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April 24: San Diego Asian Film Festival’s Spring Showcase to Host Special Presentation: Kinuyo Tanaka

April 18, 2022
Photo of Kinuyo Tanaka behind the camera

April 24: San Diego Asian Film Festival’s Spring Showcase to Host Special Presentation: Kinuyo Tanaka
-Pacific Arts Movement to celebrate Director Kinuyo Tanaka’s historical victories for women in film production for SDAFF’s Spring Showcase Sunday Spotlight
-Four of Tanaka’s full-length feature films will be screened during the spotlight, all of which present authentic and pioneering depictions of Japanese women

Pacific Arts Movement (presenters of the San Diego Asian Film Festival) is presenting four 4K restorations of Director Kinuyo Tanaka’s feature films: Love Letter, Forever a Woman, Girls of the Night, and Love Under the Crucifix. The retrospective takes place at the 11th SDAFF Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 24 starting at 1PM at the Ultrastar Cinemas in Mission Valley, San Diego. As one of the pioneers of women taking leadership roles in film production behind the camera, Tanaka has fought many uphill battles to successfully transition from an internationally renowned actress to director of a total of six feature films. Within the context of post-war Japanese society, these films explore societal issues that range from breast cancer to rehabilitation for sex workers from an authentic female perspective.

This festival, historically the largest platform of Asian cinema on the west coast, strives to represent the stories told by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community—women included. As one of the few female directors in the international film industry at the time, Tanaka’s work became a symbol of empowerment and breakthrough for women in film. Although the representation of female directors in mainstream media is still nowhere near where it should be, SDAFF hopes to continue the narrative towards increasing diversity among storytellers by remembering and celebrating Kinuyo Tanaka.

LOVE LETTER*| 1:35 PM, Japan, 98 min, 1953
Tanaka’s debut film as a director follows a veteran who works as writer of heart-stirring love letters from female Japanese clients to their soldier lovers in America.

FOREVER A WOMAN*| 3:10 PM, Japan, 110 min, 1955
Tanka poet Fumiko struggles with battling breast cancer to have her life end prematurely as a young woman.

GIRLS OF THE NIGHT*|5:35 PM, Japan, 93 min, 1961
Girls of the Night, featuring a young woman staying at a rehabilitation center for sex workers.

UNDER THE CRUCIFIX*| 7:40 PM, Japan, 102 min, 1962
Tanaka’s final film features the forbidden love between the daughter of a tea master and a married Christian samurai.

*Screener links available upon request for press coverage.

Interviews available: For interviews with filmmakers, actors, or festival staff and list of available screeners, please fill out a media accreditation form and contact

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