The Last Men of Japanese Film

Japanese film legends Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara, both of whom passed away last November, will be the subject of the first joint tribute outside of Japan, which will feature the brand-new 2K remaster of Kinji Fukasaku’s 1973 classic Battles Without Honor and Humanity, screened for the first time in North America. Other titles will include Abashiri Prison, Cops vs. Thugs, The Man Who Stole the Sun, Nihon Kyokaku-den (Tales of Chivalry in Japan), and Wolves, Pigs and Men—all made with honor and humor by civilized craftsmen, in sharp contrast to prefabricated conveyor-belts products that have conquered Japanese screens. In the same way that the archetype of American masculinity was defined by the post–World War II generation of tough-guy actors (James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood), “Ken-san” and “Bun-chan” have set the blueprint for what it meant to be a man in defeated postwar Japan. Their performances invented Japanese cool, decades before the government figured “cool” was a marketable concept for its soft power ambitions.

Presented with the support of Japan Foundation New York.