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Short horror stories next for Japanese film series

Oct. 16, 2007

KALAMAZOO--"Kwaidan," (Ghost Stories), directed by Masaki Kobayashi, is the next feature at the Japanese Film Classics series to be shown Thursday, Oct. 25, at Western Michigan University.

The 1964 film is the second of four in the series and begins at 7 p.m. in 3502 Knauss Hall. All films in the series are open to the public free of charge.

"Kwaidan," which translates as "ghost stories," is a series of short films that anticipates the current fad for Japanese horror films by more than 30 years. Through the use of surreal settings, vibrant color and unique pacing, Kobayashi has given this collection of ghost stories film a unique and unforgettable touch.

Other films to be shown in the series include Thursday, Nov. 15, "Sansho the Bailiff," directed by Kenji Mizoguchi; and Tuesday, Dec. 4, "Sword of Doom," directed by Kihachi Okamoto.

Japan has produced several of 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 has been 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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