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Anime's Human Machines London Barbican Screening Details

Date: 2019 August 01 21:08

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Anime fans in London are in for a treat. The Barbican have got anime expert Helen McCarthy to curate a season of anime screenings. Anime's Human Machines is set to run from Thursday 12th to Monday 30th September 2019.

Each screening will have a special introduction by Helen McCarthy. They've also got super mecha designer Shôji Kawamori. Anime fans will best know him for his mecha designs in Macross. He also co-directed Macross Plus. Other famous designs include a series of Dicalone toys for Japanese toy company Takara. This was a collection of transforming robots. Hasbro licensed these toys and rebranded them as Transformers. Mr Kawamori designed a certain truck called Convoy who was rebranded as Optimus Prime!

Shôji Kawamori will be introducing the Ghost in the Shell Movie (the 1995 animated version), at the Barbican on Wednesday 18th September 2019 at 20:45. Kawamori did some of the mechanical design for this film too!

This season has a whole host of awesome films that are all really worth watching on the big screen (Helen's spoilt us for choice). We suggest booking early to avoid disappointment.

They'll also be showing the mind bending Paprika, Patlabor the Movie, Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars, plus a few other awesome films.

Not content with just films, they've got a couple of drawing workshops too!

Full Story

Press release as follows:

Barbican Cinema
Anime's Human Machines

12 - 30 Sep

Throughout September Barbican Cinema presents Anime's Human Machines, a major film season showcasing the enduringly popular and relevant genre, Japanese Animation.

Anime has questioned our relationship to technology for decades, creating some of the most compelling human-robots and robot-humans in all of cinema. The films showing here confront the onslaught of technology and screen as part of Life Rewired, a Barbican cross-arts and learning season running throughout 2019, exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

Curated by anime expert Helen McCarthy and produced by Barbican Cinema, this season features eight landmark films, from trailblazing low budget titles such as the cyberpunk Tetsuo, The Iron Man (1989, Dir Shin'ya Tsukamoto), to later films including: Macross Plus The Movie (1995, Dir Shôji Kawamori), Metropolis (2001, Dir Rintaro), and Ghost in the Shell (1995, Dir Mamoru Oshii); the latter Introduced by Shōji Kawamori, anime creator, and mechanical designer on the film. The more recent titles Paprika (Japan 2006 Dir Satoshi Kon) and Summer Wars (2009, Dir Mamoru Hosoda) will also play.

Japanese animation has embraced robotics, cybernetics and artificial intelligence as major themes. It uses these themes to explore complex moral and social questions: humanity's responsibility for its actions, response to the other, greed, short-termism and a failure to care for the ecosystem that sustains us.

What emerges from these films is how our own view of technology has changed since the earliest in the season was released in 1989, and how humanity still refuses responsibility for the impact of its actions.

Helen McCarthy, Season Curator, comments:

"This season forms a perfect coda for London's best ever summer of manga, with major exhibitions at the British Museum and Japan House and a host of other cultural events. The films we've chosen present a snapshot of AI and cyber-enhancement in Japanese visual culture, ranging from the punk aesthetic of Tetsuo: The Iron Man to the polished psychological drama of Paprika.

Many of these films are rarely seen in their natural environment, on the big screen. This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that, for all the sense of control and choice delivered by personal media devices, there's something transformative about the communal experience of cinema, where the rest of the audience becomes part of and party to your own reaction, all those myriad bytes of aesthetic response creating a critical mass of cultural response.

When you see a film in the cinema you're part of a magical ritual, a phenomenon bigger than yourself. I hope anyone interested in cinema, in Japan, or in visual culture will find this an experience worth having."

All screenings in the season will be introduced by Helen McCarthy.

Anime's Human Machines is an Official Event of the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020, and has been kindly supported by Wellcome and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and is presented in association with the Japan Foundation.

Films screening:

Tetsuo, The Iron Man (18) + panel discussion
Japan 1989, Dir Shin'ya Tsukamoto, 65 min Digital presentation
12 Sep 2019, 18:30, Barbican Cinema 1

Tetsuo, The Iron Man

The horror - and the pleasure - of a body infected and transformed by technology are at the core of this thumping cyberpunk nightmare, a key reference for the anime that followed.

A man known to us only as 'the Metal Fetishist', who is seen sticking a piece of metal into his leg, is run over by 'the Salaryman'. The next morning, as he shaves, Salaryman discovers a metal spike growing out of his cheek: it's the start of a shocking mutation that sees him transform, gradually, into a walking, hulking pile of scrap metal.

Released a year after Akira, and sharing many of the same concerns, Tetsuo is considered a founding text of Japanese cyberpunk. To discuss its influence, and to unpack the wider themes of this season, curator Helen McCarthy is joined on-stage before the screening by a panel of experts: Jasper Sharp, Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere and Rayna Denison.

Macross Plus The Movie (12A) + introduction
Japan 1995 Dir Shôji Kawamori, 114 min Digital presentation
14 Sep 2019, 18:00, Barbican Cinema 1

Macross Plus The Movie

A fresh approach to a long established franchise, Macross Plus The Movie features a love triangle, a deadly rivalry, a virtual idol singer and some of the most dazzling combat sequences ever animated.

It is directed by Shoji Kawamori, who worked on the franchise from its inception, and designed one of its most famous elements: the giant robots that transform into supersonic fighter-jets part-controlled by the brainwaves of their humanoid pilots.

In the film, two such pilots are vying for the affections of one woman, Myung, who is the manager of the virtual performer Sharon Apple, the most successful teen idol in the known cosmos.

As the boys take their rivalry to the sky Top Gun-style, an illegal computer chip inserted into Sharon causes her to become sentient and to break free from her managerial reins, putting Myung's life in danger.

Patlabor The Movie (PG) + Introduction
Japan 1989 Dir Mamoru Oshii, 99 min Digital presentation
15 Sep 2019, 16:00, Barbican Cinema 1

Patlabor The Movie

Based on a successful franchise (high concept: city cops with robots instead of patrol cars), Patlabor The Movie takes the team and their machines into darker territory as technology and mysticism collide.

Set in a recognisable Tokyo just a little in the future, the city is depicted as a huge redevelopment site, with whole suburbs being revamped and man-made islands dotting Tokyo Bay as part of the Babylon Project. Robots known as labors make construction faster and less dangerous, and have moved into many areas of life. So Tokyo needs robot-assisted cops to police robot-assisted crime.

One man-made island, the Ark, is the nerve centre for the whole Babylon Project, manufacturing and controlling all its robots. But a rogue programmer obsessed with Biblical imagery - and a technology problem that can be triggered by wind resonance around high-rise buildings - combine to create a threat to the whole city - with a massive typhoon approaching Tokyo.

Ghost in the Shell (15) + Introduction by Shōji Kawamori, anime creator, and mechanical designer on Ghost in the Shell.
Japan 1995 Dir Mamoru Oshii, 83 min Digital presentation
18 Sep 2019, 20:45, Barbican Cinema 1

Ghost in the Shell

How human are you if every part of you is cybernetic and you're not even sure who controls your brain?

Based on a successful manga by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell takes us into a world where brains can be hacked, memories erased and fake ones implanted, where it's easy to upgrade your human body for superior cybernetic equipment and where unenhanced people are rapidly becoming an underclass.

It asks what is the purpose, and the future, of humanity, and how we might deal with any sentience we create.

The movie, a Japanese-British co-production part-funded by Manga Entertainment, is recognised as inspiration for The Matrix and the work of James Cameron. Its heady brew of glossy technology, political intrigue and philosophical enquiry remains compelling two decades on, tempting Scarlett Johanssen into the role for a 2017 live action version. Mamoru Oshii's movie is both more primal and more sophisticated than the 2017 remake.

Roujin Z (15) + introduction
Japan 1991 Dir Hiroyuki Kitakubo, 78 min Digital presentation
24 Sep 2019, 18:45, Barbican Cinema 1

Roujin Z

Japan has one of the world's largest economies and a highly advanced technological sector. It also has a rapidly ageing population. Hiroyuki Kitakubo's 1991 Roujin Z considers this future world where AI has taken over the role of carer, resulting in some unforeseen consequences.

A scientist invents a new bed that, without the help of a nurse, can look after an elderly patient. It soon becomes evident that the scientist has used a brain at the centre of the bed and what's more, he has used the brain of the patient's dead wife.

The bed's AI decides to fulfil the dying widower last wish and take him to the seaside, where he and his wife were once happy. But the trip does not go to plan...

Summer Wars (12A) + introduction
Japan 2009 Dir Mamoru Hosoda, 110 min Digital presentation
28 Sep 2019, 18:00, Barbican Cinema 1

Summer Wars

A dazzling movie by the best director Studio Ghibli ever let go, this is both visually delicious and solidly plotted, combining age-old romantic and family drama with terrifyingly possible technology.

High school maths genius Kenji is offered a summer job by Natsuki, the hottest girl in school. What he doesn't know is that he's being hired to be her fiancé for a family gathering to celebrate her grandmother's 90th birthday. But there are bigger problems than his.

The prodigal son is also coming home, bringing his past with him. This includes an AI named Love Machine, sold to the US military, that lures Kenji into exposing his online accounts with an irresistible mathematical puzzle.

As Love Machine wreaks havoc on the area's electronic infrastructure, the family band together to help Kenji defeat it. But when it recovers and threatens to drop an asteroid probe on a nuclear power plant, it's going to take a lot more than family to stop it.

Metropolis (PG) + introduction
Japan 2001 Dir Rintaro, 108 min, 35mm presentation
29 Sep 2019, 16:00, Barbican Cinema 1


The artist Osamu Tezuka created his Metropolis based manga on a single still from Fritz Lang's movie in a story he found in his mother's film magazine. Rinataro's anime version matches Lang's epic for scale, drama and pathos.

Made twelve years after Osamu Tezuka's death by two of his greatest fans, directed by his protégé Rintaro and screenplay by Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo, this film's dreamlike visual beauty is only part of its attraction. A superb jazz-inspired score and a compelling plot made critic Roger Ebert describe it as 'one of the best animated films I have ever seen'.

Rintaro's version differs in detail from Tezuka's original manga, and draws on the overarching concept of Fritz Lang's film, a dystopian class struggle in which robots are exploited for human gain and used to manipulate society.

The relationship between robots and humans, and how man treats his creations, was a theme that drew Tezuka back many times; here there is some light at the end of the tunnel of our destructive nature.

Paprika (15) + introduction
Japan 2006 Dir Satoshi Kon, 87 min Digital presentation
30 Sep 2019, 20:45, Barbican Cinema 1


A dazzling visual experience wrapped around a densely layered story, Satoshi Kon's Paprika is a taut psychological thriller.

Dr. Atsuko Chiba works as a scientist by day and, and under the alias 'Paprika', is also a dream detective at night. Atsuko and her colleagues are working on a device called the DC Mini, which is designed to help psychiatric patients, but in the wrong hands it could destroy people's minds. When a prototype is stolen, Dr Atsuko (Paprika) takes swift action to track it down it before significant damage is done.

Based on the 1993 novel of the same name, written by one of the director's favourite authors, Yasutaka Tsutsui this was Kon's fourth and final film before his death in 2010.

Anime's Human Machines: Manga Workshops:

Led by professional manga artist Chie Kutsuwada, both workshops begin with a quick introduction to manga and anime. Attendees will learn about designing a character and look at how to draw in a distinctive manga style and for different genres.

Draw Your AI Avatar
(Suitable for 9 to 13 year-olds)
14 Sep 2019, 13:00, Fountain Room, Level G, Barbican Centre
In this session attendees will be encouraged to draw their own AI avatar.

Draw Your Robot Manga Sidekick
(Suitable for 14-19 year olds)
14 Sep 2019, 15:00, Fountain Room, Level G
In this session participants will bring their own favourite gadget to life as a manga character.

Ticket prices:
Box Office: 0845 120 7527

Standard: £12/ Members: £9.60/ Concessions: £11
Young Barbican: £5
Multi-buy: save 20% when you book standard tickets for 3 or more screenings in the Anime's Human Machines season
Workshops: £5

* Local Classification

About Barbican Cinema

A fully curated programme of international cinema including thematic seasons, new releases, and special events presented in Cinemas 1, 2 and 3.

Our offer includes partnerships with film festivals, art & culture organisations, plus regular family screenings for young audiences and parent & baby screenings.

The Event cinema programme presents the best of the performing arts on screen.

About the Barbican

A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does.

Over a million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite.

The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas 1, 2 and 3, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, public spaces, a library, the Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican's International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble.

Source: Barbican
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