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Kuroneko: a ghost story...Masters of Japanese Cinema

Masters of Japanese Cinema

Masters of Japanese Cinema shines a light on the rich history of Japanese cinema, from old masters such as Ozu, Akira Kurosawa and Naruse, to modern masters such as Miyazaki, Kore-eda, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Curated by Jeff Purdue, a librarian and professor at Western Washington University. In addition to his library duties, he occasionally teaches classes on popular music at Fairhaven College. He is an avid fan and student of Japanese film and popular music.



Showing at Pickford Pickford
  • Tue. 3/12 6 pm

99 minutes • 1968 • Japan • In Japanese w/ English subtitles • Unrated

Film Trailer

PFC's Masters of Japanese Cinema

"A ghost story that's more eerie than unnerving, and often hauntingly lovely." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

In this poetic and atmospheric horror fable, set in a village in war-torn medieval Japan, a malevolent spirit has been ripping out the throats of itinerant samurai. When a military hero is sent to dispatch the unseen force, he finds that he must struggle with his own personal demons as well. From Kaneto Shindo, director of the terror classic Onibaba, Kuroneko (Black Cat) is a spectacularly eerie twilight tale with a shocking feminist angle, evoked through ghostly special effects and exquisite cinematography.

Shindo Kaneto had a long career in the Japanese film industry, starting from humble origins to become one of the premier writers and later directors of the 40s through the 90s.  Shindo died last May at the age of 100!  Of the many films of note that Shindo scripted, perhaps the most memorable is Yoshimura Kozaburo’s A Ball at the Anjo House from 1947, a melodramatic and baroque look at a fading aristocratic family.  As a director, he is probably most famous for Onibaba, an earlier exercise in horror, but he also directed wonderful films like the hard-to-categorize Naked Island and Children of Hiroshima.  Most of these films, Kuroneko included, starred Otowa Nobuko, who was Shindo’s partner and later wife – a wonderful actress, Otowa is an indication of the sheer number of excellent actresses in Japanese film during these years.  Kuroneko is part of the tradition of vengeful spirits horror films in Japan, a tradition that persists to this day (Ringu and Ju-on are famous examples).  This is a gorgeously photographed and haunting film.  Hope to see you all there.

Jeff Purdue


I also want to mention again that in April, we will show Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s remarkable 1986 film, Dust in the Wind.  This film comes with my highest recommendation.  More details to come.

 Finally, I wanted to direct you to a video essay about the Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu.  We featured the Kore-eda film Still Walking three years ago in the first year of the MoJC series; some of you may have been lucky enough to see his most recent film I Wish when that was screened at the Pickford last fall.  Kore-eda is my favorite currently-active Japanese director.  The essay is called “The World according to Kore-eda: How Japan’s modern master revives our taste for everyday life.”  That subtitle exactly expresses my conception of why we value art, and gets to why I personally watch movies, read books, and listen to (and play) music.  I was so moved by this essay when I saw it that I shared it with several friends and thought I would share it with all of you as well.  It takes 10 minutes to watch: I hope you enjoy:

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Library Reading Series: Wed. 2/27

 Western Libraries Winter Reading Series

Presents Christopher Wise, Ph.D
Professor of English & Comparative Literature

"Leo Africanus In Timbuktu:
The Askiyas of the Songhay Dynasty
The Plundering of Northern Mali,
Past and Present"

Wednesday February 27th
Wilson 4 Central Reading Room  4 - 5:30 pm

"This talk will compare and contrast early images of Timbuktu during the era of the Askiyas, as documented in Leo Africanus' extant writings, Amin Maalouf's Leo Africanus, as well as writings of Timbuktu chroniclers from the era of the Askiyas, especially Al Hajj Mahmud Kati, author of the Tarikh al fattash."

Western Libraries has been awarded the national Bridging Cultures Bookshelf award, sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  “The Bookshelf is intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.” As an award winner, the libraries will receive the “Muslim Journeys” collection of books, films and a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online which will be available later in the winter quarter. 


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Guterson @ WWU 2/21: Art & Craft of Writing

"The Art and Craft of Writing”
Thursday Feb. 21, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

WWU, Miller Hall 138

Aspiring writers will want to attend this session to hear about Guterson's writing process and learn practical tips to take their writing to the next level. 

Before writing professionally, David Guterson worked as a teacher for 12 years.  Snow Falling on Cedars won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1995.

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Children's Lit. Conference this Sat.: register online







10th Anniversary!


Online registration is now open. You won’t believe how easy and convenient it is.

Schedule of Events

2013 WWU Children’s Literature Conference

Saturday, February 23, 2013
8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Performing Arts Center ~ Concert Hall

The 2013 Speakers will be:
Katherine Applegate Winner of the 2013 Newbery Award! The One and Only Ivan (Starred Reviews in School Library Journal & Kirkus), Home of the Brave (Golden Kite Award), Roscoe Riley Rules series, Animorphs book series (co-written with Michael Grant).

Susan Campbell BartolettiHitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Newbery Honor and Sibert Honor), Black Potatoes: The Great Irish Famine (Sibert Winner), They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group (YALSA Excellence in Non-Fiction Finalist), Kids on Strike! (Jane Addams Award).

Michael GrantBzrk, Eve & Adam (co-written with Katherine Applegate), Gone series (Best Children’s Novel for Hunger, SCBWI 2009), The Magnificent 12 series.

Brian PinkneyTime of the Drums (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award), Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book), Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Caldecott Honor Award), Faithful Friend (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor), The Adventures of Sparrowboy.

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Wonderful Stupid Man: Readings by Allen Frost



Join Allen Frost as he reads
from his new book
of short stories...
Sunday Februar
y 10th  7 PM
Wilson Library 477  

Allen Frost lives in Bellingham and works at Westerns’ library.  Author of six books of poetry and fiction, Allen is working on a new book of poetry.
“These stories were written over the space of 24 years from Maine to New York, Ohio and on the west coast again … Allen hopes you will see these 39 stories as connected chapters. .. or as episodes in some strange late-night television show.  “I spent a fair number of evenings watching Outer Limits and Twilight Zone and those sci-fi movies hosted by vampires. You sit there in that blue glow and suddenly you’re on a planet of blackberries…”

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Whatcom Reads! Author HERE! this week


Whatcom READS! 2013

   David Guterson's

            Snow Falling on Cedars...

     Haunting and atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is part love story, part courtroom drama, and part historical fiction.

Set on an island in Puget Sound in the 1950s, it involves the death of a white fisherman.  A Japanese-American man is charged with murder. Snow Falling on Cedars touches on issues of race, war, honesty, and betrayal. 

 Join Award-Winning Author David Guterson
at the following events

Discussion the book with the author
Tuesday, February 19, 2013          1:00pm - 3:00pm
Bellingham Public Library  Lecture Room, 210 Central Avenue
Everyone welcome.

The ultimate book discussion -- with the author!  This is your chance to explore the themes in Snow Falling on Cedars and find out what the author intended.  Learn which characters may have been based on real-life historical figures...and where is San Piedro Island, anyway?  The discussion will be moderated by Suzanne Carlson-Prandini, who leads Bellingham Public Library's monthly book group.  Bring a friend!

An Evening with Author David Guterson
Wednesday, February 20, 2013   7:30 - 9:00 pm 
Syre Center, Whatcom Community College

Attend David Guterson's keynote address at the location most convenient to you.  Copies of Guterson's books will be available for purchase.  Book signing to follow.


"The Art and Craft of Writing”
Thursday February 21, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Western Washington University, Miller Hall 138

Before writing professionally, David Guterson worked as a teacher for 12 years.  Snow Falling on Cedars won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1995.  Aspiring writers will want to attend this session to hear about Guterson's writing process and learn practical tips to take their writing to the next level.  

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Dec. 11 Masters of Japanese Cinema

Pickford Film Center and Western Libraries present...

the Masters of Japanese Cinema Film Series   


     Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence    
            6:30pm Tuesday, December 11th
        Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street.

In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima, David Bowie regally embodies Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Rock star Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed this film’s hypnotic score) plays the camp commander, obsessed with the mysterious blond major, while Tom Conti is the British lieutenant colonel Lawrence, who tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between captor and prisoner. Also featuring actor-director Takeshi Kitano in his first dramatic role, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash, and one of Oshima’s greatest successes.

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