil society, is both moving and charismatic." – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

 

Saturday, February 7 – 7:30 PM

THE HUMAN CONDITION – THE ROAD TO ETERNITY (NINGEN NO JOKEN II), 1959, Janus Films, 181 min. Dir. Masaki Kobayashi. At the end of the first installment, Tatsuya Nakadai’s attempt to work good in an evil system fails when everything the system represents conspires against him. In the second film, Nakadai is drafted and sent into a barbaric regimen of training as a punishment for his refusal to give up his humanist principles. The Soviet Union declares war on Japan, and its galvanized army floods into Manchuria. Enduring the horrors of the battlefield as well as abuse from many of his fellow soldiers for his pacifist reputation, Nakadai tries his best to stay in touch with his long-suffering wife (Michiyo Aratama). "THE HUMAN CONDITION was made at around the same time as Satyajit Ray’s APU trilogy and Luchino Visconti’s ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, and like them it is a work of large-scale realism grounded in a thorough but undogmatic left-wing political sensibility…amazingly powerful in its emotional sweep and the depth of its historical insight." – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

 

Sunday, February 8 – 7:30 PM

THE HUMAN CONDITION – A SOLDIER’S PRAYER (NINGEN NO JOKEN III), 1961, Janus Films, 190 min. Dir. Masaki Kobayashi. As the Soviets overrun the disintegrating Japanese war machine, Tatsuya Nakadai and a comrade (Yusuke Kawazu) are overlooked. They try to make their way south, encountering a striking variety of refugees along the way. But Nakadai is eventually taken prisoner and shipped off to a Siberian P.O.W. camp. Upon arrival, he finds the most viciously unrepentant of the Japanese soldiers have been made trustees by their Soviet masters while the majority of the detainees are being systematically starved. At last, barely alive Nakadai escapes into a hellish frozen wasteland – but does ultimate salvation or oblivion await him? "Kobayashi views his characters with tremendous compassion and a grand, overall sense of historical irony…By the unutterably tragic conclusion of Part III, in which the story of one man's inevitable destruction seems to embody the demolition of all the 20th century's most noble dreams, I was profoundly grateful…to have stuck with THE HUMAN CONDITION to the end." – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com