On Nov. 5, the Astoria-based Museum of the Moving Image hosted An Afternoon with Tatsuya Nakadai, in honor of the 50th anniversary of “The Sword of Doom.”
The event included a screening of the seminal film followed by a discussion with the film’s 83-year-old star, Tatsuya Nakadai.
Nakadai has starred in classic films including “Yojimbo” and “Ran,” and has worked with some of Japan’s greatest directors.
The visit marked Nakadai’s fourth appearance to the Museum of the Moving Image and the aging star was still spry and engaging.
Nakadai recalled vivid details from the film’s production from over fifty years ago including the epic final sword battle, which took four days to shoot. He also lent his insights into the themes of the film. He felt some themes came from Buddhist thought.
“The Sword of Doom” is referred to in Japanese cinema as a “chanbara,” or sword fight film. Nakadai informed the audience that during the era “The Sword of Doom” was produced in, Japanese actors never used stunt doubles saying being able to wield a sword was an important part of acting in movies and required dedication and practice.
The Japan Foundation and Janus Films provided the Museum of the Moving Image a beautifully restored 35mm print of the film imported from Japan. The film was screened in the museum’s Redstone Theater, which boasts world-class image and audio.
While the vast majority of movie theaters today utilize digital projectors, film stock creates a different aesthetic and seeing a movie screened in 35mm film is a treat. Despite the ever increasing resolution and image quality of televisions, the experience of screening a movie on film stock as opposed to a digital format is something that cannot be replicated at home.
Art house audiences tend to be quieter than the crowds who attend local multiplex and the audience at An Afternoon with Tatsuya Nakadai was no exception. The audience was quiet and respectful until it was time to welcome Tatsuya Nakadai to the stage with a standing ovation.
The special programming at the Museum of the Moving Image makes it a special destination to watch a movie. It’s an ideal place to screen a film regardless if you are a casual moviegoer or a true cineaste.