Film at Lincoln Center Presents Yoshimitsu Morita Retrospective

Yoshimitsu Morita Retrospective

Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 11

Walter Reade Theater – 165 W. 65th Street

Admission: $15 | $12 students, seniors, and persons with disabilities | $10 members

Get lost with Film at Lincoln Center in a cinematic labyrinth of desire, chaos, and joy in Yoshimitsu Morita, a retrospective of the Japanese filmmaker’s career, from December 2 through 11 in their theaters in partnership with the Japan Foundation. Across a 30-plus-year career, Morita (1950–2011) amassed one of the most fascinatingly idiosyncratic and prolific bodies of work in modern Japanese cinema.

Yoshimitsu Morita

From his irreverently comic 1981 Something Like It to his 1983 breakout black comedy, The Family Game, to forays into melodrama (And Then, 1985), the hard-boiled film (Deaths in Tokimeki, 1984), the pink film/roman porno (Top Stripper, 1982), horror (The Black House, 1999), and romantic drama (Haru, 1996), Morita’s work is marked by an incomparable sensitivity to the peaks and valleys of the inner landscape of Japanese society, a penchant for subtle injections of “surreality” to highlight the absurdity of certain aspects of Japanese life, an omnipresent sense of irony, and a boldly iconoclastic approach to visual composition. Morita’s films deal with many of the same subjects as those of his better-known predecessors and successors, but from a wholly singular point of view, yielding a richly heterogeneous and perpetually surprising oeuvre overdue for discovery.

Dan Sullivan and Aiko Masubuchi organized the retrospective. All twelve films in are in Japanese with English subtitles.

To purchase tickets, please visit filmlinc.org. Our friends at Film at Lincoln Center are providing free community tickets! Click here for the eligible films.

The Family Game, part of the Yoshimitsu Morita Retrospective at Film at Lincoln Center
The Family Game

Schedule

Friday, December 2

6:30 p.m. – The Family Game
1983 | 106 minutes
New 4K Remaster | Introduction from producer Kazuko Misawa
Visually inventive, bitingly sharp, audacious, and full of wit, The Family Game announced the arrival of Morita as a remarkable new voice in Japanese cinema whose influence still sends out ripples today. This 1984 New Directors/New Films selection finally returns in a new 4K remaster.

9:00 p.m. – Deaths in Tokimeki
1984 | 105 minutes
Introduction from producer Kazuko Misawa
A visually arresting mood piece shrouded in mystery follows a young man as he prepares for a deadly hit job under orders from a shadowy organization. Awe-inducing camerawork abounds, and Morita’s powerful direction is heightened by Osamu Shiomura’s unforgettable 1980s synth score.

Saturday, December 3

6:15 p.m. – The Black House
1999 | 118 minutes
Introduction from producer Kazuko Misawa
In Morita’s provocative and utterly absorbing mid-career feature (and first horror film), an insurance agent receives a phone call from a suicidal woman, setting in motion a chain of increasingly unnerving events.

8:45 p.m. – The Family Game

Sunday, December 4

1:00 p.m. – Lost Paradise
1997 | 119 minutes
Introduction from producer Kazuko Misawa and composer Michiru Oshima
Adapted from a novel by Junichi Watanabe, Morita’s sixteenth feature is an expansive mood piece and a meditative tale of forbidden love, starring Hitomi Kuroki and Kōji Yakusho as passionate paramours in a society in which infidelity is eminently taboo.

6:15 p.m. – The Family Game

8:45 p.m. – Main Theme
1984 | 101 minutes
This star vehicle for pop idol Hiroko Yakushimaru is a coming-of-age romance between an apprentice magician and a former preschool teacher who has lost her way. Morita uses his sizable, industry-backed budget to present an irreverent road movie full of delightful tricks and confetti.

Monday, December 5

1:30 p.m. – The Family Game

Tuesday, December 6

1:30 p.m. – The Family Game

Wednesday, December 7

6:30 p.m. – Something Like It
1981 | 103 minutes
Morita’s debut theatrical feature is a charming and comical coming-of-age tale set in the worlds of rakugo, a traditional form of Japanese sit-down comedy, and sex work. Real-life rakugo artists are featured in abundance, lending the film an authenticity that enhances Morita’s stylized viewpoint.

9:00 p.m. – The Family Game

Thursday, December 8

6:30 p.m. – Haru
1996 | 118 minutes
Before Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail, there was Haru—an off-kilter tale of boy-meets-girl-virtually in the early days of internet chat rooms. Intrigued by the power of words as a visual medium, Morita inventively incorporates onscreen text into his pop avant-garde sensibility.

9:00 p.m. – The Family Game

Friday, December 9

2:00 p.m. – Deaths in Tokimeki

6:30 p.m. – Keiho
1999 | 130 minutes
A spellbinding synthesis of the courtroom drama and the psychological thriller, Keiho follows a young actor as he stands trial for a gruesome double murder—but his strange behavior in custody makes the police and criminal psychologists alike suspicious that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

9:15 p.m. – The Black House

Saturday, December 10

7:00 p.m. – And Then
1985 | 130 minutes
Morita’s award-winning first foray into period films is an adaptation of master of literary modernism: Sōseki Natsume’s celebrated novel of the same title. It’s Morita’s second and final collaboration with the iconic Yūsaku Matsuda (The Family Game), who stars alongside legendary actors like Chishū Ryū of Ozu fame.

9:30 p.m. – Top Stripper
1982 | 67 minutes
Morita’s early feature marked his foray into the pink film and is a coming-of-age tale suffused with anarchic energy and a rebellious touch all his own. It follows a young man who falls in love with a local exotic dancer, setting the stage for a host of disappointments and triumphs.

Sunday, December 11

2:00 p.m. – Kitchen
1989 | 106 minutes
A sui generis film about mourning and starting anew, Kitchen follows an orphan who moves in with a friend of her grandmother’s and his trans mother and looks to the kitchen as a means of coping with her grief.

6:30 p.m. – Haru

9:00 p.m. – The Mamiya Brothers
2006 | 119 minutes
A charming, tender comedy that recalls Morita’s earliest narrative features, The Mamiya Brothers follows two siblings who live together and have created an entire world unto themselves—a world that changes radically when the elder brother falls for a video rental store clerk.