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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme UK 2015

Date: 2015 January 29 16:20

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UK based fans of Japanese cinema are in for treat for the next couple of months when The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015 hits the UK. Scheduled to run at the ICA in London from 30th January to 5th February 2015 then 5th February - 26th March 2015 nationwide.

Anime fans can enjoy a screening of A Letter to Momo.

Plus the ICA Screening of Short Peace, will be accompanied with an intro and post-show Q&A with Japanese anime expert Helen McCarthy (she's written lots of books on anime, and given lots of talks on the subject too to say the least).

Live action film Wood Job also features a Q&A with the director Shinobu Yaguchi in London at 6:30pm on January 2015 and 6:15pm 3rd February 2015. The director will also be appearing at the Bristol, Derby and Sheffield.

If you're in the UK, hopefully you can get to one the following locations -

Newcastle upon Tyne

As always with cinema screenings like this we advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Press release as follows:

Press release: 6 January 2015

It only happens in the movies?
Japanese Cinema and Encounters
The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015
Experience Japan through Cinema

30 January - 5 February 2015 at ICA 5 February - 26 March 2015 nationwide

The Japan Foundation UK’s annual Touring Film Programme runs 30 January – 5 February 2015 at the ICA, this time under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’, and promises to offer, once again, an enlightening and expansive introduction to Japanese cinema.

Showcasing a vast variety of styles and tones, from popular contemporary films, classics through to animation, the programme will include titles in which characters experience seemingly unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas – asking if it does really only happen in the movies. Since the inception of cinema, audiences have always sought escapism through films; a suspension of real life, a glimpse into experiences and ideas beyond their imagination, an aspiration towards something that they might never come across in their own lives.

Early Japanese cinema recognised this and expanded its viewer’s horizons by absorbing ideas from a vast range of influences, including new cultures and foreign lifestyles. Responding to the demand for overseas films and their charm of the unfamiliar, Hollywood releases dominated the domestic market of 1950s’ Japan, and Western cultural themes, images and narratives began appearing in home-grown films. A notable example of how Japanese cinema began to offer a window into another world yet still reflect local culture is Akira Kurosawa’s adaption of George Stevens’ Shane (1953) into Yojimbo (1961).

As Japan has opened up and people are able to travel further afar, the society engages with the wider world and life has become more complex. In the fast changing social climate where the public have greater access to information, simple foreign influences and conventional story lines alone may not be enough to satisfy ever more street-wise viewers. When it comes to the Japanese cinema industry itself, filming locations seem to be limitless and the number of international co-productions is increasing. What does cinema provide audiences in a complicated, virtual world? When the world becomes bigger, do the experiences and encounters on screen also change? Films such as Naoto Kumazawa’s vivacious comedy romance Jinx!!!

(2013) involving an encounter with a Korean overseas student, might be a good example of how film makers’ viewpoints have shifted reflecting a more global society. This season also features films that take a more metaphorical look at the idea of encounters with the unusual, alien or uncanny, and examines how life has changed in Japan over the years. There are many examples of such stories, from Mikio Naruse’s tale of a woman who falls in love with her husband’s murderer in Scattered Clouds (1967) to the recent hit A Bolt from the Blue (2014), in which the main character is pitched back to 1973 where he learns the circumstances behind his own birth from his parents. Reflecting on Japan’s social, historical and cultural changes over the past decades, this programme will offer a broad picture of the daily reality and experiences of a country, and will ask how its filmmakers have adapted their stories to the increasingly borderless environment that we live in today, where anyone can virtually experience the world without even leaving their house.

Wood Job + Q&A
(Ujjobu! Kamusari Naanaa Nichijo)
Shinobu Yaguchi, 2014
30 Jan 2015 6.30pm
Wood Job! is a coming-of-age story by Shinobu Yaguchi, the director behind the Japanese box office smash hits Waterboys and Swing Girls.

My Little Sweet Pea
(Mugiko-san to)
Keisuke Yoshida,
31 Jan 2015
Directed by Keisuke Yoshida, My Little Sweet Pea is a bittersweet story about family and loss which transcends cultures

Bolt from Blue
(Seiten no hekireki)
Gekidan Hitori, 2014
31 Jan 2015
This heart-warming film tells a story about family, ambition and the consequences of the choices that we make.

Nobody to Watch Over Me
(Daremo mamotte kurenai)
Ryoichi Kimizuka, Nobody to Watch Over Me, 2009
31 Jan 2015
Captivating to watch, this film by Ryoichi Kimizuka reflects the current fears over the perils of social media and privacy, but also deftly weaves a story about the brokenness of modern-day families.

The Light Shines Only There
(Sokonominite hikari kagayaku)
Mipo O, 2014
31 Jan 2015
A bleak but stunningly beautiful exploration into humanity from the acclaimed Mipo O.

A Letter to Momo
(Momo e no tegami)
Hiroyuki Okiura, 2014
1 Feb 2015
This film by world-acclaimed anime director Hiroyuki Okiura tells the tale of 11-year-old Momo who lives on a remote island where time has stopped.

Naoto Kumazawa, 2013
1 Feb 2015
Korean exchange student in Japan Ji-ho plays matchmaker for her two lukewarm Japanese friends,
teaching them all about love and letting loose a number of Korean-style love ‘jinxs’ on them.

Scattered Clouds
Mikio Naruse, 1967
1 Feb 2015
This timeless film tells the story of Yumiko who unexpectedly finds love after being suddenly widowed.

Blood and Bones
(Chi to hone)
Yoichi Sai, 2004
1 Feb 2015
This gripping film paints an unflinching portrait of a man struggling to make a name for himself in a foreign country.

Wood Job + Q&A
(Ujjobu! Kamusari Naanaa Nichijo)
Shinobu Yaguchi, 2014
3 Feb 2015
Wood Job! is a coming-of-age story by Shinobu Yaguchi, the director behind the Japanese box office smash hits Waterboys and Swing Girls.

Carmen from Kawachi
(Kawachi no Karumen)
Seijun Suzuki, 1966
3 Feb 2015
This experimental, new wave film by iconoclastic director Seijun Suzuki follows Carmen as she escapes her miserable life at home and becomes a hugely popular nightclub singer in Osaka.

Short Peace
Katsuhiro Otomo, Shuhei Morita, Hiroki Ando, Hajime Katoki, 2013
4 Feb 2015
An anthology of four dystopian tales, which represent a crossover between anime and traditional
artistic traditions based around the central theme of ‘Japan’

All About Our House
(Minna no ie)
Koki Mitani, 2001
5 Feb 2015
This film is an uplifting tale of a young couple trying to create their dream home and the clash of different generations’ ideals.

The Handsome Suit
(Hansamu sutsu) Tsutomu Hanabusa, 2008
5 Feb 2015
This lively comedy tells the story of Takuro, an unattractive diner chef who discovers a mystical suit that will transform him into a suave and successful male model.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is produced and organised by the Japan Foundation.
Supported by Japan Airlines and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Source: The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme
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