House of Bamboo

(USA, 1955, 102 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Shirley Yamaguchi, Cameron Mitchell, Brad Dexter, Sessue Hayakawa
Screening in tandem with LONG ARM OF THE LAW in the program "Foreign Spoils / Gangsters Abroad

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Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.

HOUSE OF BAMBOO The first Hollywood movie to be shot in Japan after WWII, and also the first film to be shot in CinemaScope in that country, House of Bamboo is vividly alert to places and spaces. One of the iconic film noir hard men, Robert Ryan is an ex GI operating an American crime gang on strict military lines. Robert Stack infiltrates the group, but getting in is easier than getting out in one piece.

Sam Fuller: "I called it House of Bamboo, incorporating into the yarn some features from my story about ex-GIs planning crimes like military operations. I moved the entire shebang to Tokyo, added stuff about Japanese contemporary life, threw in some sexual exploitation and interracial romance, and then, for some unexpected pizzazz, wrote a violent love scene between two hardened criminals. The core of the movie was about betrayal." (A Third Face)

Presenter Greg Girard

Greg Girard is one of the most accomplished photographers working anywhere today. Greg left Vancouver to explore Asia as a young man in the early 70’s, spending much of his career living in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and travelling very extensively throughout the region from Afghanistan during the Soviet war to present day Bhutan. His work examines the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region, often on the front lines of conflict and economic and social upheaval.

He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver/Toronto) and also works on assignment for publications such as National Geographic Magazine.

"A masterpiece that pinpoints the sublime in Fuller’s sensationalism and earns every inch of its widescreen real estate! Turning the on-location Tokyo streets into the perfect backdrop for a cartoonishly colorful version of hardboiled drama—call it Pulp Art— House of Bamboo keeps its story line about an undercover Army cop (Stack) battling a gangster (Ryan) on the lean and mean side. But the impeccable compositions Fuller uses to detail the lyrical and the lurid give even the most lowbrow elements a high-art feel; it’s like a bridge from the gutter to the museum." - David Fear, Time Out New York

"Some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema. Travelling to Japan on 20th Century Fox’s dime, Fuller captured a country divided, trapped between past traditions and progressive attitudes while lingering in the devastating aftereffects of an all-too-recent World War. His visual schema represents the societal fractures through a series of deep-focus, Noh-theatrical tableaus, a succession of silhouettes, screens, and stylized color photography that melds the heady insanity of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with the philosophical inquiry of the best noirs." Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine