the long excuse still 2The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme returns for 2018 with another diverse selection of recent and not so recent Japanese cinema. This year’s theme is secrets and lies and each of the films on offer attempts to shine a light on the various delusions at the heart of everyday life.

After School

after school landscapeYo Oizumi stars as a high school teacher investigating the disappearance of a friend in another darkly comic, twist filled farce from Kenji Uchida (Weekend Blues, A Stranger of Mine).

Birds Without Names

birds without names still 1Kazuya Shiraishi (Dawn of the Felines) adapts the popular novel by Mahokaru Numata in which a young woman (Yu Aoi) lives with an older man (Sadao Abe) but continues to pine for an old boyfriend who has apparently been missing for the last five years…

The Dark Maidens

Dark MaidensWhen a schoolgirl falls off a roof foul play is suspected. Who better to investigate than her fellow members of the literature club at an elite academy catering to the daughters of the rich and famous?

Gukoroku – Traces of Sin

gukouroku stillA young reporter (Satoshi Tsumabuki) investigates the brutal murder of a model family whilst trying to support his younger sister (Hikari Mitsushima) who is currently in prison for child neglect while his nephew remains in critical condition in hospital. Interviewing friends and acquaintances of the deceased, disturbing truths emerge concerning the systemic evils of social inequality. Review.

Screenwriter Kosuke Mukai will be present for a Q&A following screenings at the ICA, Watershed Bristol, and MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling. 

Initiation Love

initiation love still 1Based on a best selling romantic novel which captured the hearts of readers across Japan, Initiation Love sets out to expose the dark and disturbing underbelly of real life romance by completely reversing everything you’ve just seen in a gigantic twist five minutes before the film ends…

Japanese Girls Never Die

Japanese Girls Never DieA young woman goes missing and unwittingly becomes the face of a social movement in Daigo Matsui’s anarchic examination of a misogynistic society.

Joy of Man’s Desiring

joy of man's desiringA brother and sister are orphaned after a natural disaster and taken in by relatives but struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of such great loss.

The Long Excuse

the long excuse stillMiwa Nishikawa adapts her own novel in which a self-centred novelist is forced to face his own delusions when his wife is killed in a freak bus accident. Review.

Actor Masahiro Motoki will be present for a Q&A following the screening at London’s ICA.

Memoirs of a Murderer

Memoirs of a Murderer still 1When the statute of limitations passes on a series of unsolved murders, a mysterious man (Tatsuya Fujiwara) suddenly comes forward and confesses while the detective (Hideaki Ito) who is still haunted by his inability to catch the killer has his doubts in Yu Irie’s adaptation of Jung Byoung-Gil’s Korean crime thriller Confession of Murder.

Director Yu Irie will be present for a Q&A following screenings at Showroom Sheffield, Broadway Nottingham, and Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast. He will also be visiting London for a special event on March 24 (full details TBC).

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji

mole song stillToma Ikuta stars as maverick cop Reiji in Takashi Miike’s madcap manga adaptation. Reiji has been kicked off the force for trying to arrest a councillor who was molesting a teenage girl but gets secretly rehired to go undercover in Japan’s best known yakuza conglomerate.

MUMON: The Land of Stealth

mumon stillYoshihiro Nakamura (Snow White Murder Case, Golden Slumber) journeys back to the feudal era as a lazy ninja faces the twin pressures of Oda Nobunaga and his newly wedded wife’s material concerns.

Room for Let

room for let dvd coverYuzo Kawashima would have turned 100 in 2018. A comic tale of life on the Osakan margins, Room For Let is a perfect example of the director’s well known talent for satire and stars popular comedian Frankie Sakai as an eccentric writer/translator-cum-konnyaku-maker whose life is turned upside down when a pretty young potter moves into the building.

Oh Lucy!

oh lucy still 2Embittered 55 year old OL Setsuko gets a new lease on life when introduced to an unusual English conversation teacher, John, who gives her a blonde wig and rechristens her Lucy. “Lucy” falls head over heels for the American stranger and decides to follow him all the way to the states… Review.

Sing My Life

sing-my-life-horizontal.jpgA remake of Korean hit Miss Granny, Sing My Life stars Mitsuko Baisho as an evil granny who gets a second chance to experience the happiness of which she was cruelly robbed in her youth when she’s magically transformed into her 20 year old self (Mikako Tabe) and ends up becoming the lead singer in her grandson’s rock band!

Sword of the Stranger

sword of the stranger still 1A small boy recruits the mysterious samurai “No Name” as a bodyguard after his dog is injured in an ambush in the landmark animation from 2007.

Where I Belong

Where I belong landscape posterA no good lowlife makes his way by stealing from elderly women but experiences a change of heart when he’s taken in by a kindly old lady deep in the mountains.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme runs at London’s ICA from 2nd – 11th February, 2018 before touring to:

You can keep up with all the latest news via the Japan Foundation’s official website, Twitter Account, and Facebook Page.

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