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Films From Japan

Hirokazu Kore-eda has two previous MIFF hits under his belt and once again proves his irrepressible talent. After Life is set in a purgatory or limbo which looks an awful lot like an old brick school on a perfect autumn day. Guides assist the newly dead in selecting their most treasured memory, the ... Read more
'I found myself with a heart I was not supposed to have.'- Nozomi, the inflatable doll ... The subject of a MIFF spotlight in 2007, filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking, MIFF 09; Nobody Knows) returns with a Pinocchio-inspired fable about a life-sized sex doll (captivatingly embodied by South ... Read more
Akuemon is a good example of animation in the gekiga style which has developed in Japan by the start of the 60s. This was a more seriously toned adult-oriented form of manga, which stressed realistic effect and emotional impact, as opposed to the visual symbolism and hi-keyed archetypes displayed ... Read more
"Shunji Iwai achieved international recognition with Love Letter (1995) and April Story (MIFF 1999), and with this quietly devastating, often hauntingly beautiful portrait of troubled youth, he has now proved himself one of Japan's leading talents and boldest voices. Visually, Iwai's film (which ... Read more
“Wise and deliciously witty.” - The London Film Festival ... Filmmaker Ryosuke Hashiguchi emerges from a seven-year hiatus to present an intimate rendering of married life with All Around Us. ... Shoko and Kanao (played in an exceptional acting debut from author Lily Franky) do their best to ... Read more
lchikawa has filmed the true story of a young Japanese who sailed a 19-foot yacht from Osaka to San Francisco in ninety days of solitary adventure. But unlike the men of the Kon Tiki, he had no scientific or historical theory to vindicate; he simply wanted to assert his individuality and freedom of ... Read more
The late Yasujiro Ozus last work An Autumn Afternoon shows his method at its most completely formal. A gentle story about a widower's decision to marry off his only daughter; the director turns a lovingly malicious eye on ultra modern Japan where golf is the thing; where women are still bartered in ... Read more
"In its exquisite refinement of Ozu's style and themes, and its general air of nostalgia and loss, An Autumn Afternoon does in fact feel like a summation of his career." - Criterion ... Hirayama (Ozu regular Chishu Ryu), an aging widower living with his two grown children, is forced to consider ... Read more
This film is the world s first attempt to travel through Papua New Guinea to obtain a complete record of the 20th century Stone Age life. ... Read more
A trip inside the mind of a serial killer, and the psychic investigator desperate to track him down and halt a murder spree. Angel Dust is a cat-and-mouse thriller that lives up to, and then surpasses, expectations. The American serial killer sub-genre has been run into the ground by shop-worn ... Read more
Director Hiroshi Teshigahara apparently decided to make this documentary in 1959, when he first visited Europe, with his father and discovered the works of dynamic Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. ... Regarded by many as a genius, Gaudi died in a tragic accident in 1926, but left a ... Read more
The Ants won an humanitarian award for Outstanding Documentary at this year's Hong Kong Film Festival. ... Waich Okumura is an 80 year-old Japanese man who fought in China's civil war after World War II. The question still remains unanswered: Why did the Japanese join the Chinese conflict between ... Read more
"They often try to find human nature by means of films - so do I. In this film I have tried to express it by real pictures, putting it out of an ideal world". Yoji Kuri's statement on his blackest, most devas­tating cartoon yet. ... Read more
Uzuki Nireno bids farewell to her family and relocates to Tokyo to attend University. As the film progresses at a gentle pace, it becomes evident that the long-haired boy at the local bookstore has more to do with Nireno's choice of university than any other factor. A hit at both Berlin and Toronto ... Read more
A survey of the architecture of Japan from the Shrine of Ise in mythological times, through the Heian, Muromachi and Momoyama periods, to the intimate beauty of the Edo period. ... Read more
The development of Japanese architecture from the earliest indigenous style and through the period of Chinese influence to the present day, when the most modern designs still show traces of the traditional post and beam method of construction. ... Read more
Asakusa Kid is the story of the outrageous, misspent youthful days of internationally renowned Japanese multi-hyphenate (director-star-writer-all-round-media-personality) Kitano 'Beat' Takeshi, whose films, which include Hana-Bi (MIFF 1998) and Kids Return (MIFF 1997), have wowed Festival audiences. Read more
The TV series that started it all, from the infiltra­tion of Japanese style into Western TV anima­tion to the tradition of cartoon robots still strong in Japanese amine today. The success of Astro Boy in and outside Japan provided the cor­nerstone for the animation industry there and ... Read more
When two labourers decide to rob a bakery, they get more co-operation than they expected from its communist owner. ... Read more
"Seven years after the death of his wife, company executive Aoyama is invited to sit in on auditions for an actress. Leafing through the resumes in advance, his eye is caught by Yamazaki Asami, a striking young woman with ballet training. On the day of the audition, she's the last person they see ... Read more
Astronomical anomalies scar the heavens as twin meteorites fall to Earth. Strange phenomena begin to assail Fukuoka; a drought blights the region and people begin to die terribly, falling prey to the 'Stone Disease', a virus that slowly petrifies their internal organs. Isima, a teenage diving ... Read more
A haiku film by lara Lee combines calligraphy and shakuhachi music. This experimental piece juxtaposes the master poet Basho and the contemporary poet Allen Ginsberg. ... Read more
Avalon is an illegal and potentially lethal computer game - a battlefield simulation where players win money to support themselves in a cold, dystopic future. Ash has reached the exalted warrior class with aspirations to penetrate the much rumoured 'Class: Special A' level where players eliminate ... Read more
Azumi Japan'Boasting some of the most impressive swordplay in the history of samurai epics, Azumi is a visceral masterpiece of violent style and powerful substance. This modern-day classic is driven by the fierce performance of Aya Ueto as Azumi, a beautiful young girl with a ruthless mission to ... Read more
“The Ballad of Narayama is Imamura's masterpiece.” - Senses of Cinema No holds barred in its depiction of a harsh village existence 100 years ago, The Ballad of Narayama is a remake of the 1958 film of the same name. On entering her 69th year, family matriarch Orin faces the certainty that ... Read more
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