Film Season: Kurosawa’s Samurai Films

 

Film Season: Samurai! …The Code According To Kurosawa

When: Saturday 5 – Monday 27 May

Where: The Star And Shadow Cinema (Directions)

Mifune-Kurosawa

Mifune and Kurosawa relax away from the set

Website: http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/on/season/147

 

Films:

The Seven Samurai (1954) – Sun 5 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Yojimbo (1961) – Sun 12 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Sanjuro (1962) – Sun 19 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

The Hidden Fortress (1958) – Sun 26 May 2013, 7:30 p.m.

 

The shadow of Akira Kurosawa looms large over the wider landscape of Japanese cinema. Much in the same way that Alfred Hitchcock  will always be looked back upon as a master craftsman of suspense, Kurosawa will always be regarded as a master craftsman of the Samurai film, and although he was by no means limited only to that genre it’s certainly what he is best remembered for.

The Star and Shadow celebrates this with four of his greatest films which he made featuring his long time associate Toshiro Mifune, who Kurosawa once said the following about “I am proud of nothing I have done other than with him“. After 15 films working together the pair parted ways because of an argument stemming from the financial peril that Kurosawa’s (1965) film Red Beard was putting Mifune’s production company into. After some very public negative statements about one another the pair would not reconcile until meeting each other at a mutual friends funeral in 1993, however they would never work again and both passed away within a year of the meeting. A sad end to a story of two unbelievable talents rise to success, but you can celebrate their glory years working together onscreen on beautiful 35mm prints(!!!).

 

“A season of films celebrating the collaboration of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune.

As digital technology surplants celluloid, this is your last chance to see these classic films of world cinema on 35mm.

Samurai !  the word litterally means, ” Those who serve .”   Their code an ancient and unsparing unswerving allegiance to a single master, loyalty integrity and personal honour.

Their lives are dedicated to a constant honing of martial skills, and “The way of the Samurai is found in death.” – Star & Shadow

 

 

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Film: I Wish

***This Event Has Now Passed***

Film: I Wish (奇跡, Kiseki)

When: Sat 9 March (13:00), Tue 12 March (13:00 & 17:50), Thur 14 March (20:10)

Where: The Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/i-wish

Sometimes it really sucks being a fan of Asian cinema in the West, you hear about fantastic films and you want to see them right now but you have to wait for 1) subtitling and b) for a Western release. But sometimes it’s worth the wait and ‘I Wish’ is certainly worth the wait, don’t let this beautiful film from Hirokazu Koreeda pass you by.

“Filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking) delivers another fascinating exploration of family relationships with this emotionally stirring tale of childhood and innocence. Two young brothers find themselves divided by their parent’s separation and forced to live at opposite ends of Kyushu in Japan. Keen to reunite and repair the rift between their parents, the boys cook up a mystical solution whereby they will both make a wish at the split-second when two speeding Bullet Trains pass each, believing this powerful force will make a miracle happen and magically bring their family back together.” — Tyneside Cinema

Film: In The Realm Of The Senses

 

Film: In The Realm Of The Senses (愛のコリーダ, Ai no Korīda)

When: Saturday 13 April, 15.20

Where: The Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/in-the-realm-of-the-senses

 

Be sure to catch this rare theatrical screening of Nagisa Ôshima’s controversial 1976 erotic classic which had Japanese censors up in arms over its depiction of unsimulated onscreen sex. Upon its original UK release it was confined to private clubs to avoid outrage, now years later it you can enjoy the film where it was supposed to be viewed, on the big screen!

 

“One of the most famously controversial releases of the 70s, Japanese erotic drama In The Realm Of The Senses gets another chance to rile up the censors with a special screening to mark the sad passing of its director Nagisa Ôshima in January. Based on one of the biggest scandals in Japanese history, that of Sada Abe who asphyxiated and mutilated her lover in 1936, Ôshima’s controversial film effectively skirts the line between pornography and art. The story follows servant and former prostitute Sada who becomes sexually obsessed with her employer Kizicho. After making love, the two become inseparable leading to more and more dangerous sexual acts. Limited to private cinema clubs on it initial release in the UK, this screening is your chance to see what all the fuss was about with this serious slice of provocative cinema.” — Tyneside Cinema

 

 

Film: Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme

 

 

Film Event: Once Upon a Time in Japan- Reinventing the Past Through the Eyes of Japanese Contemporary Filmmakers

When: Sun 3 March – Sun 24 March

Where: Tyneside Cinema  (Directions)

Extra Info: Buy tickets for four films in the programme and get the fifth FREE! (Only at the Tyneside Box Office in person)

Website:  Please click on the film titles below

 

We are very pleased to announce that Geordie Japan is working closely with The Tyneside Cinema to promote this exciting touring film festival! Once Upon A Time In Japan aims to explore the past through the eyes of modern Japanese film makers and includes some gems that have never been screened in the UK before! We can’t wait for this event, it’s been hard to keep it under wraps until now! But we will be providing you will all the information you will need leading up to and during the programme. See you there!

 

The films are as follows;

(Please find synopsis of the films further down the page)

 

Bubble Fiction: Boom Or Bust (Tasuo Baba) – Sun 3 March, 3.30pm

Please note, Bubble Fiction is listed in the Tyneside brochure as SAT 3 MARCH, but it is Sun 3 March

Castle Under Fiery Skies (Mitsutoshi Tanaka) – Wed 6 March, 5.45pm

Kaidan Horror Classics (Various) – Sun 10 March, 3.30pm

Rebirth (Izuru Narushima) – Wed 13 March, 5.45pm

Mai Mai Miracle (Sunao Katabuchi) – Sun 17 March, 3.30pm

Zero Focus (Isshin Inudo) – Wed 20 March, 5.45pm

Ninja Kids!!! (Takashi Miike) -Sun 24 March. 3.30pm

 

“Since 2004, the Japan Foundation, London has organised a Japanese film programme in close partnership with distinguished film venues and programme advisors in the UK. Each year, a programme of six to seven, largely contemporary, Japanese titles are put together under a carefully chosen theme to highlight trends in Japanese cinema and showcase the versatility and uniqueness displayed by Japanese filmmakers. The programme also showcases directors and works which, while being worthwhile, may have slipped under the radar of other film festivals or programmes.” – Japan Foundation

 

Bubble Fiction

Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (Baburu e go!: Taimu mashin wa doramu-shiki)
Dir. Yasuo Baba
Cast: Ryoko Hirosue, Hiroshi Abe, Hiroko Yakushimaru
2007 / 116min / Colour / English Subtitles
With the Japanese economy on the blink of collapse with 80 trillion yen in debt, government bureaucrat Shimokawaji (Hiroshi Abe) conjures the crazy idea of going back in time to 1990 in an attempt to prevent Japan’s financial collapse. Luckily, Shimokawaji’s ex-lover Mariko (Hiroko Yakushimaru) has a created one of the most unusual time machines; a DeLorean-esque washing machine, transporting anyone who dons a wetsuit and climbs into the drum some twenty years back in time. Having lost Mariko somewhere in the past, Mariko’s daughter (Ryoko Hirosue), a ditzy bar hostess, spins back to 1990 to the height of the bubble economy, teaming up with a 17 years younger Shimokawaji to look for her mother and prevent Japan’s ‘bubble’ economy from bursting. Yasuo Baba’s 2007 time-travel comedy is a hilarious satire of bubble-era Japan, filled with nostalgic gags, retro fashion and music, guaranteed to lift your spirits and cast away any recession blues!

 

Castle under Fiery Skies (Katen no shiro)Castle Under Fiery Skies 2
Dir. Mitsutoshi Tanaka
Cast: Toshiyuki Nishida, Shinobu Otake, Saki Fukuda, Isao Natsuyagi, Renji Ishibashi
2009 / 139min / Colour / English Subtitles
In the Age of the Country at War, peasant carpenter Motaemon Okabe (Toshiyuki Nishida) renowned for his ‘divine hands’ is summoned by Lord Nobunaga to oversee the mammoth task of the construction of the fabled 7 story fortress Azuchi Castle, a huge castle to be built on Mount Azuchi overseeing and guarding the then-capital Kyoto. However Motaemon must overcome some persistent obstacles on the path towards its completion. This film introduces a fascinating insight into the world of traditional Japanese architecture. Mitsutoshi Tanaka’s well-crafted spin on the period drama genre is a heart-warming tale of one ordinary man’s skill and determination, and journey towards success beyond his normal capabilities.

 

Kaidan Horror Classics (Ayashiki bungo kaidan)Kaidan Horror Classics
Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, Sang-il Lee, Hirokazu Kore-eda
2010 / 121min / Colour / English Subtitles
Three haunting stories written by Japanese literary masters, reinterpreted and revived by some of Japan’s greatest directors, Kaidan Horror Classics is a collection of beautiful yet terrifying tales of the darkness of the human heart.

The Whistler (Hazakura to mateki)
Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
2010 / 36min / Colour / English Subtitles
Yuko (Aoba Kawai) spends her days caring for her terminally ill younger sister Itsue (Eri Tokunaga), however upon finding a bundle of anonymous letters addressed to Itsue, Yuko is determine to find out from whom and why have they been sent. Based on the original story by Dazai Osamu, Shinya Tsukamoto’s distinctive cinematic style portrays the inner rage of adolescents towards those dear to them.

The Nose (Hana)
Dir. Sang-il Lee
2010 / 34min / Colour / English Subtitles
A monk named Zenchi (Yutaka Matsushige) attempts to save a child from drowning in a river, but when the child sees the enormous nose he was concealing the monk impulsively pushes him away. Racked with guilt, Zenchi becomes fearful of silently watching eyes. Inspired by an early short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, this loose interpretation retains the protagonist’s predicament, and includes elegant cinematography, reminiscent of classic period films.

The Days After (Nochi no hi)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
2010 / 51min / Colour / English Subtitles
A child appears before a young couple who lost their beloved son at an early age. Is he the reincarnation of their son, or a ghost? This strange and serene story of a family’s days spent with the son who seems to have come back to life, is adapted from the fantasy stories by Murou Saisei.

 

Rebirth (Yokame no semi)Rebirth
Dir. Izuru Narushima
Cast: Mao Inoue, Hiromi Nagasaku, Konomi Watanabe, Eiko Koike, Hitori Gekidan
2011 / 147min / Colour / English Subtitles
Kiwako (Hiromi Nagasaku) runs away with her married lover’s baby, spending four years on the run and bringing up the child as her own until one day she is arrested. The child abductee Erina (Mao Inoue) is returned to her birth parents, but is never able to come to terms with what happened in her childhood. Now grown up, Erina travels to the town where she grew up to discover the truth about her past. Based on the popular novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, Izuru Narushima’s acclaimed drama questioning nature over nurture scooped an astounding 11 awards at the 2012 Japanese Academy Awards 2012, including best film and best director. A huge hit both critically and commercially, the film also ranked first in the Readers’ Choice awards in Kinema Junpo 2011.

 

Mai Mai Miracle (Maimai shinko to sennen no maho)Mai_Mai_Miracle
Dir. Sunao Katabuchi
Cast (voice): Mayuko Fukuda, Nako Mizusawa, Ei Morisako, Manami Honjo
2009 / 93min / Colour / English Subtitles
Inspired by her grandfather’s stories, nine-year-old Shinko journeys into the past through her magical method of time travel, conjured entirely by her vivid imaginings of the past. Upon making a new friend with the upper class Kiiko, they quickly discover they both have a fascination with history and what happened in the past, and transport back to the town a thousand years before, almost as if their dreams could become a reality. Adapted from Nobuko Takagi’s famous novel, Mai Mai Miracle is a beautifully animated nostalgic tale of friendship in post-war Japan. A former assistant of the great Hayao Miyazaki, director Sunao Katabuchi recreates 1950s south western Japan in its full-animated glory, inviting the audience to embark on a miraculous journey into the past with young Shinko.

 

Zero Focus (Zero no shoten)Zero Focus
Dir. Isshin Inudo
Cast: Tae Kimura, Ryoko Hirosue, Miki Nakatani
2009 / 131min / Colour / English Subtitles
Teiko (Ryoko Hirosue) has her life thrown into turmoil when her newly wed husband of only a week leaves on a business trip and never returns. Brought together by an arranged marriage and knowing little of her husband’s past, Teiko embarks on a journey to discover the dark truth of her husband’s sudden disappearance. Uncovering evidence to suggest her husband was not who she had thought, Teiko learns that her husband was close to two women: elegant aristocrat Sachiko (Miki Nakatani) and receptionist Hisako (Tae Kimura); two mysterious women who may know more than they protest. Isshin Inudo’s gripping Hitchcockian murder-mystery set in the beautiful location of post war Kanazawa features an all-star female cast in an adaptation of the celebrated crime novel by Seicho Matsumoto and revival of the classic 1961 Yoshitaro Nomura film.

 

Ninja Kids!!! (Nintama rantaro)NINJA KIDS!!!
Dir. Takashi Miike
Cast: Shindo Nakamura, Naoto Takenaka, Susumu Terajima, Hiroki Matsukata, Mikijiro Hira
2011 / 100min / Colour / English Subtitles
Set in the early 16thcentury, the story follows little Rantaro (Seishiro Kato), a young aspiring ninja born into a family of farmers in disguise. Blessed with opportunity to leave his family’s farm and enrol into a Ninja Academy run by Denzo Yamada (Susumu Terajima), Rantaro plunges into a crazy school packed full of explosive and dangerous tasks and madcap teachers. However, when a rival clan arrives, the school’s future is thrown in jeopardy and it’s down to Rantaro and his loveable classmates to save the day. This wacky live-action adaptation of the long-running children’s cartoon Nintama Rantaro is full of slapstick gags and comic schemes from the warped mind of the ever prolific director Takashi Miike, guaranteed to entertain kids and big kids alike! 

 

Synopsis courtesy of The Japan Foundation

 

Film: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

***This event has now passed***

Film: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

When: Monday 11 & Thursday 14 February, Time TBC

Where: The Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/jiro-dreams-of-sushi

 

Finally the Tribecca selected documentary comes to Newcastle! We’ve been hearing buzz about how great this documentary is for a while now and if it’s Rotten Tomatoes score (99%) is anything to go by we are in for a real treat!

“85 year-old Jiro Ono, is considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a ten-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow. An elegant and tasty tale that will even satisfy people who aren’t fans of this little delicacy.” – Tyneside Cinema

Film: The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps

 

***THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED***

 

Film: The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps (アトムの足音が聞こえる)

When: Friday 11 January, 19:30pm

Where: The Star and Shadow Cinema (Directions)

Website: http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/on/film/1105

 

Once again Zipangu Fest is bringing another fantastic film up to Newcastle’s Star and Shadow cinema and once again we can’t wait for this!!

 

“In 1963, Japan’s first ever animated TV series began broadcasting, Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. The series itself has entered the realms of legend, with its main character a cultural icon across much of the world. But outside of the adventures of its little boy robot star, the series is also remembered for its futuristic sound effects, the creation of the pioneering sound designer Matsuo Ohno.

 

“Once you grasp a sound, it becomes part of this world. I’m not interested in sounds that already exist,” this trailblazer of electrical experimental music is quoted as saying, and indeed, Ohno can be attributed as creating whole new sonic worlds. His aural alchemy found itself deployed in the works of such ground-breaking filmmakers as Hiroshi Teshigahara and Toshio Matsumoto, and the spatial sound systems for the pavilions at the Expo ’85 in Tsukuba.

 

And then, in the 1980s, Ohno suddenly disappeared from the public eye. This riveting documentary follows his career through the eyes of those who worked with him and the experimental musicians whom he inspired, through a combination of hypnotic sounds and extraordinary images as those left by the Astro Boy’s footsteps leads us to a revelation that is as moving as it is unexpected.

 

With narration provided by the world-renowned Pizzicato Five vocalist Maki Nomiya, and the film’s own sound design by the electronic musician Pardon Kimura, Mochinaga’s film features rare scenes and sounds from animated films such as Lupin the 3rdSpace Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam.” — Zipangu Fest

 

[Kids Club] Arrietty

***THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED***

Film: Arretty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ)

When: Saturday 15th December – 10:30am

Where: Tyneside Cinema  (Directions)

Extra Info: This screening is dubbed in English, only for children or adults accompanying children

Price: £3.20 (all ages)

*Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. adults only admitted to Children’s Film Club screenings when accompanying children.

“Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all. From the legendary Studio Ghibli (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”)  comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger.” – Comingsoon.net

Arrietty is a sweet and beautiful film that will be great viewing for children (and us adults). I caught the film when it was first released a few years back and honestly I can’t recommend the film enough.  If you’re sad that you can only attend with a child but still want to see the film, why not pick up a copy at HMV? Either way, let us know what you think by tweeting us @GeordieJapan — GJ

Film: The Ring

 

THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED

 

Film: The Ring (Ringu)  (リング)

When: Wednesday 31st October, 18:00pm

Where: Tyneside Cinema (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/the-ring

 

The votes for the North East’s favorite scary movie are in… and happily for us The Ring got the most votes!

 

The Ring is the film that kicked off the J-Horror wave of the late 90s – early 2000s. After wowing critics at film festivals the film was released in the West by Tartan Asia Extreme and became a cult classic in no time at all due to its wildly original take on the horror genre (to Western horror fans that is). In 2002 a remake followed which only brought the films notoriety to a wider audience. On the back of The Ring’s success countless Ring inspired films were made, other J-horror films were imported and Hollywood remade every Asian horror movie the could (usually with disastrous results). The Ring is a true modern horror classic and is required viewing for anyone wanting a scare this Halloween!

 

Reiko Asakawa is a young journalist with a divorced husband, Ryuji, and a son, Yoichi. Her niece, Tomoko, was recently found dead with a look of pure shock embedded in her face as if something scared her to death. Upon learning that her niece’s three friends died at the same time, too, and hearing about a disturbing videotape that is said to kill you seven days after watching it, Reiko comes into the possession of that same tape. Now, as time grows short, Reiko and Ryuji race to save their lives from impending doom and discover what the tape has to do with a tragedy-stricken volcanic island and a very strange little girl named Sadako …  (summary provided by IMDB)

 

 

Film: Somi – The Taekwon-do Woman

 

***THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED***

 

Film: Somi: The Taekwon-do Woman (ソミ:高麗女人拳士)

When: Friday 9th of Novemnber – 19:30

Where: Star and Shadow Cinema  (Directions)

Website: http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/

Price: £5/£3.50

 

The Star and Shadow cinema, in association with Zipangu Fest, will be showing this highly unusual North Korea/Japan co-production! Screened for the first time in the West…as if you needed any more convincing!!!

 

“All is not well in the medieval Kingdom of Koryo (918-1392), a distant precursor of today’s Korea, ruled over by a corrupt dynasty in the north. While the Koryo overlords become bloated on a lifestyle of luxury and decadence, a series of farmer’s revolts rock the country, only to be mercilessly quashed. During one such uprising, the parents of a young girl, Somi, are ruthlessly murdered by the brutal government vassal Hyon Ryu Bal. The shock causes Somi to lose her voice, as she flees by boat for her life. She is rescued and taken in by Dosa, a white-haired martial arts master, along with another young boy from Somi’s village, Ung Gom, orphaned in the same raid. As Dosa raises the two in his martial arts school, Somi and Ung Gom grow up together like brother and sister, waiting until their day of vengeance arrives.

 

On the surface, Somi – The Taekwon-do Woman may not look like a Japanese film, and one doesn’t think often think of Japan in relation to international co-productions, especially during the 1990s. However, the film was financed 100% on the Japanese side and was intended for an international audience, to be released under the alternative English title ofWoman Warrior of Koryo. The story follows a similar narrative arc to that celebrated Japanese tale of tyranny and revenge, Lady Snowblood, but benefits from the sets, locations and solid craftsmanship provided by its North Korean cast and crew, resulting in a far higher production values than one would expect of a historical martial arts action movie made in Japan during the same period.

 

According to the film’s producer, Masao Kobayashi, the actress playing Somi, Ri Mi Yang, was an amateur who was chosen by the North Koreans “because they thought that the Japanese might like her face”. As fortune would have it, however, the film was only screened once in Japan, at the Yubari Film Festival in 2001. It didn’t fare much better in North Korea either, screening only once on its premiere on New Year’s eve 1997/98. Meanwhile global political developments saw potential markets for the film closing, and though an English-language 35mm print was prepared, it was never used outside of its international festival debut at Yubari and remained in storage, until now…” – Zipangu Fest

 

This looks like its going to be something VERY special!

 

75p Film: Godzilla

 

***THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED***

 

Film: Godzilla (ゴジラ)

When: Sunday the 4th of  November, 10:45am

Where: Tyneside Cinema  (Directions)

Website: https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk

Price: £0.75

 

As part of their ‘Cult Classic All Nighter II’ Tyneside cinema are screening the fantastic original 1954 Godzilla.

Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific. Its rampaging radioactive beast, the poignant embodiment of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning almost thirty sequels. A thrilling, tactile spectacle that continues to be a cult phenomenon. — Criterion

 

The original installment in the franchise is still regarded as the best ‘film’ in the franchise (in contrast to the later films, which while enjoyable often fall back on cliches) and was in heavy competition with Seven Samuari for Japan’s top film award. With the 2011 earthquake still fresh in the mind, as well as the anti-nuclear demonstrations that followed, Godzilla has never been such essential viewing since it’s original release 9 years after the bombs were dropped.