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Upcoming Occurrences:

  • November 17, 2016 – 8:00 pm
  • November 19, 2016 – 6:30 pm
  • November 19, 2016 – 10:00 am
  • November 20, 2016 – 6:30 pm
  • December 9, 2016 – 7:00 pm
  • January 13, 2017 – 7:00 pm

Film Series: “Samurai and Cinema”

Bold, powerful, deadly—these words epitomize the samurai of the silver screen. Inspired by the historical military caste, samurai films tell human stories with rousing action and adventure. Exemplifying the archetype of a noble warrior, these characters continue to captivate audiences, whether they appear in stately period films or kitschy slashers.

Join us for an eclectic series of influential Japanese samurai films at four locations around Nashville. The Frist Art Museum’s “Samurai and Cinema” partners are Belcourt Theatre, International Lens at Vanderbilt University, and Light + Sound Machine at Third Man Records. 

This series is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, on view at the Frist Art Museum through January 16, 2017.


Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 p.m.
Film: Yojimbo (1961)

Location: International Lens at Sarratt Cinema, Vanderbilt University (2301 Vanderbilt Place)
Introduction by Yoshikuni Igarashi, professor of history, Vanderbilt University Asian Studies Program

110 minutes. NR. Blu-ray. Japanese with English subtitles.

The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic samurai story. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. This exhilarating genre-twister remains an influential and entertaining film.

Thursday, November 17Doors open at 7:00 p.m., film begins at 8:00 p.m.
: Lady Snowblood (1973)
Location: Light + Sound Machine at Third Man Records
623 Seventh Avenue South
$8 Belcourt/Frist/Vanderbilt members; $10 general admission
(Frist members, use code SamBF2016 for discount)

Gory revenge is raised to the level of visual poetry in Toshiya Fujita’s stunning Lady Snowblood. A major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, this endlessly inventive film, set in late nineteenth-century Japan, charts the path of vengeance taken by a young woman (Meiko Kaji) trained as an assassin after the loss of her family to a gang of brutal criminals. In this cornerstone of Japanese action cinema, Fujita creates a bloody, beautiful extravaganza full of spectacularly choreographed swordplay and arresting cinematography.

97 minutes. NR. Blu-ray. Japanese with English subtitles.


Saturday, November 19, 10:00 a.m.
Film: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Location: Belcourt Theatre
$7 Belcourt/Frist/Vanderbilt members; $8.50 general admission

From acclaimed animation studio Laika and director Travis Knight comes an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan. Kubo ekes out a humble living, but his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past, which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his missing father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his magical shamisen Kubo must battle gods and monsters to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

101 minutes. PG. DCP. English.


Saturday, November 19, noon (second film begins at 2:40 p.m.)
Sunday, November 20, 6:30 p.m. (second film begins at 9:10 p.m.)
Double feature: Harakiri (1962) and Samurai Rebellion (1967)
Location: Belcourt Theatre
$10 Belcourt/Frist/Vanderbilt members; $13 general admission
(Frist members, use code SamBF2016 for discount)

Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property. But when the samurai inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him, things take an unexpected turn. Iyi’s clansmen believe that the desperate ronin is merely angling for charity, but they have underestimated his honor and his past. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi’s masterful Harakiri is a scathing denouncement of feudal authority and hypocrisy.

135 minutes. NR. 35mm. Japanese with English subtitles. 

Samurai Rebellion 
Legendary actor Toshiro Mifune stars in Masaki Kobayashi’s gripping Samurai Rebellion as an aging swordsman living a quiet life until his clan lord orders his son to marry the lord’s disgraced mistress. Reluctantly, father and son take in the woman, and, to the family’s surprise, the young couple fall in love. But when the lord demands her return and the son refuses, they risk the destruction of their entire family.

121 minutes. NR. 35mm. Japanese with English subtitles.

Friday, December 9, 7:00 p.m.
Film: The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Location: Frist Art Museum Auditorium
First come, first seated

Experience the adventure of one of Akira Kurosawa’s most beloved films. The Hidden Fortress stars Toshiro Mifune as a general guarding his defeated clan’s princess as the two make their way across enemy territory, accompanied by a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants and pursued by a menacing enemy. 

139 minutes. NR. 35 mm. Japanese with English subtitles.

Image: Courtesy Toho Co, Ltd.


Friday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.
Film: Seven Samurai (1954)

Location: Frist Art Museum Auditorium
First come, first seated

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai tells the story of a sixteenth-century Japanese village whose desperate inhabitants hire seven warriors to protect them from invaders. Considered the masterpiece of acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa, this film features legendary actors and riveting action, weaving philosophy and entertainment into an unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

Seven Samurai is unrated and appropriate for ages 13 and up.

207 minutes. NR. 35 mm. Japanese with English subtitles.

Image: courtesy Toho Co., Ltd.


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