Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
Richie will participate in a variety of events on campus prior to the degree ceremony ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College will celebrate the work of internationally renowned scholar and writer Donald Richie with a variety of events—including film screenings and lectures—leading up to the awarding of an honorary degree of doctor of fine arts to Richie on Saturday, October 30. All events will take place in the Film Center of the Avery Center for the Arts (unless otherwise noted) and are free and open to the public. “We are pleased that we can honor Richie in this way, because of his major contribution to the West’s understanding of Japanese films,” says John Pruitt, associate professor of film at Bard. “Richie is considered one of the leading film scholars in the world. His talks at Bard should prove appealing to the wide audience for classic Japanese film.” Pruitt continues, “Asian cinema has been popular among young people in this country for the past 30 years; this trend shows no sign of abating. One could arguably say that this appreciation of Eastern film began with Donald Richie’s postwar introduction of Japanese film to American audiences; in fact, rereleases of classic Japanese film on DVD inevitably carry introductions and commentary by Richie.” In recent years, Bard has begun to give occasional honorary degrees, at a time other than commencement, at an event designed to celebrate the honoree’s work. Donald Richie’s two-week residency at Bard, culminating in the presentation of the honorary degree, is an example of this new tradition, which provides the opportunity for Bard students and the broader community to gain more knowledge of the individual’s life and work. Named by Time magazine “the dean of Japan’s art critics,” and acknowledged as the foremost authority on Japanese cinema, Donald Richie was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1924 and has lived in Japan since 1947 (except for time at Columbia University in the early 1950s and as curator of film at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, 1968–73). Richie is the author of some 30 books, including The Films of Akira Kurasawa; Ozu; Public People, Private People; One Hundred Years of Japanese Film; Tokyo Story: The Ozu/Noda Screenplay; and The Image Factory, as well as dozens of essays. His most recent book, The Japan Journals—comprising his private journals from 1947–2004—will be published this month by Stone Bridge Press. Richie is especially noted for his instrumental role in introducing Japanese film to the West and for his travel memoir The Inland Sea, which has been adapted into a popular PBS documentary. Ian Buruma, Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard, writes of The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan: “This wonderful book can be read as a work in progress of almost fifty years. No writer about Japan matches Richie’s breadth of knowledge, depth and variety of experience, and his love of the people he writes about. The book of a lifetime, which will last.” On Wednesday, October 20, at 6:00 p.m., there will be a screening of selected short films by Richie. John Pruitt notes that “Richie, famous for his association with Japanese film, was also associated with the Japanese and American avant-garde and made a handful of short films that we will present this evening, including Dead Youth.” Donald Richie will introduce a film by Yasujiro Ozu to be screened on Friday, October 22, at 7:00 p.m. On Monday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m., Richie will give lecture about Yasujiro Ozu and Zen Buddhism during a Bard religion colloquium. A rare archival 35mm print of Teinosuke Kinugasa’s A Page of Madness will be screened on Tuesday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m. This film will be presented and discussed by Richie. During the New York Conference on Asian Studies: Asian Border Crossings 2004, Richie will give the keynote address on the topic “Crossing the Border—The Japanese Example,” on Saturday, October 30, at 12:30 p.m. in Olin Hall. The events at Bard in celebration of Richie will conclude on Saturday, October 30, at 7:00 p.m. in the Film Center, with the presentation of the honorary degree of doctor of fine arts to Donald Richie. Sneaking In: Donald Richie’s Life in Film (2002), a documentary film directed by Brigitte Prinzgau-Podgorschek, will be screened following the presentation. Made for European television and shown at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the documentary examines Richie’s life in a personal way, and includes interviews with Richie and his colleagues and friends, including, Sato Tadao, Hani Susumu, Matsumoto Toshio, and Ian Buruma. For further information, call 845-758-7425. # # # (10/6/04)

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This event was last updated on 11-01-2004