By Stephen Gong
CAAM Executive Director
In a couple of weeks, the beloved San Francisco Silent Film Festival comes to the Castro Theatre for its annual four-day run. We at CAAM are thrilled to co-sponsor the July 19 screening of Yasuhiro Ozu’s TOKYO CHORUS.
Please come and join us for this rare treat, a warm-hearted, delicately composed tale of parental love and middle-class dreams and realities. Here’s a chance to see an early work of this cinema giant already demonstrating his trademark ability to convey subtle aspects of Japanese culture and family relationships. TOKYO CHORUS, made in 1931, serves as a prequel of sorts to the director’s silent masterwork I WAS BORN, BUT… made the following year. Ozu is perhaps best known for his post-war family dramas, such as TOKYO STORY, FLOATING WEEDS, and EARLY SUMMER.
TOYKO CHORUS stars Tokihiko Okada and Emiko Yagumo as the young parents, and features Hideko Takamine as the young daughter at the beginning of her remarkable career as one of Japan’s greatest actresses, (perhaps best known for Kinoshita’s TWENTY-FOUR EYES (1954).
What makes this screening, and the entire experience of the SFSFF so magical is the perfect combination of place (the Castro Theatre), and world-class musical accompaniment (for TOKYO CHORUS, the renowned Gunter Buchwald). This festival includes restorations of a number of terrific silent films, including Harold Lloyd’s SAFETY LAST and Greta Garbo in G.W. Pabst’s THE JOYLESS STREET.
If you love silent film, well, you already know about this festival. If you haven’t experienced a great silent film with live musical accompaniment in a movie palace, well, come and be prepared to be blown away.