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Samurai drama concludes Japanese film series

Nov. 19, 2007

KALAMAZOO--"Sword of Doom," directed by Kihachi Okamoto, is the last feature in the Japanese Film Classics series to be shown Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Western Michigan University. The 1966 film begins at 7 p.m. in 3502 Knauss Hall and is open to the public free of charge.

"Sword of Doom" is a classic of the genre of swashbuckling samurai dramas known in Japanese as "chanbara." This film is the brilliant study of violence and the madness into which it can lead, and for that reason, it has a cult following in Japan.

Japan has produced several of the most important and visionary directors in the history of cinematography, including the directors sometimes labeled "The Great Three," Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. The work of these and other Japanese directors of the 1950s and 1960s earned a tremendous amount of attention from the international film community and put Japan on the map as a major center of film culture. Each film in the series was chosen to represent the work of one of the epoch-making directors.

Japanese Film Classics is presented by WMU's Soga Japan Center and Department of Foreign Languages. The series is organized by Dr. Jeffrey Angles, assistant professor of Japanese literature and language, who earlier this year worked with the Criterion Collection to provide the audio commentary for the first American DVD release of the film "Sansho the Bailiff." Through his work on "Sansho," Angles arranged for public screenings of the films at WMU, with Janus Films and the Criterion Collection, which hold the rights for all the films in the series.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Angles at jeffrey.angles@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3044.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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