TFF Cinematheque

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CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE CINEMA

All screenings take place in the Wilkinson Public Library Program Room. 6pm – first Monday of the month. Snacks included, FREE TO ALL.

For more information, please contact erika@telluridefilmfestival.org.

Monday, February 5, 2018

grave-of-the-fireflies-movie-poster-1988-1020773661

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Takahata, 1988, Unrated, 89 minutes) ~ “An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation,” wrote Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times, who also hailed the film as one of the best and most powerful war films.

The film begins after Japan’s surrender at the end of WWII as young Seita dies alone. The rest of Takahata’s animated masterpiece, based on the semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka, is a flashback revealing how things have come to this moment. Seita spent his childhood in Kobe and was proud of his father who was in the Japanese navy. When he and his sister Setsuko lose their mother after a U.S. fire-bombing raid, the siblings travel to a distant family member for care, but eventually end up navigating survival on their own in a world where food and tenderness are running low.



Monday, March 5, 2018

Twilight-Samurai-2002

• THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI (Yamada, 2002, Unrated, 129 minutes) ~ Winner of an unprecedented 12 Japanese Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, and also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Writer/director Yoji Yamada’s drama takes place in mid 19th-century Japan. A low-level samurai, widower and self-employed bureaucrat, Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada), struggles to survive on his low paying stipend while caring for his two young daughters and mother. When he falls in love with childhood friend Tomoe (Rie Miyazawa), he must face her husband in a duel, but is then too ashamed to marry her because of his poverty. As Seibei prepares to battle a fellow samurai, he finds out that his love is engaged to another man.

“Four out of four stars,” from Roger Ebert, who also quotes the Japanese Bushido Code in his glowing review of the film, “One who is a samurai must before all things keep in mind, by day, and by night, the fact that he has to die. That is his chief business.”



Monday, April 9, 2018

taste of tea

• THE TASTE OF TEA/CHA NO AJI (Ishii, 2004, Unrated, 143 minutes) ~ Selection for the Cannes Film Festival and referred to as the “surreal” version of Ingmar Bergman’s FANNY AND ALEXANDER (1982).

Director Katsuhito Ishii examines the eccentric Haruno family residing in a quiet countryside village just north of Tokyo. The tranquil clan of five is transformed when visiting uncle Ayano (Tadanobu Asano), a successful movie producer, arrives to town. As the summer progresses, each member of the family is revealed in a series of episodic vignettes – from offbeat grandfather, Akira (Tatsuya Gashuin), to artistic mother, Yoshiko (Satomi Tezuka), to hypno-therapist father, Nobou (Tomokazu Miura), who practices his trade on his family, to the children who are navigating their paths to young adulthood.

“Quirky with a capital Q,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. “The most charming comedy in town,” wrote the Chicago Tribune, “Writer-director-editor Katsuhito Ishii’s 2003 piece is a modern Japanese variation on (Frank Capra’s 1938 Academy Award-winning) YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, with some lovely fantastical flourishes.”



 

Monday, May 7, 2018

the-wind-rises

• THE WIND RISES/KAZE TACHINU (Miyazaki, 2013, Rated PG-13, 126 minutes) ~ Special selection at the 40th Telluride Film Festival.

Hiyao Miyazaki’s final animated masterpiece is based on Jiro Horikoshi, a real Japanese historical figure who was responsible for creating the infamous and lethal “Zero” fighter during the first years of WWII. The film follows Jiro from a young boy in a provincial Japanese town who dreams of flying airplanes, through his journey as a sought after aeronautical engineer, and through the heartbreak surrounding the sweet love of his life.

“To see THE WIND RISES is to simultaneously marvel at the work of a master and regret that this film is likely his last,” wrote the LA Times, “Always determined to tell his kind of stories his way, Miyazaki has returned to subject matter close to his heart — the joy and romance of airplanes and flight.”


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