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Japan, 1984 (MIFF 1986)

Director: Shinji Somai

Veteran film directors Imamura and Bertollucci, judges of the 1985 Tokyo Film Festival special award of $1.5 million to a young director (designed to help finance his next feature). praised this film for its boldness, and sensitive, detailed control — and awarded Somai a half share of the prize money. This gesture resulted in the film's commercial release: until then it had been unable to find a distributor. TYPHOON CLUB describes the misadventures of a group of third-year Junior High School students over a period of four days, during which time a typhoon comes and goes. It shows the stresses and strains of contemporary Japanese adolescents, who have lost respect for their authority figures and are confused, unsettled and disturbed. They are emotionally immature, but have enormous pressure put on them by parents and teachers to study hard for the fiercely competitive entrance exams — to Senior High, and later to university. The intense and exclusive concentration on educational achievement as a means to social advancement and security has led to neglect or repression of emotional, spiritual and physical needs, which desperately seek release in sexual indulgence — or suicide. TYPHOON CLUB is concerned with these issues, and situates itself inside the adolescent world.

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