Shitamachi: Tales of Downtown Tokyo

October 4th 2019 - November 26th 2019

Series site

Shitamachi – “downtown” Tokyo or (literally) “low town” – is the low-lying eastern side of the city, including such famous districts as Ginza, Ueno, and Asakusa (Tokyo’s one-time “42nd Street”). Beginning with the feudal Edo period, Shitamachi also referred to the area and culture of the lower classes, and, even as physical boundaries have become increasingly blurry, it still suggests class struggle, brash characters (like Tora-san or Mifune’s yakuza in Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel), a particular cityscape (pachinko parlors, black markets, cramped bars, and narrow, raucous shopping streets), popular entertainment (rakugo — Japanese “sit down” comedy — and kabuki), and even cuisine (yakitori and ramen, inexpensive food consumed at train stations) — capturing the imagination of moviemakers from the silent era to the present. This series includes 25 rare films (many in 35mm) imported from Japan — several of them featuring subtitles created especially for our screenings.

Programmed by Aiko Masubuchi
Co-presented by The Japan Foundation

Upcoming Screenings

  • Tokyo Twilight
    Yasujirō Ozu1957141 minDCP
    • Film Forum
      • Wednesday Nov 2012:40pm8:25pm
      • Thursday Nov 2112:40pm8:25pm
      • Friday Nov 2212:40pm5:45pm
      • Saturday Nov 2312:40pm5:45pm
      • Sunday Nov 2412:40pm5:45pm
      • Monday Nov 2512:40pm5:45pm
      • Tuesday Nov 2612:40pm5:45pm

Past Screenings