Kuroneko (”The Black Cat”) on screen

Specialty distributor Janus Films has struck new 35mm prints of Kaneto Shindo’s legendary film, KURONEKO (”The Black Cat,” 1968), a follow-up to the writer-director’s  wonderfully creepy ONIBABA (”Demon Woman,” 1964). KURONEKO has long been one of the most hard-to-find Japanese horror classics; it is known stateside mostly by reputation, but that reputation is a strong one: by all accounts this is one of the great incarnations of a popular trope in Japanese horror: the ghost cat (i.e., female spirits of murder victims who return in feline form to extract revenge).

KURONEKO has never been available on Region 1 DVD, so this will be the first opportunity that many US. viewers have had to see the film. The fact that it is being screened in a new 35mm print suggests that a home video release is in the works, but why wait? See it on the big screen!

KuronekoFrom the official website:

In war-torn medieval Japan, a demon haunts the Rajomon Gate, ripping out the throats of samurai in the grove beyond. The governor sends a war hero to confront the spirit, but what the man finds are two beautiful women who look just like his lost mother and wife. Both a chilling ghost story and a meditation on the nature of war and social hypocrisy, Kuroneko is the second horror triumph from director Kaneto Shindo (Naked Island, Onibaba), who mixes stunning visuals, an evocative score, and influences from traditional Japanese theater to create an atmospheric, haunting, and emotionally devastating masterpiece.

PLAYDATES:
  • October 22 – 28: New York, NY – Film Forum
  • October 29 – November 4: Boston, MA – Landmark Kendall Square
  • November 5 – 11: Portland, OR – Cinema 21
  • November 19 – 25: Los Angeles, CA – Landmark Nuart
  • November 26: San Francisco, CA – The Castro Theatre
  • December 3: Rochester, NY – George Eastman House
  • December 24 – 30: Denver, CO – Denver Film Society
  • January 13-16 Cleveland Cinematheque in Cleveland, Ohio
  • January 21-27 SJFF Cinema in Seattl,e Washington
  • February 3 The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA (double bill with HOUSE/HAUSU)
  • Feburary 3-6 Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, B.C.
  • February 11-17 Bloor Cinema in Toronto, ON
  • February 25 – March 3: Minneapolis, MN – Landmark Theatres
  • March 11-17 Landmark E-Street in Washington, D.C.
  • March 23 The Castro Theatre in San Francisco, CA (double bill with HOUSE/HAUSU, formerly announced for March 9)
  • March 30 The Cinema Arts Center in Hungtington, NY
  • April 1-7 Keene State College, Keane, New Hampshire
  • April 8-10, 15-17 in Detroit Institute of the Arts in Detroit, Michigan
  • NO LONGER LISTED, APPARENTLY CANCELED: April 22-28 Tivoli Cinemas in Kansas City, MO
  • April 29 BAMcinematek in Brooklyn, NY
  • May 6-10 Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • July 14 Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (formerly listed as July 8-9)
  • July 30 & August 1: Gene Siskel Film Center (w/retrospective) – Chicago, IL
  • August 4-5: The Paramount Theatre – Austin, TX
  • October 29: The CInematheque (w/ retrospective) – Madison, WI
  • March 17, 2012: International House (with retrospective) – Philadelphia, PA

Note: This list may not be complete. To see new dates as they are confirmed, click here.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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