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Kwaidan

Thursday, December 19, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Dryden Theatre

(Masaki Kobayashi, Japan 1964, 160 min., 35mm, Japanese w/subtitles)

Voyages and Discoveries. Kobayashi's anthology of four supernatural Japanese folk tales creates quiet unease through mood. Bringing together ravishing colors, sets, costumes, and production design, it resembles a series of woodblock prints or silkscreen paintings come to life, with movements and gestures that pay homage to Noh plays and other stylized dramas. The tales and the camera move deliberately, providing for an abundance of both physical and temporal space. Though not especially unsettling to watch, the film demonstrates how stillness can be frightening, imbuing rooms, corridors, and landscapes with a haunted life of their own, and turning a distant wail, or the wind, into a terrifying event—feelings that linger long after the film has ended.