There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
SEPT. 26–OCT. 8
When the United States first occupied Japan, censors banned period movies, lest they glorify “feudalism.” As soon as this prohibition was lifted, directors began to make such films, but they seldom exalted the past. Instead, these stories of samurai and geisha seemed quite forward-looking, in part because they often employed the music of Toru Takemitsu. In addition to composing many concert works, Takemitsu provided scores for 93 films, from sweeping epics to minimalist conundrums. This celebration of what would have been Takemitsu’s 75th year—he died in 1996—culminates with an Oct. 8 concert of the composer’s chamber music. For a fuller understanding of his style, which drew on Western modernism, traditional Japanese forms, and nature sounds, the tribute also presents 10 films with Takemitsu scores, including some of his most powerful. The period movies feature two by Masaki Kobayashi: Harakiri (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26), a revenge tale; and Kwaidan (at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28), a collection of ghost stories whose score consists entirely of electronically treated sounds. Among the others are Akira Kurosawa’s last great film, Ran (at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4), an adaptation of King Lear; and Masahiro Shinoda’s The Assassin (at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7), which was scored only for piano and shakuhachi (Japanese flute). The modern-day films include Hiroshi Teshigahara’s existential allegory Woman in the Dunes (at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27), and Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s Himatsuri (at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3), a brutal ode to nature whose score has been hailed as Takemitsu’s finest. The series opens Monday, Sept. 26, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 8 (see Showtimes[CK] for a weekly schedule), at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)