Japanese Film Season: Q&A With Paul Graham

Posted 4 February 2015 about Japan Now North .

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 fiver!

We spoke to Paul Graham,Assistant Programme and Administration Officer of the Japan Foundation Touring Programme.

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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

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Leila Jones

PR InternRead more posts by Leila Jones

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