The retrospective will show the most striking Japanese films of recent years – shining examples of auteur and genre cinema, films in which innovation and tradition find the most unexpected and original points of contact.
Program of the Week of Japanese contemporary cinema
24 April (Wednesday) 18:30
JAPAN IN A DAY (2012)
A participant of international festivals in Tokyo (Japan), Melbourne (Australia), Zurich (Switzerland)
Produced by Takayuki Hayakawa, Ridley Scott
Running time 92 min (1 hour and 32 minutes)
March 11, 2012 marked one year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a terrible disaster that claimed the lives of over 16,000 people and caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. To commemorate this event, Fuji TV and the Scott Free company of brothers Ridley and Tony Scott have joined forces and implemented the project «Japan in One Day». – A documentary self-portrait of an entire country filmed by ordinary people in the space of 24 hours.
April 25 (Thursday) 6:30 p.m.
Hanezu no tsuki (2011)
In the main competition of the 64th Cannes Film Festival; participant at international festivals in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), Pusan (South Korea)
Director Naomi Kawase
Starring Tota Komizu, Hako Oshima, Tetsuya Akikawa
Running time 91 minutes (1 hour and 31 minutes)
The movie is set in the town of Asuka, the cradle of Japanese civilization. In ancient times, the people who lived there believed that the three mountains in Asuka, Unebi, Miminashi and Kaguyama, were inhabited by gods.
Times change and people’s beliefs change, but these mountains still stand in their place: in the old days, Emperor Tenji compared their rivalry in love with the struggle in his soul, with human karma. The film’s characters, Takumi and Kayoko, have inherited the unfulfilled hopes of their ancestors. The story of their lives is simple and timeless, like the story of the countless souls that have passed through this land…
*Hanezu is a garden plum or garden cherry; blooms in early spring, leaves similar to willow leaves, flowers scarlet in color. This ancient word appeared in the 8th-century poetry collection «Manyoshu».
April 26 (Friday) 6:30 p.m.
Prize for the best film in the Japanese Eyes section of the Tokyo International Film Festival;
Association for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award at the Pucheon Film Festival (South Korea);
Participant of Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands).
*The film is presented by director Koji Fukada
Directed by Koji Fukada
Starring Kenji Yamauchi, Kiki Sugino, Kanji Furutachi
Running time 96 minutes (1 hour and 36 minutes)
Kobayashi leads a measured life in an industrial suburb of Tokyo with his wife, sister, and daughter from a previous marriage. He owns a small printing press, the income from which allows him to support his family. Nothing seems to be able to interrupt the peaceful flow of daily life until a strange troublemaker, the mysterious Kagawa, shows up at the Kobayashi house…
April 27 (Saturday) 6:30 p.m.
Miracle / Kiseki (2011)
Best Screenplay at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Spain);
Invited to Toronto (Canada) and Busan (South Korea) international festivals.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Koki Maeda, Oshiro Maeda
Running time 128 minutes (2 hours 08 minutes)
Two brothers live apart because of their parents’ divorce. The eldest, Koichi, lives with his mother and grandparents in Kagoshima. The younger one, Ryunosuke, lives with his father in Fukuoka. An express train is about to run between these cities. Rumor has it that when the first trains on the line meet, energy will be released that can grant any wish. Koichi and Ryunosuke devise a plan by which they wish to reunite their family.
April 28 (Sunday) 5 p.m.
Knives of Samurai / Saya Zamurai (2011)
Locarno (Switzerland) and Busan (South Korea) International Films Festival Winner
Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Starring Jun Kunimura, Masato Ibu, Rio
Running time 103 minutes (1 hour and 43 minutes)
The swordless samurai Nomi Kanjuro, who abandoned his post after his wife’s death and is wanted for desertion, is captured by the lord of a neighboring prefecture. Now he must either make the local lord’s unsmiling son laugh or commit hara-kiri within thirty days. Together with his daughter Tae and two guards, he day after day devises more and more eccentric ways to amuse the young lord. A dramatic farce from comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto, author of the exemplarily absurd «The Symbol» and the ribald «The Japanese Giant».
April 28 (Sunday) 7 p.m.
HARAKIRI / Hara-kiri (2011)
The film is part of the official competition program of the 64th Cannes Film Festival;
Participant of International festivals in Sitges (Spain) and Busan (South Korea).
Director: Takashi Miike
Composer: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Starring Koji Yakuso, Ebizo Ichikawa, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima.
Running time 126 minutes (2 hours 06 minutes)
The film is shown in 3D
Wishing to die with dignity, the impoverished samurai Hashiro requests permission to commit ritual suicide at the Lee clan’s ancestral residence. The old warrior Kageyu, the intendant of the estate, tries to dissuade him and tells the tragic story of the young ronin Motoma, who recently made the same request to the residence. The gruesome details of Motome’s death shock Hashiro, but he remains steadfast in his decision and asks for only one thing: that the three samurai Kageyu be with him when he commits harakiri. By a strange coincidence, however, all three samurai disappear. Seized by suspicion, Kageyu demands an explanation from Hashiro and learns of Hashiro’s connection to Motome, the touching and sad story of their lives. Kageyu soon realizes that Hashiro has shown up at his house to exact revenge…