Water Masks, Water Songs:

A confluence of Films for “Where Rivers Meet”



Water Masks, Water Songs: A Confluence of Films for “Where Rivers Meet”

September 29-October 30, 2015

Water Masks, Water Songs is a film series inspired by the main themes of Where Rivers Meet: traditional Japanese noh theater, works of composer Benjamin Britten, the health of rivers, and artistic inspiration across cultures. The film series is also a world tour, passing through the western states of the U.S., London and Scotland, Djibouti (Africa), Japan, France, and India, with a dip into the universal world of animation.

The Films:

September 29 (Tuesday), 6:15-8:45 p.m., Central Library, San Antonio – A River Runs through It


A River Runs through It (Robert Redford, U.S., 1992, 123 min., color, set in Montana) – Robert Redford directs, and Brad Pitt and Tom Skerritt star in this adaptation of Norman Maclean’s semi-autobiographical novel. Set in beautiful rural Montana, this film offers a story of familial struggle and redemption through the art of fly fishing. Preceding the screening there will be a short introduction by environmental historian Dr. Jeff Crane (University of the Incarnate Word). Free and open to the public. (Central Library San Antonio)

October 4 (Sunday), 2-5 p.m., Prassel Auditorium, Witte Museum – The Unforeseen

The Unforeseen (documentary, Laura Dunn, written by Wendell Berry, 2007, color, 93 min.) – Dramatic documentary of the struggles in Austin, Texas between those attuned to environmental concerns and those who focus on land development. By documentarist Laura Dunn (Green), with a poem by Wendell Berry. A beloved body of water, Barton Springs, becomes the site for a fierce ideological battle with long-lasting consequences. With interview segments with Robert Redford, Willie Nelson, Ann Richards, as well as archival footage. A panel discussion with area experts on water usage in South Texas, moderated by Dr. Jeff Crane (University of the Incarnate Word), will follow. Free and open to the public. Cosponsored by Green Spaces Alliance. (Witte Museum)

October 23 (Friday), 5:00-7:30 p.m., UC Auditorium, UTSA – Night Mail and Beau travail

Night Mail (Harry Watt and Basil Wright, 1936, U.K., 25-min. documentary, with words by W.H. Auden and music by Benjamin Britten, black/white) – Pioneering documentary recording the drama of an overnight train transporting mail from London to Scotland. The great documentarist John Grierson narrates, using the words of poet W.H. Auden. Those words, along Benjamin Britten’s remarkable score, imitate the rhythm of the train. Now a classic.
beautravailBeau travail (“Good Work,” Claire Denis, France, 2000, 92 min., color, set in the Gulf of Djibouti, subtitled in English) – Melville’s Billy Budd transposed to the African outpost of Djibouti and set in the world of the French Foreign Legion. Skillfully interwoven with the music of Britten’s opera. By one of the greatest living women directors, Claire Denis (35 Shots of Rum, Nenette and Boni). Intro on Britten and film by Dr. Kevin Salfen (University of the Incarnate Word). Free and open to the public; $2 parking. Cosponsored by Opera San Antonio. (University of Texas San Antonio)

October 24 (Saturday), 3:00 p.m., DoSeum – Ponyo

Ponyo(Gake no ue no Ponyo, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2008, 101 min., color animation, dubbed in English) – This special film by the extraordinary Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) offers a Japanese twist on the familiar story of a creature from the sea who wants to become a human because of love. The balance of Nature, especially the oceans, comes into play as we enter into a mythological (and yet realistic) world through animation. Free with museum admission. Associated events for children and parents led by Jubilith Moore (Theatre Nohgaku) and master mask-maker Hideta Kitazawa. Cosponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal School. (DoSeum)

October 25 (Sunday), 2-5:30 p.m., Room 101 (Auditorium) in Longwith Radio, Television, and Film Building, San Antonio College –The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail and Late Spring

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (Tora no ō o fumu otokotachi, Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1945/52, 59 min., black/white, subtitled in English.) – Based on a Japanese Noh play, this little-known masterpiece by the extraordinary Akira Kurosawa adds a comic element to an actual event in Japanese medieval history.
Late Spring (Banshun, Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1949, 108 min., black/white, set in Kyoto and Kamakura, subtitled in English.) – A sublime, and sublimely human, look at postwar Japan through the eyes of an unmarried young woman (Setsuko Hara) who cares for her widowed father (Chishu Ryū). By the inimitable classical Japanese film director Ozu. With a pivotal scene of a noh performance, and exquisite views of Kamakura and Kyoto. Introductory comments by Dr. Linda Ehrlich (Case Western Reserve University). Post-screening discussion. Free and open to the public. (San Antonio College)

October 30 (Friday), 6:00-9:30 p.m., Rosenberg Sky Room, UIW – Guest lecture by Dr. Linda Ehrlich (Case Western Reserve University), symposium dinner, The River

The River (Le flueve, Jean Renoir, India/France, 1951, color, 99 min., in English.) – Coming-of-age tale of a British girl who grows up in Calcutta, along the banks of the Ganges River. Based on a memoir, the film offers a Technicolor vision of a family immersed in another culture. Directed by one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion, Rules of the Game). Symposium dinner, guest lecture on Renoir by Dr. Linda Ehrlich (Case Western Reserve University). Post-screening discussion. Reservations required: Make your reservation here
Film Notes by series curator, Dr. Linda Ehrlich