Rochester, N.Y., May 25, 2016—Renowned film scholar David Bordwell will present the annual James Card Memorial Lecture at the George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre on Sunday, May 29 at 2 pm. The legacy of James Card, who was the museum’s first curator of motion pictures and is credited for helping to establish it as a leader in the fields of cinema and film preservation, is honored each year with a visiting lecture and film showing from his personal collection.
This year Bordwell will be introducing the featured film Wife! Be Like a Rose! aka Kimiko (Mikio Naruse, 1935). For this Memorial Day weekend event, admission to both the lecture and film screening is free and an American Sign Language interpreter will be present.
“James Card’s role in building the moving image collection at the Eastman Museum and in furthering the cause for film preservation worldwide is without equal,” Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of the Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum. “He was a collector, educator, and a true showman. He had a genuine passion for preserving the art of cinema and for sharing it with the widest possible audience.”
Bordwell is the Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and one of the most influential figures in film studies today. His lecture will include personal recollections of Card’s contributions as a master archivist, as well as fill in the context of 1930s Japanese cinema—one of the true “golden ages” of film history—with an emphasis on Kimiko’s director Mikio Naruse’s role in it.
The film, Kimiko, premiered in New York in 1937, and was the first Japanese film to have a commercial run in the United States. The story focuses on Kimiko, a young woman whose parents have been separated. In the hopes of bringing her father back to her mother, she sets out to find him in the countryside, only to discover that he is happy living there with his hospitable and genuine mistress.
According to Bordwell, “The Japanese cinema of the 1930s was as diverse and exciting as Hollywood’s, and it produced many masterpieces. But Western audiences were late in discovering this ‘golden age.’ The postwar films of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu attracted attention gradually, and only after the revelations of Rashomon and Tokyo Story did critics realize that these achievements were part of a glorious tradition. Even today, this era is too little known, and Naruse is only starting to be recognized by contemporary audiences. Kimiko was virtually the only Japanese film of the 1930s to find distribution in the US and Europe, and it is very typical of the understated drama and cinematic flair we find in Japanese film of its era… James Card appreciated the strengths of Kimiko and saw Naruse as an overlooked original in world filmmaking.”
To learn more about James Card, an ongoing exhibition titled Collecting Shadows: The Legacy of James Card is currently on display at the George Eastman Museum.
About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active publishing program and, through its two joint master’s degree programs with the University of Rochester, makes critical contributions to the fields of film preservation and of photographic preservation and collection management. For more information, visit eastman.org.
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