Members’ Calendar of Events
April to August 2017
In 2017 Ireland and Japan will celebrate 60 years since the establishment of formal Diplomatic relations. A number of events will take place during the year to celebrate this occasion and the Chester Beatty Library Members' Film Club will feature screenings of some interesting Irish and Japanese films.
Talk with Akira Yamaguchi – The World of Noh Costume
Noh theatre is a classical stage art of Japan which combines elements of dance, music and poetry. It developed in the 14th century under the patronage of the aristocracy and has been regarded as the highest traditional form of theatre in Japan ever since. Noh features the dramatic portrayal of complex psychological relationships, and one of its most impressive aspects is seen in the magnificent costumes involved.
The clothes of Noh Theatre, called Noh-Shozoku, have a critical function to express in a visual manner the spirit and essence of the world of Noh. The lively designs of the fabrics are created with a technique that combines silk with Japanese washi paper covered with gold, silver or lacquer.
We are delighted to welcome Akira Yamaguchi, Director of the Yamaguchi Noh Costume Research Center, who will outline the evolution of the clothes of Noh Theatre.
Film Club screening – Ikiru
"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates
An old man has drifted through his life and he knows that he is dying of cancer. In a bar, he tells a stranger that he has money to spend on a “really good time,” but doesn't know how to spend it.
Ikiru (meaning ‘to live’) is director Akira Kurosawa's 1952 film about a bureaucrat who works at Tokyo City Hall for 30 years and never accomplishes anything. This heart-warming film, featuring acclaimed actor Takashi Shimura, examines a man’s struggle to find meaning, and his determination to accomplish at least one worthwhile thing before he dies.
Running time – 141 minutes
Language – Japanese with English subtitles
Cert – PG
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is regarded as the most important Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Over the course of his long career Goya moved from lighthearted to deeply pessimistic in his paintings, drawings, etchings, and frescoes. In 1808 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain and Goya’s Disasters of War series, made during 1810-20, record the scenes of violence, famine and death which resulted from the Spanish struggle against the French. Goya’s prints explore the horrifying consequences of guerrilla warfare and the ability of war to dehumanize society.
The Francisco Goya ‘Disasters of War’ exhibition is on loan from the Chester Beatty Library and we will enjoy a guided tour with a curator from the Ulster Museum. We will also have an opportunity to see the two paintings by Flemish Old Master artist Pieter Breughel the Younger which were featured in the BBC Four TV series Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. After lunch we will have a guided tour of Queen’s University, and there will be free time for a stroll in the Botanic Gardens and a visit to the Naughton Gallery. During our day trip we will also stop off at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge.
Film Club screening – Pilgrim Hill
Jimmy is a middle-aged farmer living in rural Ireland with his critically ill father. Regarded by his neighbours as a harmless misfit, he has spent all his adult life as the caretaker of the crumbling family farm on the outskirts of a small town. An extraordinary debut feature from a young Kerryman, Gerard Barrett, Pilgrim Hill aims to shed light on the dark side of rural Ireland, where middle-aged men and women are living out their lives in isolation and loneliness. The film is a quietly devastating portrait of a bachelor farmer stranded with the previous generation while his contemporaries surge into the modern world.
Running time – 78 minutes
Film Club screening – Oíche Nollaig na mBan
Oíche Nollaig na mBan / Women’s Christmas Night is a visual response to the famous poem by Irish language poet Seán Ó’Ríordáin. Working with a schoolgirl choir and intergenerational cast of women based in Cork, award-winning film writer and director Oonagh Kearney has created a radical re-imagining of the poem. This short film was commissioned to celebrate a centenary of art since 1916, and was winner of Best Irish Short at 2016 OFFline Film Festival.
Talk with Dr Jonathan Kearney – Adopt, Adapt, Adept: How Arabic became a Jewish and Christian Language
Jonathan Kearney is a graduate of University College Dublin where his undergraduate and postgraduate studies were in Near Eastern Languages, Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies. He has lectured in UCD, St Patrick’s College Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin and St Patrick's College Drumcondra. Jonathan now lectures in Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies in the School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music, Dublin City University. His research lies mainly in the textual and linguistic foundations of Judaism and Islam; religion and identity formation; and authority and boundaries in religions.
The World of Sake
Sake is a delicious rice wine of Japan. It comes in several different varieties and plays an important role in Japanese culture and history. From its origins over 2,000 years ago, to its current status as one of the most popular drinks in the country, the history of sake is steeped in tradition, innovation, and custom. During the Heian period (794-1185) sake was made in temples and shrines, and it is still used in the Shinto religion. In the Muromachi period (1338-1573) sake breweries were set up, and the sake manufacturing industry thrived during the Edo period (1603-1868).
From its earliest beginnings sake has been a drink of reverence and friendship, consumed to mark important occasions. We look forward to welcoming you to our special event which will feature a short film screening (in Japanese with English subtitles), a sake tasting with Japanese snacks, and a talk by award winning cook and author Fiona Uyema. During her three years living in rural Japan Fiona was completely immersed into the Japanese diet and way of cooking. Since returning to Ireland Fiona’s recipes are regularly featured in newspapers and magazines, and her food story has been broadcast on TV screens in Ireland and across the world.
Film Club screening – An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
This is the final film by the great Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu. Perhaps the most personal of Ozu’s treatments of a theme evidently close to his heart, it finds both elderly widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu regular Chishū Ryū) and his daughter Michiko entertaining decidedly mixed emotions about the prospect of her getting married and leaving her father to fend for himself. Deploying deliciously sly comedy, and a simultaneously playful and poignant tone, Ozu shows himself to be a man with a profound understanding of human nature. He himself never married, living for 60 years with his mother, and when she died he was dead a few months later. Over and over again, in almost all of his films, he turned to the same central themes of loneliness, of family, of dependence, of marriage, of parents and children.
Running time – 112 minutes
Language – Japanese with English subtitles
Conservation talk with Julia Poirier - ‘Seductive Marvels of Japanese Art’ – Materials and Techniques of Surimono Prints
Julia Poirier joined the Chester Beatty Conservation team for a one-year Heritage Council Internship in 2012, and since then she has been a contract book and paper conservator at the Library. Julia trained as a bookbinder in France before obtaining an MA in conservation of fine art, with a specialty on works of art on paper, from Northumbria University in Newcastle. After graduating, Julia worked as a paper conservator in private practices in Edinburgh as well as the special collection division of the University of Edinburgh, before joining the Derry and Raphoe Project conservation team in 2011.
Book Club meeting – An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
An Artist of the Floating World is a sensitive examination of the turmoil in post-World War II Japan, a time when certainties were overturned, gender politics shifted and the hierarchy of the generations seemed to topple. In the build up to the war Masuji Ono, a promising and devoted artist, had broken away from the teaching of his master to get involved in far-right politics. Now an ageing father, grandfather and widower, Ono notices how his once great reputation has faltered, and how attitudes towards him and his paintings have changed. This is a poignant story of a man who lived through the extravagance of the “pleasure era” and who must now choose to reject his past.
The novel was shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award the same year.
We will enjoy tea & coffee during the meeting and the book is for sale in the Chester Beatty Library gift shop. Members will receive a 10% discount.