Meet magicians, murderers and more in this year's selection
of cinema from Japan at the Showroom – and see any film in the collection for a
We spoke to Paul Graham,Assistant Programme and Administration Officer of the Japan Foundation Touring Programme.
Why did you choose these particular films?
“We try to bring together a unique
selection of Japanese films, many of which have never had the opportunity to be
screened in the UK. This year’s season includes animation, classics and
contemporary films. This season’s theme explores
‘encounters’ in Japanese cinema.
“The themes we select
generally reflect an emerging trend in Japanese cinema, but for this year’s we
took a slightly different approach,” said Paul. “Considering that ‘encounters’
is an almost fundamental part of cinema, we wanted to look at how these are
represented in Japanese cinema past and present.
“There’s lots of unusual
encounters taking place, for example characters encountering new settings or
environments (Wood Job! and Carmen from Kawachi, to name but two), characters
from abroad coming to Japan (Blood and Bones), travelling back in time (Bolt
from the Blue), almost unreal meetings of people (Scattered Clouds), as well as
encounters of different genres/mediums (Short Peace). With such a vast
difference of encounters taking place, we wanted to question whether these are
things which truly happen in real life, or only in the movies.”
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR JAPANESE CINEMA?
"With new film talent
appearing from Japan each year, we try to keep on
top of trends to include in our annual programmes.
“Female director Mipo O (‘The
Light Shines Only There’) is definitely a director to watch,” said Paul. “Her
film was selected as Japan’s entry for the academy awards, and also featured on
many critics’ top film lists of 2014, not to mention being Japanese film
magazine Kinema Junpo’s top film of 2014.
“The film also stars Go Ayano
– he’s a hugely popular actor in Japan so it’s really quite remarkable that he
appears in this independent film as its lead. We expect to see a lot more of
both in the coming years!”
The season begins with Wood
Job! on Thursday 5 Feb, when the Showroom will be hosting a Q&A with
director Shinobu Yaguchi.
Explore our Japanese season