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Introduction
A Wreath for Madame Kawakita

A Wreath for Madame Kawakita

Kawakita Kashiko is a legendary figure in Japanese cinema. She had not acted in a single film, nor had she directed any. Yet, she's widely regarded as the "Mother of Japanese Cinema."

She is revered because of her pivotal role in preserving the heritage of Japanese cinema and in fostering goodwill between cultures through film.

As part of the Towa Shoji workforce - first as a secretary, then as wife of the company's director, later as vice president, soldiering on after the company merged with Toho - Madame Kawakita performed the dual function of promoting Japanese films overseas and introducing foreign films to the Japanese. She championed the work of directors such as Kurosawa Akira, Oshima Nagisa and Ichikawa Kon, opening the world's eyes to Japanese cinema when it was virtually unknown. She also imported films by the likes of Jean Renoir, Luis Bunuel, Ingmar Bergman, Jerzy Kawalerowicz and Satyajit Ray, significantly expanding the vista of Japanese screens.

Madame Kawakita spearheaded the founding of the Japan Film Council, now the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, tirelessly collecting and preserving film materials and offering them to researchers while organizing international events like touring retrospectives of great Japanese directors.

The Hong Kong Film Archive is proud to present "A Wreath for Madame Kawakita", offered by the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Madame Kawakita in 2008. The program features 22 outstanding films by 8 great Japanese directors who had received the Kawakita Award, an honor that recognizes contributions to Japanese cinema. Most of the films are shown in new prints struck especially for this international tour.

 

Last Updated On :27-4-2009