Exhibition highlights Japanese films

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“Sumi and Samurai: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa,” an exhibition, by Glenn Masuchika, is on display July 3 through Sept. 2, in the Sidewater Commons, 102 Pattee Library on the University Park campus of Penn State.

Sumi is the black ink used by Japanese artists in calligraphy and cartooning, and the samurai are the famed warrior class of Japan. Information Literacy Librarian Glenn Masuchika notes, “Both are essential elements of the film history of Japan.”

The exhibition is a celebration of two masters of Japanese cinema: Hayao Miyazaki, creator of animated movies such as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away," and Akira Kurosawa, director of samurai classics such as "Seven Samurai" and "Rashomon." Miyazaki has officially retired, bringing an end to his illustrious career as a beloved animator and director. Kurosawa died in 1998. Yet the magic created by each man lives on in their works, whether as images of a gigantic, supernatural, part-badger, part-rabbit creature that protects children from the hardships of human existence or as seven samurai battling dozens of bandits in the freezing rain to protect a poor peasant village.

Penn State’s diverse and extensive movie collection in the University Libraries is a treasure to both film scholars and lovers of the art. The collection has the “greatest hits” of top directors but also lesser-known and obscure films that deserve notice, as demonstrated by this exhibit.

Films in this exhibit as well as many others can be borrowed through The CAT, the online catalog. At University Park, the films are shelved for browsing as well. Due to building repairs, they are temporarily located in 203 W Pattee Library through Aug. 21, and then they will be moved back to the permanent location in the Music and Media Center, 211W Pattee Library.

Viewers are urged to explore the Libraries’ film collection to discover or rediscover the life’s work of these two masters of the art but also to seek films by other artists, writers, and directors that will bring joy and excitement into their lives.

For more information or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Jenna Gill, exhibits coordinator, at jmk441@psu.edu or 814-865-9406.

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