• Sisters of Gion

In the Film section of this week’s Reader, we spotlight the 19th annual Black Harvest Film Festival and Bruno Dumont’s Outside Satan, both of which screen at the Gene Siskel Film Center; we also have a medium-length review of Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine, which opens today at River East 21 and the Landmark Century. All three are worth checking out, but if you have time for only one screening this week, make it Sisters of Gion (1936), which screens at Doc Films tomorrow at 7 and 9 PM. As Andrea Gronvall notes in her capsule review, Gion represents a watershed in the career of Kenji Mizoguchi, one of the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers. The movie is effective as both a melodrama and a social portrait, dramatizing the clash between Japanese tradition and the then-burgeoning influence of western culture—like many of Mizoguchi’s subsequent films, it’s also devastating in its depiction of Japanese chauvinism. Students of film history will note that Mizoguchi’s experiments with tracking shots and deep focus have much in common with what Jean Renoir was doing around the same time.