For over ten years, Pickford Film Center has been screening select choices from the vast and diverse landscape of Asian cinema. Co-presented by the Western Washington University Libraries and curated by Jeff Purdue, chosen films are often accompanied by introductions by educators and experts. From renowned icons Yasujirō Ozu and Edward Yang, to contemporary figures Hong Sang-soo and Jia Zhang-ke, Cinema East strives to provide a look into the wonderful world of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese cinema.

Jeff Purdue is a librarian at Western Washington University, where he also teaches film classes. He has curated Cinema East through all its incarnations for over 10 years.

Jeff Purdue is a librarian at Western Washington University, where he also teaches film classes.  He has curated Cinema East through all its incarnations for over 10 years.

WIFE OF A SPY

Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Master filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse, Cure, Tokyo Sonata) won the Silver Lion (Best Director) at the Venice Film Festival for this riveting, gorgeously crafted, old-school Hitchockian thriller shot in stunning 8K. The year is 1940 in Kobe, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Local merchant and amateur filmmaker Yusaku (Issey Takahashi, Kill Bill) senses that things are headed in an unsettling direction. Following a trip to Manchuria, he becomes determined to bring to light the things he witnessed there, and secretly filmed. Meanwhile, his wife Satoko (Japan Society’s 2021 Honoree Yû Aoi) receives a visit from her childhood friend, now a military policeman. He warns her about Yusaku’s seditious ways and reveals that a woman her husband brought back from his trip has died. Satoko confronts Yusaku, but when she discovers his true intentions, she is torn between loyalty to her husband, the life they have built, and the country they call home.

Introduction by Eren Odabasi, WWU, Film Studies.

Get tickets here.

November 16th, 2021

FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI

Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien

An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, this gorgeous period reverie by Hou Hsiao-hsien traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around four late-nineteenth-century Shanghai “flower houses,” where courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor but forced to work to buy back their freedom. Among the regular clients is the taciturn Master Wang (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), whose relationship with his longtime mistress (Michiko Hada) is roiled by a perceived act of betrayal. Composed in a languorous procession of entrancing long takes, Flowers of Shanghai evokes a vanished world of decadence and cruelty, an insular universe where much of the dramatic action remains tantalizingly offscreen—even as its emotional fallout registers with quiet devastation.

 November 30th, 2021

 

TOUCH OF SIN

Dir. Jia Zhangke

A “brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China” (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic), A TOUCH OF SIN was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world’s fastest growing economy into a period of self-examination. Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke (The World, Still Life), “one of the best and most important directors in the world” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker), this daring, poetic and grand-scale film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces, who are driven to violent ends. An angry miner, enraged by widespread corruption in his village, decides to take justice into his own hands. A rootless migrant discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm. A young receptionist, who dates a married man and works at a local sauna, is pushed beyond her limits by an abusive client. And a young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, only to face increasingly degrading circumstances.

January 11th, 2022

SECRET SUNSHINE

Dir. Lee Chang-dong

When her husband passes away in an automobile accident, Shin-ae relocates down south to her late husband’s hometown of Miryang. Despite her efforts to settle down, in this unfamiliar and much too normal place, she finds that she can’t quite fit in. Helping her out is Kim Jong-chan, a good-intentioned but bothersome bachelor, who owns a car repair shop. Life plods on. However, fate takes a vicious turn when Shin-ae loses her son in the most horrific way a mother could imagine. She turns to Christianity to relieve the pain in her heart, but when even this is not permitted, she wages a war against God.

 February 8th, 2022

 

 

 
 
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