Screening of historical films at the Village Theater on April 13

Dragon Painter film still of Sessue Hayakawa and Aoki in Coronado Tea Garden Courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.

The Coronado Historical Association (CHA) in partnership with the Coronado Island Film Festival will host a special screening on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 5 p.m. of the silent film, The Painter Dragon (Haworth Pictures Corporation, 1919) at the historic Village Theatre. This event is a companion to CHA exposure Uprooted: The Story of Japanese Americans in Coronado, which explores the influence of Japanese-style landscape arts in American society through gardens such as Coronado’s Japanese Tea Garden. The Japanese and Japanese American community in Coronado has a deep history ranging from immigration in the early 20th century to internment during World War II and post-war resettlement traced in the Uprooted exposure.

Dragon Painter Movie Poster of a Dragon
Dragon Painter poster courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.

Coronado also has a rich film history, and Coronado’s second Japanese Tea Garden has hosted many films, including two featuring the remarkable Sessue Hayakawa: The Temple of Twilight [1918] (lost in time) and The Painter Dragon [1919]. The garden, built in 1906 and dismantled in 1936, was bounded by Glorietta, Adella and Ynez. The Painter Dragonalthough it was filmed here in Coronado’s Japanese Tea Garden over 103 years ago and inducted into the prestigious National Film Registry in 2014, will be screened for the very first time in Coronado at the historic village theater on the 13 april.

Image of Coronado Tea Garden
Hotel del Coronado can be seen in the background of this image of Coronado’s second Japanese tea garden.

The Painter Dragon Silent era idol star Sessue Hayakawa. In this romantic drama, Hayakawa plays an artist desperate to find a wanted princess muse, played by Hayakawa’s wife, Tsuru Aoki. The black-and-white film features Coronado Japanese Tea Garden as the backdrop for the couple’s happy times with many scenes also shot in Yosemite National Park and Hayakawa studio in Los Angeles. The film is accompanied by a full score by contemporary Japanese-American composer Mark Izu. The execution time is 53 minutes.

Sessue Hayakawa in Coronado Tea Garden
Sessue Hayakawa’s Dragon Painter film still in Coronado Tea Garden courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.

This very famous film was inducted into the prestigious National Film Registry in 2014, nominated by Daisuke Miyao. Daisuke Miyao, who will be the Q&A speaker at the VIP reception, is Professor and Hajime Mori Professor of Japanese Language and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Miyao is the author of Japonism and the birth of cinema (Duke University Press, 2020) and Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Film and Transnational Stardom (Duke University Press, 2007). He is also editor-in-chief of Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema (2014).

Still from the film Dragon Painter by Tsuru Aoki.
Dragon Painter film still by Tsuru Aoki in Coronado Tea Garden courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.

The screening of this film is in collaboration with the exhibition of the Coronado Historical Association Uprooted: The Story of Japanese Americans in Coronado. From immigration in the early 20th century to internment during World War II and post-war resettlement, Uprooted traces the stories of Japanese-American families in Coronado. Visit the exhibit to explore the influence of Japanese-style landscape arts in American society through gardens such as the Coronado Japanese Tea Garden and learn about the Japanese-American community in Coronado. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego and the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

Historic photo of a peacock in front of a building in the Coronado Tea Garden.
Dragon Painter film still from Peacock in Coronado’s Tea Garden courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.

The event will also feature Kyoko Takeda who will perform the traditional Koto. San Diego County commemorates this historic projection by declaring April 13 as JAPANESE HERITAGE DAY. This statement celebrates the Japanese American community in Coronado, including their cultural and artistic contributions such as the Japanese Tea Garden in Coronado and in film, and honors those forcibly evacuated and incarcerated because of their Japanese ancestry, reminding us that the xenophobia that caused the internment must never be repeated.

A limited number of The Painter Dragon VIP screening tickets will include a post-screening Q&A reception with Daisuke Miyao, Professor and Hajime Mori Chair in Japanese Language and Literature at UCSD from the Coronado Historical Association (1100 Orange Avenue). Professor Miyao successfully nominated The Painter Dragon in the prestigious National Film Registry. VIP tickets are $35 for Coronado Island Film Festival and Coronado Historical Association members and $40 for non-members. General admission tickets are $15. Tickets can be purchased on the Coronado Film Festival website.

Press kit and screening rights courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber. Screening rights are generously secured by Kimball Worcester and Margarita Rhodes. All proceeds from the event benefit the Coronado Island Film Festival and the Coronado Historical Association. the Uprooted The exhibit is presented with free admission by CHA in partnership with the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego and the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego at Balboa Park at the Historical Association’s Museum located at 1100 Orange Avenue.

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