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Broken Pots, Broken Dreams: Working in Jingdezhen’s Porcelain Industry

In person: Maris Gillette, director Anthropologist Maris Gillette’s documentary about ceramists in Jingdezhen complements ideas about mass production presented in Chinamania. China’s turn to a market-based economy has affected the personal and professional lives of ceramists in Jingdezhen, a global center of porcelain production for more than a thousand years. Gillette gives a short talk before the screening. Afterward, Lee Glazer, curator of American art, joins her for a moderated Q&A session with the audience. (Dir.: Maris Gillette, United States, 2009, 27 min. DVD, Mandarin with English subtitles). Venue: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Event Location: Sackler sublevel 1, southeast galleries. Cost: Free. Saturday, October 1, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "No Regrets for Our Youth"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Setsuko Hara worked just once with the legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Fittingly, the result is the only film in Kurosawa’s substantial body of work featuring a female protagonist. Hara gives a remarkable performance as Yukie, who, in the militarist years leading up to World War II, evolves from a bourgeois student to the wife of a dissident author to a committed social activist. “Her rejection of the class and gender roles assigned to her, and her transformation from genteel, middle-class young girl to uninhibited woman are at the heart of this remarkable film” (Elliott Stein, Village Voice). (Dir.: Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1946, 110 min. B&W, 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, October 8, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Late Autumn"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Watch the trailer.  Setsuko Hara’s performances in the films of Yasujiro Ozu are among her most mesmerizing. This supreme example of Ozu’s pared-down, emotionally stirring late style is no exception. It is essentially a remake of their first collaboration, 1949’s Late Spring (showing at the AFI Silver Theatre in November). In the earlier film, Hara played a daughter under pressure from her widowed father to get married. In Late Autumn, she plays the parent trying to marry off her daughter so she can wed one of her own suitors. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian calls it “another gem from the Ozu canon, a masterpiece of tendernesss and serio-comic charm, as tonally ambiguous and morally complex as anything he ever made.” (Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1960, 128 min. DCP, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 9, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Repast"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. In this film by Mikio Naruse, Japan’s foremost cinematic portraitist of women buffeted by fate, Setsuko Hara gives a brilliantly nuanced performance as an Osaka housewife. Feeling trapped in her marriage to a stockbroker, she is galvanized by a surprise visit from her husband’s niece, who is on the run from her parents. She takes the troublesome young woman back home to Tokyo—and contemplates never returning. Profound and subtle, this is “one of Naruse’s finest works,” wrote critic Audie Bock. Film description courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre. (Dir.: Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1951, 97 min. B&W, 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 16, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "The End of Summer"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Setsuko Hara is as radiant as ever in her final collaboration with director Yasujiro Ozu. She plays the daughter of a sake company owner, who is trying to find suitable husbands for his two daughters. Meanwhile, the family business is in danger of going under, and the father restarts an affair with a former mistress, much to his children’s horror. Like Ozu’s other late films, The End of Summer takes a wise, moving look at generational conflicts within families, resulting in one of his “most deftly modulated blendings of comedy and tragedy” (Criterion Collection). The film seems especially poignant today: two years later, Ozu was dead, and Hara entered her self-imposed exile from the public eye, never to be seen onscreen again. (Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1961, 103 min. 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles). Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 16, 2016, 4:30 PM.

Film: "A Ball at the Anjo House"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History, Warner Brothers Theater. Watch a clip.  In the New York Review of Books, Robert Gottlieb praised A Ball at the Anjo House as one of Setsuko Hara’s “greatest films”—so great, in fact, that writer Susan Sontag once traveled from New York to Boston just to see it. Hara’s extraordinary performance is at the heart of this drama about a wealthy family devastated by Japan’s defeat in World War II. They hold one final glamorous ball before they have to give up their mansion and, with it, their way of life. This rarely screened gem has been compared to such great works as Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, and Satyajit Ray’s The Music Room, and it was named by Japanese film critics as the greatest film of 1947. (Dir.: Kozaburo Yoshimura, Japan, 1947, 89 min. B&W, 16mm, Japanese with English subtitles) Image ©1947 Shochiku Co. Ltd. Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, October 22, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Film: "Daughters, Wives and a Mother"

This screening is held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Watch the trailer (Japanese). With great performances by an A-list cast, this film stars Setsuko Hara as Sanae, a recent widow who has returned to the family home with a sizeable sum of insurance money. Her arrival triggers discord in a family already coming apart at the seams. Daughters, Wives and a Mother contrasts Sanae's virtuous daughter against her scheming, cash-strapped, and self-centered relatives, highlighting the mismatch between how families ought to be versus how they actually behave. Mikio Naruse's usual grim outlook on modern society is no less tarnished by this film's resplendent color and Toho Scope cinematography: the vibrancy only enhances the loathsome quality of human nature. Film description courtesy of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. (Dir.: Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1960, 123 min. 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles) Image ©1960 Toho Co. Ltd. Venue: Portrait Gallery. Event Location: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Cost: Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, October 23, 2016, 2:00 PM.