Sonatine (1993) stars comedian-director Takeshi Kitano as the stone-faced Murakawa, a middled-aged gangster based in Tokyo who seems to have had enough of the brutal yakuza business when an assignment takes him to the picturesque beaches of Okinawa to lay low. Twenty-five years after it was first released in Japan, Sonatine is still contentious with some––it was universally considered a commercial failure upon release in its home country of Japan––and largely overlooked by others. Join us to revisit this masterful take on the gangster genre (with a gangster-on-vacation twist).

by Takeshi Kitano
1993, digital projection, 94 min




Though made nearly forty years apart by directors from very different backgrounds, we want to examine Toni and Killer of Sheep as kindred spirits of humanist cinema; both share a preference for the rhythms of everyday life over strict narrative plotting, a certain sense of musicality, and a foot in the world of neo-realism (even when Toni was made a decade before the neorealist movement in Italy and Killer of Sheep was made nearly thirty years after).

Both feature non-professional actors and on-location shooting (Toni in Martigues, southern France, and Killer of Sheep in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles) for stories of life without solutions. Each protagonist is shown in relationship to the relentless pressures of their society's economic malaise: Toni is a migrant laborer who travels from Italy to France for work in the quarries, and Stan is a slaughterhouse worker struggling to make enough money to support his family. In the end, each film finds a deeply felt intensity for those it poetically portrays and the situations they are confronted with as part of life's rhythms and songful fates.

by Jean Renoir
1935, digital projection, 90 min

by Charles Burnett
1978, digital projection, 83 min