"Carmen From Kawachi"
(SUZUKI Seijun, 1966, 89 min, Japan, Japanese w/ English subtitles, 35mm)
A 1960s riff on the opera "Carmen" (including a rock version of its famous aria "Habanera"), this picaresque tale sends its heroine from the countryside to Osaka and Tokyo in search of success as a singer. Her journey is fraught with exploitation and abuse at the hands of nefarious men-until Carmen seeks revenge. Mixing comedy, biting social commentary, and Suzuki's customarily outrageous stylistic flourishes, this fast-paced gem is an overlooked classic from his creative late period at Nikkatsu Studios. Rare 35mm print.
"Breezing along on suites of flamenco guitar and light surf rock, Suzuki's female-centered bildungsroman affects a happy-go-lucky atmosphere if only to mask a narrative that is as critical of the machinations of modern Japanese society as any of his bloodier yakuza films." - Harvard Film Archive
"True to form Suzuki adds plenty of black humor and a surreal, ironic edge to most of the scenes. . .a picture of a pulsing, industrializing nation" - Chicago Reader
Sponsored by Duke Cinematic Arts and the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute. Made possible by support from The Japan Foundation.
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- Asian/Pacific Studies Institute