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The Masseurs and a Woman

Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 5:30 pm

Location: Redstone Theater


Dir. Hiroshi Shimizu. 1938, 66 mins. 35mm print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan. In Japanese with live English subtitles. With Mieko Takamine, Shin Tokudaiji, Shinichi Himori, Shin Saburi. Shimizu’s most eccentrically personal film, which he conceived and wrote himself and shot on his favored Izu peninsula, opens on a pair of blind masseuses, Tokuichi (Tokudaiji) and Fukuichi (Himori), framed in one of his signature reverse tracking shots, as they stroll down a winding country road toward a hot springs resort nestled in the mountains. There, as in Mr. Thank You and the later, similarly set Ornamental Hairpin, they come across a variety of characters whose dilemmas range from tragic to comic, suggesting another of Shimizu’s cross-sections of contemporary Japan. Tokuichi’s stirrings of romantic longing for a mysterious young woman (Takamine) provide the wisp of a narrative that goes on to elegantly weave a series of fine-grained studies of lonely, transient souls seeking temporary refuge from society. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). There is a $1.50 transaction fee per ticket for all online purchases. The cost of admission may be applied toward a same-day purchase of a membership. 

Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission.