• Original poster for Mikio Naruse’s Lightning (1952)

This is an exceptional week for Japanese cinema in Chicago. Starting on Monday, the 1952 drama Lightning begins Doc Films’ nine-film series devoted to the collaborations between the great director Mikio Naruse and the actress Hideko Takamine. Only one of the titles in the series is available on DVD in the United States, so this is a very special event indeed (later today, I’ll post an interview with Doc Films programmer Edo Choi about how it came together). Also this week, Doc will screen Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins (2010) and Sergio Leone’s beloved Akira Kurosawa remake, A Fistful of Dollars (1964). And last but not least, the Music Box Theatre will run the latest from Japanese writer-director-editor-star Takeshi Kitano, Outrage (2010), which is also the subject of this week’s long review.