Godzilla: King of Kaiju
Screening Dates
  • October 26, 2023 6:30
  • October 31, 2023 6:30
New Restoration

Rarely has the open wound of widespread devastation been transposed to celluloid with greater visceral impact. Put another way, Godzilla is the Germany Year Zero of monster movies.”

Budd Wilkins, Slant Magazine

Ground zero for the franchise and the wave of kaiju mania to come, Toho’s landmark original remains the unequivocal ichiban of the series. Made less than a decade after the war-ending destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Godzilla (or Gojira in the direct romaji) is the ultimate monster-as-metaphor movie, whose DNA is soaked with fear and reflection on how the nuclear age had devastated Japan” (Graham Skipper, Godzilla: The Official Guide). Honda Ishiro, a Kurosawa Akira collaborator and director of several more Godzilla installments, renders the allegory as an earnest what-if disaster drama, in which Japan must contend with a prehistoric sea monster awakened and mutated by H‑bomb testing in the Pacific. (Anxieties around nuclear fallout reached a fever pitch in 1954 after a Japanese fishing crew suffered radiation poisoning, an incident adapted into the film.) The practical-effects wizardry is by Tsuburaya Eiji, while the iconic score, and Godzilla’s signature roar, is by Ifukube Akira.

In Japanese with English subtitles

The roaring granddaddy of all monster movies.” Janus Films

Honda’s Godzilla has lost little of its power—it remains a thrillingly stark intimation of nature’s ability to rise up against our careless and relentless pursuit of modernization. It’s a reminder, and a warning, with teeth.” Matthew Thrift, BFI

Groundbreaking … One of cinema’s most lasting allegories on nuclear war and science gone wrong.” Chris Shields, Film Comment

preceded by (October 31 only)

Bambi Meets Godzilla
USA/​Canada 1969
Marv Newland
2 min. DCP

A 90-second cult classic by Vancouver animator Marv Newland, founder of International Rocketship Limited. The title says it all.

The October 26 screening of Godzilla will be introduced by Janice Matsumura


Janice Matsumura is an associate professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. She is a specialist in 20th-century Japanese history and the author of More Than a Momentary Nightmare: The Yokohama Incident and Wartime Japan.