Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

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  •  February 1, 2022
     8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Presented by the Chicago Film Society

Four years after he twisted the Western inside out with Dead Man, Jarmusch directed Ghost Dog, a mournful take on the crime film with a specific nod to the films of Seijun Suzuki and Jean-Pierre Melville. Ghost Dog is an unknowable mafia contract killer who finds himself the target of his own employers after a hit gone wrong. Played with fierce elegance by Forest Whitaker, he spends his days tending to his carrier pigeons (his only mode of communication with the mob), hanging out with his best friend (a French-speaking ice-cream vendor he can’t understand), and reading the 18th-century warrior philosophical text, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, to which he fiercely adheres. Featuring a stuttering, hypnotic score by a 28-year-old Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA (his short cameo likely prompted ’90s teens everywhere to lean over to their neighbor in the darkened theater and whisper… “that’s RZA!”), cinematography by master Robby Müller, and a supporting cast that includes Isaach de Bankolé, Henry Silva, and Cliff Gorman as a Flavor Flav-loving mafioso. Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote upon the film’s release, “It’s such an exciting, prescient, moving, and noble failure that I wouldn’t care to swap it for even three or four modest successes.” After over 20 years the film feels weightier and yes, eerily prescient. “Ancient Japan was a pretty strange place” is a sentiment echoed twice in the film; 2021 is a pretty strange place too. (RL)

35mm from Lionsgate, permission Janus Films

The show starts at 7 PM

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3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, Illinois, 60657