The inside story of Manhattan art-house film
Plus: Japanese Mini Film Festival

Saturday, May 8, 2010 @ 3-7 PM and @ 8-10 PM
Sunday, May 9, 2010 @ 3-5 PM and 7:30-9 PM

Wild & Wonderful Affair

THE WAH Center (Williamsburg Art & Historical Center), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY is pleased to present a two day event, which includes a talk and book signing by Toby Talbot followed by a talk on Japanese Cinema and Literature by Dr. John Gillespie followed by four outstanding Japanese film screenings.

The event will begin with a talk on her newly published book by Toby Talbot, THE NEW YORKER THEATER AND OTHER SCENES FROM A LIFE AT THE MOVIES. In this lively memoir, Toby Talbot reveals the inside story behind the pioneering art house she and her husband Dan Talbot managed through the sixties and early seventies. It was a golden age in cinema, French New Wave making a big splash on the screen, and a turbulent time in politics, with the uprising of Columbia University in 1968.. The Upper West Side hub became a kind of wild cinema university, attended by viewers from the five boroughs, along with Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Susan Sontag, Andrew Sarris, and Pauline Kael. The Talbots also dsitributed political films, such as Bernardo Bertolucci's BEFORE THE REVOLUTION, and documentaries such as SHOAH and POINT OF ORDER. Talbot enhances her stories with selections from the New Yorker guest books, photographs, and program notes by Jack Kerouac, Jules Feiffer, Peter Bogdanovich, Jack Gelber, and Harold Humes.

Toby Talbot, a native New Yorker, and her husband Dan Talbot first owned and ran the New Yorker Theater in the 1960's, then Manhattan's Cinema Studio and Metro Theater in the mid-1970's and early 1980's. They currently own and run Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Talbot is the author of A BOOK ABOUT MY MOTHER, EARLY DISORDER, as well as numerous children's books, and many translations. She now teaches documentary film at the New School University in New York.

Talbot's talk will be followed by a lecture by Dr. John Gillespie on THE JAPANESE CINEMA AND LITERATURE: FOUR POLARITIES.

Dr Gillespie contends that four sets of tensions or polarities can be said to characterize artistic expression in Japan. While these polarities may not necessarily be unique to Japan, their particular presence and dynamic within the Japanese context serves to make Japanese artistic expression-including, of course, Japanese cinema and literature-strikingly rich and evocative.” Dr Gillespie hopes that some insight into these four polarities-interior/exterior; poetry/prose; aristocratic/popular; and fiction/fact-can provide a means to more deeply appreciate the very fine films on our program.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Japan, Dr. Gillespie graduated from the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. He majored in Literature and Philosophy at Houston Baptist University and subsequently conducted research for one year each at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the University of Paris in France, and Kyoto University in Japan. In 1979, he earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Culture at Indiana University. He has taught at the University of the Pacific, Ohio State, Southern Illinois, and St. John's University, and from 1986 to 1989 served as Director of the Japan Film Center and the Performing Arts Program for the Japan Society in New York. He is the author, with Yoichi Sugiura, of two books: Traditional Japanese Culture and Modern Japan (1993) and A Bilingual Handbook on Japanese Culture (Tokyo: Natsume-sha, 1999, 2004). And outside the U.S., Dr. Gillespie has worked extensively in East and Southeast Asia--particularly in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong--and in Europe, and he writes frequently on cross-cultural management and related issues, such as U.S.-Japan trade.

Schedule of the Events:

Sat. May 8 @ 3 PM - a talk on the newly published book THE NEW YORKER THEATER AND OTHER SCENES FROM A LIFE AT THE MOVIES by Toby Talbot and a book signing.

Sat. May 8 @ 4:30 PM - a talk on The Japanese Cinema and Literature by Dr. John Gillespie followed by a film,LATE SPRING by Yasujiro Ozu (1949, 108 minutes): It is Ozu’s masterpiece. It is a subtle, eloquent tale of filial devotion and parental sacrifice.

Sat. May 8 @ 8:00 - a talk on The Japanese Cinema and Literature by Dr. John Gillespie followed by a film, THE EEL by Shoei Imamura (1996, 117 minutes): a story about rage, crime, and the possibilities of redemption.

Sun. May 9 @ 3 PM - a talk on The Japanese Cinema and Literature by Dr. John Gillespie and followed by a film, AFTER LIFE by Hirokazu Koreeda (1998, 118 minutes): is set in a way station where the souls of the recently deceased are processed before entering heaven. "Heaven," for the film, is a single memory from one's life.

Sun. May 9 @ 7:30 - a talk on The Japanese Cinema and Literature by Dr. John Gillespie followed by a film,FIREWORKS by Takeshi Kitano (1997, 103 minutes): is about a violent and unpredictable police detective who quits the force after a terrible incident that results in his partner becoming confined to a wheelchair. After his retirement he spends much of his time looking after his beloved wife who has leukemia. He has also borrowed money from the Yakuza to pay for his wife's needs, and is having difficulty repaying them. Meanwhile, his partner takes up painting and creates works of art that are surrealistic and beautiful.