Mizoguchi Fest and the Trapeze Lady

 FilmMizoguchi FestSince he was never quite so strongly identified with a specific Japanese genre as Kurosawa (samurai) or Ozu (domestic melodrama), Kenji Mizoguchi (1898–1956) hasn't been treated to as many retrospectives or DVD box sets. Western notice came late in his long career—the Venice Film Festival awarded its top prize to his 1953 Ugetsu, which begins this Northwest Film Forum showcase of seven classic titles (through Feb. 27). Set in the 16th century, it's a ghost story with a moral, a parable relating how two peasants attempt to rise above their station during a time of feudal warfare and social upheaval. One, a potter, falls for a mysterious aristocrat in town while forgetting about his wife and son back in the village. The other, a farmer, abandons his wife for dreams of being a samurai. (Finding a severed head in a bag is his ticket to glory—or so he thinks.) The eerie, enchanted interlude between Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyo takes place at the threshold between the real and the ethereal. Kyo, the ghost, wants to experience carnal love, while Mori wants to trade the hardships of peasant life for a fantastic idyll. It's a deluded, poignant affair between two realms—one that has its tragic parallel when the potter finally returns to his home village. Only there, Mizoguchi suggests, can the living and the dead coexist in harmony. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $35–$50 (series), $5–$8 (individual). 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERNightlife Columbia City Cabaret Every Friday night, Tamara the Trapeze Lady (pictured) keeps South Seattle spark-ling with a two-hour extravaganza of glitz, glitter, comedy, and (of course) striptease. As host of the variety night, which rotates performers from Seattle's vast and talented burlesque pool, Tamara also displays her silk skills—aerialists perform gravity-defying acrobatic feats in midair with a rope or trapeze for support—during each show. The fluid rhythms of an aerialist's routine can be stunning to watch, and tonight there'll be two of them, with guest aerialist Quyn Horton. In between leaps and twirls, gypsy violinist Chris Fairbanks and performers Miss Indigo Blue, the Fuchsia Fox, and Maque Davis (of Fremont Players and the Moisture Festival) will no doubt keep the audience in laughs and gasps. Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 605-9920, www. $20. 21 and over. 7 p.m. RACHEL SHIMP

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