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Volunteer of the Month Owen Bradford on Kuroneko

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Summer is here, and with it another exciting slate of June programming! I Saw The TV Glow, the critically-acclaimed horror film from A24, continues its extended run through next week. We also see Gregg Araki’s The Living End and John Waters’ Female Trouble screen as part of Be Gay Do Crime, our 2024 Pride series. Later in the month, we open our doors to Ghost: Rite Here Rite Now, the band of the same name’s new concert film, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, this month’s Film Club Members screening! Before we get to all that, however, we’ve got Kuroneko, Kaneto Shindo’s 1968 horror classic, coming up next week!

In the Sengoku period, a woman and her daughter are raped and murdered by soldiers during a time of civil war. Afterwards, a series of samurai returning from the war through that area are found mysteriously dead with their throats torn out. The governor calls in a wild and fierce young hero to quell what is evidently an Onry? ghost. He encounters the two beautiful women in an eerie, beautiful scene. After spiritual purification, he meets the demon in a thrilling fight. A gripping ghost story as well as a clever critique of the samurai system and the values it upheld, Kuroneko remains a high, artistic point in the rich annals of Japanese horror.

We owe the chance to see this movie on the big screen thanks to Owen Bradford, one of two Volunteers of the Month for June! Read what he had to say about the movie as well as his time here at The Frida below, and make sure to come on out for Kuroneko next week!


How did you find out about The Frida Cinema?

I found out two years in 2018. Some friends of mine wanted to go see Rocky Horror, one of the Frida midnight screenings here, so we all went. And then I’ve just been kinda coming regularly ever since just to see random movies.

What made you want to volunteer here?

Well, I’d been visiting here for a few years and I really liked the programming here and what kinds of films they were showing. I had some free time and I wanted to do some type of volunteer work with my time, so it was kind of a great joining of my interests – movies, being here, and wanting to volunteer somewhere – and it worked out well.

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Tell us a little bit about Kuroneko.

So it’s a Japanese film from the New Wave era in Japan. It is a ghost story that’s also a samurai film and it functions in a way kind of like a revenge story but where the revenge is coming from the ghost. Instead of just being a straightforward samurai film, it’s more a critique of the samurai system and the social structure of that warrior class, and it does that through both imitating and critiquing earlier samurai films of the 50s and early 60s in Japan. I think it’s a very visually interesting film when they get into the supernatural elements.

What were your other choices for Volunteer Pick of the Month?

So my other choices were Ugetsu, which is another Japanese ghost story film. This one is from the 50s and it is one of my favorite films. I kinda picked both Kuroneko and Ugestu because I recently saw Harakiri and there was a pretty big crowd, so I figured that there would be a pretty good audience to show these movies that I feel don’t really get quite as much attention as straightforward samurai films.

And then I also picked In My Skin, which is a French horror film from the early 2000s. It’s directed by Marina Devan, who also stars in it. It is part of the new French extreme sub-genre of horror that was occurring in France in the late 90s and early 2000s. It’s a film that I feel like kinda gets lost under some of the bigger names of that subgenre and I feel like it’s a much more personal film from the director and I think it’s a very interesting film that I don’t hear talked about enough.

What is your favorite Frida memory?

If you could program any movie here, what would you pick?

Kuroneko screens starting Wednesday, May 12th.
Wednesday, May 15 – 7:30pm
Thursday, May 16 – 7:30pm
Tickets

 

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