Calendar Search
Event Calendar

Visit Home Event Calendar Event Information

Tales of Genji: Japanese Films

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 4:00 p.m.: Princess Yang Kwei Fei (1955)
7:00 p.m.: The Tale of Genji (1951)
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; a separate reservation is required for each film.

Tales of Genji enters the courts of Japan and China via two classic Japanese films of the 1950s.

The exhibition Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors showcases the newly restored Mazarin Chest, one side of which depicts a scene from the classic Japanese novel The Tale of Genji. Just as restoration work on the Mazarin Chest combined Japanese and Western restoration methods to make its layered lacquer shine, these two mid-century films illuminate layers of storytelling—of the original tales of court politics and romance, and their interpretation in postwar Japan.

Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

Princess Yang Kwei-Fei

The Tales of Genji

Still from Princess Yang Kwei-Fei

Princess Yang Kwei-Fei

(Yokihi, 1955, Kenji Mizoguchi, 98 min., color, Japanese with English subtitles)

Saturday, April 18, 4:00 p.m.

Set in the 8th century, Princess Yang Kwei-Fei tells the tale of a young woman who is pulled from a life of poverty to become wife of the emperor, only to have to make a tragic choice. The film stars award-winning actress Michiko Kyô (Rashomon) and was shot in lush color with gorgeous (if not period-perfect) set decoration. Extremely popular during the Heian age, the story of Princess Yang Kwei-Fei is considered a precursor to The Tale of Genji.

Back to Top

The Tale of Genji

(Genji Monogatari, Japan, 1951, Kozaburo Yoshimura, 121 min., b&w, Japanese with English subtitles)

Saturday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.

The 11th-century masterpiece The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, is known as the world's first novel; the story has resonated through generations. Around 1640, the creators of the Mazarin Chest depicted Genji, walking beneath an umbrella held by his servant Koremitsu, on his way to visit Suetsumuhana, a long-neglected love. Yoshimura's beautiful jidai-geki (period film) brings the loves and political fortunes of Prince Genji to life. The charming, handsome son of the emperor seems to have it all, but he cannot control his desire for the taboo—in this case, his father's beautiful bride. The film was nominated for the Grand Prize at Cannes in 1952.

Back to Top

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

Event Information by E-Mail
Be the first to know about upcoming family events, lectures, concerts, and exhibitions by signing up for our free e-newsletters. Learn more and sign up now.