The Beauty of Sadness: Kawabata Yasunari’s Masterworks Return to the Silver Screen

Why We Recommend it

Enduring Japanese films adapted from 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature Winner Yasunari Kawabata‘s works are screened at the Hong Kong Arts Centre and Tai Kwun.


Yasunari Kawabata (1899 – 1972) was a novelist and short story writer known for his melancholic and lyrical language that echoes ancient Japanese literary tradition infused with European literary aesthetics.  His subtle works are permeated with a sense of loneliness, and a preoccupation with death, and intertwined with a sense of beauty, sincerity and sadness. His 1964 novel Utsukushisa To Kanashimi To (Beauty and Sadness) won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kawabata was the the first Japanese author to receive this prize.

Organised by HK Cine Fan, this programme screens ten films, produced between 1933 and 1969, that were adapted from Kawabata’s works. A free seminar on these film adaptations will be held on 6 April 2019, Saturday. Please note that the seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.

Highlights include screenings of Mr Thank You (1936), a poignant film on a chivalrous bus driver, (‘arigato-san’), his passengers and their diverse reasons for travel; Thousand Cranes (1953), which tells the story of a young man who stumbles into a passionate and destructive relationship with his late father’s mistress and her daughter; and With Beauty and Sorrow (1965). An adaptation of Kawabata’s Nobel Prize-winning novel, the film unfolds how a young beautiful student and lesbian lover of a famous painter seek revenge against her mentor’s ex-lover – a married novelist who impregnated and abandoned her two decades ago.


When: 6 Apr 2019 - 26 Apr 2019 Where: Various