The Japan Foundation Film Series Part 7: List

Evolving Japanese Cinema


Door open: 15 mins. before

Violent Cop (Sono otoko, kyobo ni tsuki)
February 2 (Fri.) 18:30

1989 / 103min. / Color, Vista
Distributor: Shochiku (Production Companies: Shochiku-Fuji )
Director: KITANO Takeshi / Screenwriter: NOZAWA Hisashi / Cinematographer: SASAKIBARA Yasushi / Art Director: MOCHIZUKI Masateru / Music: KUME Daisaku
Cast: BEAT Takeshi, ASHIKAWA Makoto, HAKURYU, KAWAKAMI Maiko, SANO Shiro, KISHIBE Ittoku

Kitano, whose works such as Kids Return (1996), Hana-bi (1997) and Takshis' (2005) always stir up conversation among critics and viewers worldwide, made his sensational directorial debut with Violent Cop. At first Kitano was meant to star, but later he found himself directing the work. With this film, he began to develop his career as a film director, which is quite separate from that of his other highly successful career as a well-known comedian, Beat Takeshi. Kitano's signature traits such as the presentation of violence as nothing unusual and innovative ideas on directing are already seen in this film.
Azuma, a police detective who fights violence with violence is a loner at the station. As he works on the murder of a dope dealer, he gets pushed to his limit and takes the law into his own hands after his sister and colleagues are brutalized by the mob.

MONDAY (Monday)
February 3 (Sat.) 13:30

2000 / 100min. / Color, Vista
Distributor: Cine Qua Non (Production Companies: Cine Qua Non, Cine Rocket, Media Factory)
Director, Screenwriter: SABU/ Cinematographer: SATO Kazuhito / Art Director: MARUO Tomoyuki / Music: SHIBUYA Keiichiro
Cast: TSUTSUMI Shinichi, MATSUYUKI Yasuko, ANDO Masanobu, OKOCHI Nanako, NISHIDA Naomi, OSUGI Ren

After making his debut as an actor in Morita Yoshimitsu's For Business (1986), Sabu won a best new actor award with World Apartment Horror (1991). He then first directed Dangan Runner (1996), went on to make Postman Blues (1997), Unlucky Monkey (1998), Blessing Bell (2003), and Dead Run (2005) among others. Monday won him a FIPRESCI award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
One Monday morning, Koichi wakes up in a hotel room. When he tries to remember what happened the day before…
Sabu's favorite setting, where an ordinary guy gets entangled in a series of unusual events, is already seen here. It's a fast, enjoyable ride.

Fancy Dance (Fanshi dansu)
February 3 (Sat.) 16:00

1989 / 101min. / Color, Vista
Distributor: Kadokawa Herald (Production Company: Daiei)
Director, Screenwriter: SUO Masayuki / Based on a comic by: OKANO Reiko / Cinematographer: NAGATA Yuichi / Art Director: OHASHI Minoru / Music: SUO Yoshikazu

Best known for his 1996 hit Shall We Dance? which was later remade in Hollywood, Suo's latest feature, Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (2006) has been much talked about and fans everywhere seem eager to see it. Fancy Dance (1989) is his second commercial film and is based on a popular manga comic series. Suo plays to his strength, digging deep into an unknown aspect of life (in this case, being a Buddhist monk) and serving up a laugh-out-loud comedy.
Yohei, a college student enters a year-long retreat at a remote temple to become a Buddhist priest and …
Suo had MOTOKI Masahiro again in his following work Sumo Do, Sumo Don't (1992) and won many awards.

All Under the Moon (Tsuki wa docchi ni deteiru)
February 3 (Sat.) 18:30

1993 / 109min. / Color, Vista
Distributor, Production Company: Cine Qua Non
Director: SAI Yoichi / Based on a novel by: YAN Sogil / Screenwriter: SAI Yoichi, CHONG Wuisin / Cinematographer: FUJISAWA Junichi / Art Director: IMAMURA Tsutomu, OKAMURA Kyoichi / Music: SAKUMA Masahide
Cast: KISHITANI Goro, Ruby MORENO, EZAWA Moeko, OGI Shigemitsu, ENDO Kenichi, ARIZONO Yoshiki

Sai currently fronts for the Director's Guild of Japan, he once was an assistant director to OSHIMA Nagisa when he filmed In the Realm of the Senses (1976). Sai's directorial debut was with Jukkai no Mosukito (1983), which was shown at the Venice Film Festival and won many awards for the new director. His following works include Tomoyo Shizuka ni Nemure (1985), Marks (1995), Doing Time (2002), Quill (2004) and Blood and Bones (2004). He spent some time studying in Korea in 1996, and has also acted in such films as Oshima's Taboo (1999.)
All Under the Moon won critical acclaim and was shown in at Berlin and various other film festivals. It depicts a lively tragicomical drama with a Korean-Japanese cab driver and his love interest Filipina bar hostess.

Harmful Insect (Gaichu)
February 4 (Sun.) 13:30

2001 / 92min. / Color, Vista
Distributor: Nikkatsu (Production Companies: Nikkatsu, TBS, Sony PCL)
Director: SHIOTA Akihiko / Screenwriter: KIYONO Yayoi / Cinematographer: KIKUMURA Tokusho/ Art Director: ISOMI Toshihiro / Music: Number Girl

Shiota debuted with Sasayaki (1999), and went on to make Don't Look Back (1999), which won awards domestically and at the Locarno International Film Festival, Yomigaeri (2003), Canary (2004), and his latest work, Dororo (2007).
Harmful Insects was shown at the 58th Venice Film Festival, and received special jury and best actress awards at the Nantes Festival of the Three Continents in 2001.
The film depicts a young girl's struggles against the harsh realities of life. Sachiko, a 12-year-old junior-high school student, stops going to school after her mother' s attempted suicide. She befriends other misfits in town, but the happy times are fleeting?c

*February 4 (Sun.) 15:15
  Lecture by SHIOTA Akihiko (In Japanese with translation into English / Admission Free)

Charisma (Karisuma)
February 4 (Sun.) 17:30

2000 / 103min. / Color, Vista
Distributor: Nikkatsu, Tokyo Theatre (Production Companies: Nikkatsu, King Record, Tokyo Theatre)
Director, Screenwriter: KUROSAWA Kiyoshi / Cinematographer: HAYASHI Junichiro/ Art Director: MARUO Tomoyuki / Music: Gary ASHIYA

Kurosawa began shooting 8mm films while he was a university student. Subsequently he became SOMAI Shinji's assistant director, and made his first commercial film, Kandagawa Wars in 1983. He went on to make such works as Cure (1997), Pulse (2000), which was remade in Hollywood in 2006, Bright Future (2002), and the latest, Sakebi-Retribution (2007). The original screenplay of Charisma won him a scholarship to the Sundance Institute in 1992. The completed film was shown during the Cannes Film Festival in the Director's Fortnight section.
Charisma is an attractive modern fable about a detective on leave who gets involved in a feud over a tree called Charisma.

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