BFI Japan 2021 to Celebrate More Than 100 Years of Japanese Cinema

The Olympics may be over, but BFI’s long-awaited Japan season finally makes its way to the big screen this October with a vast programme spanning a century of cinema from early masterpiece Souls on the Road right up to a preview of Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s recent festival favourite Drive My Car.

Screening between 18 October and 30 November

Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)

EXTENDED RUN FROM FRI 29 OCT

Classic jidaigeki gets a post-war twist as a collection of down on their luck wandering samurai come to the rescue of peasants beset by bandits.

Also available on BFI Player

Souls on the Road (Minoru Murata, 1921)

FRI 22 OCT 18:00 NFT2 / SAT 30 OCT 15:30 NFT2

A landmark of early Japanese cinema directed by and starring Minoru Murata, Souls on the Road draws inspiration both from Gorky’s The Lower Depths and German novel Mutter Landstrasse, das Ende einer Jugend by Wilhelm August Schmidtbonn featuring four interconnected tales of mercy and and its absence. Review.

A Page of Madness (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926)

SAT 23 OCT 13:00 NFT2 / MON 15 NOV 20:50 NFT3

Teinosuke Kinugasa’s avant-garde masterpiece inspired by a story by Yasunari Kuwabata set in a rural psychiatric institution where a janitor attempts to secretly care for the wife his abuse drove into madness.

I Was Born, But… (Yasujiro Ozu, 1932)

SAT 23 OCT 15:00 NFT2 / SUN 28 NOV 14:45 NFT1

Early silent classic from Yasujiro Ozu in which the faith of two young boys in their salaryman dad is shaken when they spot him humiliating himself for his boss’ benefit. Review.

Also available on BFI Player

Our Neighbour, Miss Yae (Yasujiro Shimazu, 1934) + intro by season co-programmer Alex Jacoby*

SUN 24 OCT 12:40 NFT2 / MON 1 NOV 18:15 NFT2*

Cheerful talkie from Yasujiro Shimazu centring on the close relationship between two suburban families which is disrupted first by the unexpected return of a married daughter and then by the spectre of political destabilisation. Review.

Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)

SUN 24 OCT 18:10 NFT2 / TUE 2 NOV 20:45 NFT2

The final film from Sadao Yamanaka who sadly died a year later on the Manchurian front after losing his military exemption, Humanity and Paper Balloons chronicles everyday despair in an impoverished street in Edo. Review.

Fallen Blossoms (Tamizo Ishida, 1938) + intro by Japanese film scholar Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernández*

SUN 31 OCT 13:00 NFT3 / WED 3 NOV 18:20 NFT2*

Based on a play by Kaoru Morimoto, Tamizo Ishida’s all-female drama situates itself in a Kyoto geisha house during the Boshin War.

The Life of Matsu the Untamed (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1943)

TUE 26 OCT 20:40 NFT2 / SUN 7 NOV 11:40 NFT2

Director Hiroshi Inagaki later remade this film as The Rickshaw Man in 1958 starring Toshiro Mifune and Hideko Takamine. Nevertheless this original take on the life of an impoverished rickshaw driver who becomes a surrogate parent to a fatherless little boy is often regarded as the better of the two.

Children of the Beehive (Hiroshi Shimizu, 1948) + intro by season co-programmer Alex Jacoby*

MON 25 OCT 20:45 NFT1* / MON 8 NOV 18:10 NFT2

Closely associated with the cinema of children, Hiroshi Shimizu’s post-war independent film follows a series of war orphans and the demobbed soldier guiding them towards a new Japan. Review.

My Love Has Been Burning (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1949)

FRI 5 NOV 18:30 NFT2 / MON 15 NOV 17:40 NFT1

The third in Mizoguchi’s series of films focussing on female emancipation, My Love Has Been Burning stars Kinuyo Tanaka in a biopic of Meiji-era feminist Eiko Hirayama. Review.

Early Summer (Yasujiro Ozu, 1951) + intro by Professor Alastair Phillips, University of Warwick*

MON 18 OCT 14:30 NFT3 / TUE 19 OCT 20:35 STUDIO / WED 20 OCT 17:50 NFT3 / THU 4 NOV 18:00 NFT2 / THU 18 NOV 20:30 NFT3* / SUN 21 NOV 11:30 NFT1

Second in the “Noriko Trilogy”, Early Summer stars Setsuko Hara as a woman who resists arranged marriage but scandalises her family when she accepts a proposal from the mother of the widower living next-door.

Also available on BFI Player

The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice (Yasujiro Ozu, 1952) 

MON 18 OCT 18:10 NFT2 / WED 20 OCT 20:40 NFT2 / THU 21 OCT 14:40 STUDIO / MON 8 NOV 14:30 NFT2 / TUE 23 NOV 14:30 NFT3

Marital crisis in the younger generation provokes an epiphany in the life of an unhappily married woman in Ozu’s wry exploration of the meaning of wedded bliss. Review.

Also available on BFI Player

Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)

MON 18 OCT 20:20 NFT3 / THU 21 OCT 14:30 NFT1 / SAT 13 NOV 14:10 NFT1 /TUE 30 NOV 14:00 NFT3

Post-war classic in which an old couple from the country make a rare trip to the city to see their grown up children but are disappointed to discover that they don’t have much time for them.

Also available on BFI Player 

Love Letter (Kinuyo Tanaka, 1953) + intro by Irene González-López, co-editor of ‘Tanaka Kinuyo: Nation, Stardom and Female Subjectivity’*

SAT 6 NOV 12:30 NFT2 / SUN 21 NOV 14:40 NFT1*

Landmark directorial debut from actress Kinuyo Tanaka scripted by Keisuke Kinoshita and starring Masayuki Mori as an embittered war veteran making a living writing letters on behalf of illiterate women to the GIs who left them behind while fixating on the supposed betrayal of his first love (Yoshiko Kuga) who married someone else and later became the mistress of an American soldier. Review.

An Inn at Osaka (Heinosuke Gosho, 1954) + pre-recorded intro by Professor Hiroshi Kitamura, College of William & Mary

SAT 6 NOV 15:30 NFT2 / SUN 21 NOV 18:00 NFT1

A demoted salaryman begins to find a new sense of solidarity with his fellow humans while staying in a bustling Osaka boarding house in a characteristically bittersweet drama from Heinosuke Gosho. Review.

Godzilla (Ishiro Honda, 1954)

SUN 7 NOV 16:20 NFT3 / TUE 23 NOV 20:40 NFT2

Ishiro Honda’s landmark monster movie needs no introduction, advancing a strong anti-nuclear message as a giant sea lizard is awoken from its slumber by human violence and goes on a grumpy rampage through contemporary Tokyo.

Sansho Dayu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)

MON 8 NOV 20:40 NFT1 / SUN 28 NOV 18:20 NFT1

Mizoguchi’s Heian-era tale follows two aristocratic children who are captured by bandits and sold into slavery while trying to unite with their exiled father.

Marital Relations (Shiro Toyoda, 1955) + pre-recorded intro by Professor Hideaki Fujiki, Nagoya University 

SUN 7 NOV 18:20 NFT2 / THU 25 NOV 18:00 NFT2

Adaptation of the novel by Sakunosuke Oda in which the married son of a wealthy family (Hisaya Morishige) takes up with a geisha (Chikage Awashima) but struggles to adapt to his life without money or status. Review.

She was Like a Wild Chrysanthemum (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1955)

TUE 9 NOV 18:20 NFT2 / TUE 30 NOV 20:40 NFT1

An old man meditates on lost love on visiting his rural hometown in Kinoshita’s tale of heartbreak and social rigidity. Review.

Early Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1956)

TUE 19 OCT 14:30 NFT2 / WED 20 OCT 20:15 STUDIO / THU 21 OCT 17:40 NFT2 / SAT 20 NOV 15:20 NFT3 / TUE 23 NOV 17:40 NFT2

An example of a darker Ozu, Early Spring finds the relationship between a young couple (Ryo Ikebe & Chikage Awashima) strained by the duplicities of the salaryman dream as the husband is drawn into an affair with a woman at the office (Keiko Kishi).

Also available on BFI Player

Night Drum (Tadashi Imai, 1958)

WED 10 NOV 20:50 NFT2 / TUE 16 NOV 18:15 NFT2

The life of a loyal retainer (Rentaro Mikuni) is thrown into chaos by rumours that his wife (Ineko Arima) has betrayed him with a travelling musician (Masayuki Mori) in Tadashi Imai’s tense social drama co-scripted by Kaneto Shindo & Shinobu Hashimoto. Review.

Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957) + Inside Cinema: Akira Kurosawa*

MON 18 OCT 20:35 STUDIO / TUE 19 OCT 18:10 NFT1 / THU 21 OCT 20:45 NFT1 / WED 27 OCT 20:30 NFT2* / FRI 12 NOV 14:15 NFT3* / SAT 27 NOV 20:45 NFT1

Akira Kurosawa’s take on Macbeth starring Toshiro Mifune as the ambitious lord and Isuzu Yamada as his steely wife.

Also available on BFI Player

Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961) + Inside Cinema: Akira Kurosawa*

TUE 19 OCT 20:45 NFT1 / THU 21 OCT 17:50 STUDIO / FRI 19 NOV 14:30 NFT1* / SUN 28 NOV 12:00 NFT1*

Toshiro Mifune stars as a wandering ronin finding himself in the middle of a turf war.

Also available on BFI Player.

Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962)

WED 10 NOV 17:45 NFT2 / TUE 16 NOV 20:30 NFT2

Powerful drama decrying samurai hypocrisy starring Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin who requests permission to commit seppuku in the courtyard of a lord as an act of revenge for the forced suicide of his adopted son.

Elegant Beast (Yuzo Kawashima, 1962) + pre-recorded intro by Professor Yuka Kanno, Stanford University

WED 17 NOV 20:50 NFT3 / SAT 27 NOV 18:10 NFT1

Dark, claustrophobic farce from Yuzo Kawashima in which a family of dubious morality is outsmarted by a sophisticated schemer (Ayako Wakao). Review.

An Actor’s Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, 1963) + intro by Jennifer Coates, The University of Sheffield*

WED 20 OCT 14:15 NFT1 / THU 11 NOV 20:40 NFT3 / SAT 20 NOV 12:40 NFT3

Kazuo Hasegawa returns to the role of Yukinojo in Kon Ichikawa’s remake of the classic tale as a successful onnagata attempts to take revenge for the deaths of his parents. Review.

Yearning (Mikio Naruse, 1964)

FRI 12 NOV 18:20 NFT2 / SUN 14 NOV 18:20 NFT3 / FRI 26 NOV 21:00 NFT1

Melodrama scripted by Zenzo Matsuyama and starring Hideko Takamine as a war widow who patiently rebuilt and maintained her husband’s family grocery shop for 18 years only for her sister-in-laws to force her out in order to turn it into a supermarket, while her much younger brother-in-law suddenly confesses his lifelong love.

Tokyo Olympiad (Kon Ichikawa, 1964 )

SAT 20 NOV 16:40 NFT2 / WED 24 NOV 18:30 NFT2

Kon Ichikawa’s documentary capture of the 1964 Olympics.

Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964)

FRI 19 NOV 20:50 NFT2 / TUE 30 NOV 18:00 NFT1

An old woman (Nobuko Otowa) finds herself sinking to depths of inhuman depravity in a desperate need to survive in Kaneto Shindo’s grim fable of feudal Japan. Review.

Also available on BFI Player 

J-HORROR WEEKENDER

Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998) 

FRI 29 OCT 18:10 NFT2

A single-mother (Nanako Matsushima) begins investigating claims that teenagers are dying seven days after watching a creepy VHS tape in Hideo Nakata’s seminal piece of J-horror adapting the novel by Koji Suzuki.

Also available on BFI Player 

Dark Water (Hideo Nakata, 2002)

FRI 29 OCT 20:30 NFT2

A woman in the midst of a divorce and custody battle is haunted by the spectre of a lonely child in Hideo Nakata’s adaptation of the Koji Suzuki novel. Review.

Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997) 

SAT 30 OCT 18:00 NFT2

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s noirish horror starring Koji Yakusho as a detective investigating a series of bizarre murders.

Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)

SAT 30 OCT 20:40 NFT2

Death is eternal loneliness in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s tech-fearing horror classic starring Kumiko Aso as a young woman investigating the suicide of a close friend. Review.

Also available on BFI Player 

Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999) 

SUN 31 OCT 15:20 NFT3

Takashi Miike’s deceptive drama begins as a gentle romcom before edging slowly towards the horrific as a widower (Ryo Ishibashi) takes his his friend’s advice and sets up a fake audition to find the perfect wife but ends up finding something quite different.

Also available on BFI Player

Ichi the Killer (Takashi Miike, 2001) 

SUN 31 OCT 18:00 NFT3

Takashi Miike’s adaptation of the manga by Hideo Yamamoto in which a sadistic yakuza footsoldier (Tadanobu Asano) pursues a repressed psychopathic killer (Nao Omori).

Preview: Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021) 

MON 15 NOV 19:40 NFT1

A stage actor and director (Hidetoshi Nishijima) attempting to come to terms with the death of his unfaithful wife casts her lover in his upcoming multi-lingual production of Uncle Vanya while developing a relationship with the reticent young woman driving his car in Hamaguchi’s adaptation of the Haruki Murakami short story.

Screening between 1 and 31 December

(Exact screening dates TBC)

Woman of the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)

A bug collector (Eiji Okada) eventually comes to appreciate his new life of simplicity after being trapped in a hole in the sand with a mysterious woman (Kyoko Kishida) in Teshigahara’s adaptation of the Kobo Abe novel.

Also available on BFI Player

Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)

Visually striking noir from Masahiro Shinoda starring Ryo Ikebe as a recently released yakuza who enters a destructive relationship with a female gambler (Mariko Kaga).

A Fugitive From the Past (Tomu Uchida, 1965)

A fugitive murderer (Rentaro Mikuni) attempts to forge a new identity for himself in the post-war society but discovers the past is not so easily buried in a late career masterpiece from Tomu Uchida. Review.

Tokyo Drifter (Seijun Suzuki, 1966)

Visually striking, surreal yakuza movie from Seijun Suzuki starring Tetsuya Watari as a yakuza targeted by a rival outfit after his own gang is disbanded.

Woman of the Lake (Kiju Yoshida, 1966)

Yoshishige (Kiju) Yoshida’s adaptation of Yasunari Kawabata’s The Lake starring Mariko Okada as an adulterous woman blackmailed by a third party over nude photos taken by her lover.

Silence Has No Wings (Kazuo Kuroki, 1966)

The first feature from continually underrepresented director Kazuo Kuroki, Silence Has No Wings follows a caterpillar from Nagasaki to Hokkaido.

Death By Hanging (Nagisa Oshima, 1968)

Brechtian drama from Nagisa Oshima in which a Korean student is hanged but survives having lost his memory. Unsure of the ethics of re-executing a man who cannot acknowledge his crimes because he does not remember them, the prison staff proceed to act them out.

Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969)

Toshio Matsumoto repurposes Oedipus Rex to explore the impossibilities of true authenticity in an anarchic voyage through late ’60s counterculture Shinjuku. Review.

Shinobugawa (Kei Kumai, 1972)

Two dejected youngsters (Go Kato & Komaki Kurihara) find new strength to embrace post-war freedom in the power of loving and being loved in Kei Kumai’s delicate romance. Review.

In The Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976)

Inspired by the notorious story of Sada Abe, Oshima’s controversial drama sees two lovers retreat from an increasingly authoritarian society into a private world of self-destructive eroticism.

The Demon (Yoshitaro Nomura, 1978)

A single-mother (Mayumi Ogawa) leaves her three children with their married father (Ken Ogata) when he stops supporting them financially but his wife (Shima Iwashita) is far from happy about the situation in Yoshitaro Nomura’s shocking psychological drama adapted from the novel by Seicho Matsumoto.

The Man Who Stole the Sun (Kazuhiko Hasegawa, 1979)

(C) Toho 1979

’70s pop icon Kenji Sawada stars as a nerdy high school science teacher belittled by his students and the wider society around him but plotting revenge by building a mini atom bomb in his apartment. Review.

Muddy River (Kohei Oguri, 1981)

Two children living by the river in post-war Osaka become friends but their innocent connection is disrupted by the muddiness of life in Kohei Oguri’s moving drama.

Fire Festival (Mitsuo Yanagimachi, 1985) 

A stubborn lumberjack’s refusal to sell his land to developers set on building a marine park sets him at odds with his community culminating in a fiery act of violence in Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s ’80s indie drama.

Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

Juzo Itami’s comedy classic starring his wife Nobuko Miyamoto as the titular Tampopo, a recent widow struggling to run a small ramen bar eventually rescued by Tsutomu Yamazaki’s wandering truck driver ramen master. Review.

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Kazuo Hara, 1987)

Kazuo Hara’s landmark documentary following confrontational Pacific War veteran Kenzo Okuzaki. Review.

Also available on BFI Player

Black Rain (Shohei Imamura, 1989)

Drama centring on the survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A young woman living with her uncle and aunt finds her marriage prospects all but ruined because of her presence in the city when the bomb was dropped but later bonds with a young man suffering from wartime PTSD.

Moving (Shinji Somai, 1993) 

Shinji Somai’s moving youth drama in which a young girl (Tomoko Tabata) struggles to come to terms with her parents’ impending divorce.

Love Letter (Shunji Iwai, 1995)

Much loved ’90s romantic melodrama from Shunji Iwai starring pop star Miho Nakayama in dual roles as a young woman struggling to move on after the sudden death of her fiancée, and an old classmate of his who happened to share the same name.

Shall We Dance (Masayuki Suo, 1996)

An unexpected ’90s international hit later remade in Hollywood, Shall We Dance? stars Koji Yakusho as a dejected middle-aged man having achieved the salaryman dream but found it unfulfilling discovering a new lease on life after taking up ballroom dancing.

Suzaku (Naomi Kawase, 1997)

Naomi Kawase’s fictional feature debut follows the disintegration of a small family after a railway threatens their rural way of life.

After Life (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 1998)

Hirokazu Kore-eda ponders the meaning of life as the recently deceased are invited to re-create their favourite memory as film before moving on. Review.

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

A triptych of romantic tales from Ryusuke Hamaguchi in which a young woman realises her friend is unwittingly dating her ex, a student attempts to seduce a professor, and two women connect through an instance of mistaken identity.

SCREENING AT BFI IMAX: Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)

Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal anime adaptation of his own manga is set in a dystopian Tokyo of 2019 in which a delinquent biker ends up with superpowers after crashing into a recently released test subject from a government lab.

Battle Royale (Kinji Fukusaku, 2000)

A group of teens is sent to an island where they are told to kill each other off until there is only one survivor in this zeitgeisty adaptation of the cult novel by Koushun Takami which would become the final film directed by Battles Without Honour and Humanity’s Kinji Fukasaku.

Also available on BFI Player 

Talks

BFI Japan runs October to December 2021 at BFI Southbank and selected partners across the country. For the full details on this and other BFI seasons be sure to check out the BFI’s website where you can also find a link to BFI Player. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following the BFI on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Queer East Announces Lineup for Hybrid 2020 Edition

Queer East returns for 2020 with a revised hybrid edition online and in cinemas from late October into early 2021! In addition to the previously announced programme much of which remains, the festival will also be teaming up with Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh for UK premieres of two recent Taiwanese LGBTQ+ movies, as well as Iris Prize Festival, and Barbican On Demand, while there will also be a selection of cinema screenings across the UK.

Blue Gate Crossing (35mm)

22 October | Genesis Cinema

Taiwanese classic from Yee Chih-yen starring Gwei Lun-mei and Chen Bo-lin as high school students pursuing conflicting romantic destinies.

Alifu, the Prince/ss

25 October | Genesis Cinema

Empathetic drama in which a transgender woman from an indigenous community finds herself caught between conflicting cultural mores. Review.

Between the Seasons (UK Premiere)

9 – 31 October 2020| Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival | Online

Hae-soo moves to a new city and opens a cafe where high schooler Ye-jin becomes a regular and eventually starts working. The two women draw closer but each have closely guarded secrets. Review.

The Teacher (UK Premiere)

10 – 31 October 2020| Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival | Online

A teacher’s personal and professional lives are destabilised by his support for equal marriage and relationship with a closeted, HIV+ older man. Review.

Sisterhood (UK Premiere)

23 October – 5 November 2020 | Barbican Cinema on Demand | Online

A woman returns to Macau after 15 years in Taiwan and begins reconsidering her relationship with her best friend, realising the emotions she felt for her may have been romantic in Tracy Choi’s subtly political melodrama.

Song Lang

23 October – 5 November 2020 | Barbican Cinema on Demand | Online

Beautifully tragic romance set in ’80s Saigon in which a conflicted street punk falls in love with a Cai Luong opera singer. Review.

Turning 18 

Tuesday 3 November 2020 | Riverside Studios

Thursday 26 November 2020 | HOME Manchester

Documentary following the lives of two indigenous Taiwanese girls who meet on a vocational training programme and each experience difficult family circumstances.

Funeral Parade of Roses

6 November | Catford Mews

Toshio Matsumoto repurposes Oedipus Rex to explore the impossibilities of true authenticity in an anarchic voyage through late ’60s counterculture Shinjuku. Review.

Looking For? (UK Premiere)

7 November | Catford Mews

Documentary exploring questions of intimacy in contemporary gay life interviewing men from Taipei, Beijing, New York and London to find out what it is they’re looking for.

Tracey

8 November | Riverside Studios

50-something Tai-hung is a married father of two grown-up children living a conventional life in contemporary Hong Kong, but a phone call informing him that a childhood friend has passed away forces him into a reconsideration of his life choices and a long delayed acceptance of a transgender identity in Li Jun’s moving drama. Review.

Memories of My Body (UK Premiere)

23 November 2020 | HOME Manchester

19 January 2021| Barbican Centre

A Lengger dancer looks back on his life as a tale of growing acceptance of sensuality lived against a turbulent political backdrop. Review

A Dog Barking at the Moon

November 2020 (TBC) | Curzon Goldsmiths

An expectant mother is forced to confront the idea of family while staying with her emotionally estranged parents in Xiang Zi’s melancholy indie drama. Review.

The Shepherds (UK Premiere)

30th October to 5th November | Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh | Online

Documentary focussing on a series of pastors advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ Christians in Taiwan often at great personal cost.

Nobody (UK Premiere)

30th October to 5th November | Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh | Online

A lonely teenage girl processing the bourgeois hypocrisies of her upper-class family bonds with a mysterious old man with secrets of his own in Lin Chun-hua’s moving drama. Review.

Queer Japan

November 2020 (TBC)

Graham Kolbeins’ documentary exploring LGBTQ+ life in contemporary Japan including contributions from mangaka Gengoroh Tagame (My Brother’s Husband), drag queen Vivienne Sato, and Aya Kamikawa who recounts her path to becoming the first transgender elected official in Japan.

Girlfriend Boyfriend

November 2020 (TBC)

Yang Ya-che’s modern classic in which the friendship between three young people fighting for democracy at the tail end of the Martial Law era is tested by their conflicting feelings for each other.

Spider Lilies

November 2020 (TBC)

Zero Chou’s lesbian classic in which a web-cam girl visits a tattooist’s studio and becomes obsessed with the spider lily tattoo on her arm. Hoping to get to know her better, she asks her to give her the same tattoo but the experience reawakens memories which threaten to force the two women apart.

The Wedding Banquet

November 2020 (TBC)

Ang Lee’s 1993 Asian-American classic in which a gay Taiwanese New Yorker agrees to participate in a green card marriage to a Chinese artist to get his nagging parents off his back.

Lilting

Early 2021 (TBC)

A man tries to connect with the mother of his late partner who speaks only Cambodian-Chinese and remained unaware of her son’s sexuality in Hong Khaou’s deeply moving debut feature.

Malila: The Farewell Flower

Early 2021 (TBC)

Reeling from tragic loss, a young man reunites with the love of his youth only to discover he has terminal lung cancer and has chosen to forgo all treatment in Anucha Boonyawatana’s melancholy meditation on love, life, and transience. Review.

Queer East 2020 runs online and in cinemas October 2020 to January 2021. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links can be found on the official website, while you can also keep up with all the latest news by following Queer East on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

London Korean Film Festival 2018: Documentary Fortnight

Another World We Are Making

The London Korean Film Festival has always made a space for documentary in its packed out programme but for this year’s edition they’ve decided to go a little further and give it a spotlight of its own with two weekends dedicated to the art. On August 11/12, and 18/19, six short and feature lengths films will be screened with directors Kim Dong-won and Song Yun-hyeok making an appearance to present their work.

11th August – Birkbeck Cinema

11.30am: A Slice Room

slice room still 1

Song Yun-hyeok examines the social reality behind the prosperous facade of contemporary Korean society through the lives of those living in “slice rooms”. Director Song Yun-hyeok will also be in conversation with Nam In Young following the screening.

2.30pm: The Sanggyedong Olympics / The 6 Day Struggle at the Myeongdong

6 day struggle

Kim Dong-won’s 1988 documentary Sanggyedong Olympics follows the resistance movement towards urban regeneration amongst a community north of Seoul who had been unfairly evicted from their homes without proper compensation or adequate time to find new accommodation. Kim planned to stay only one day but ended up living amongst the community for three years.

The 6 Day Struggle at the Myeongdong Cathedral, completed during 1996-7, looks back at the pivotal 1987 sit-in which became a catalyst for the June democracy movement.

Following the two short docs, Kim Dong-won will also be in conversation with Nam In Young.

12th August – Birkbeck Cinema 

1.30pm: Repatriation 

repatriation still 1

In what many consider his masterpiece, Kim Dong-won examines the lives of the “unconverted” – North Korean “spies” who refuse to renounce their communist beliefs despite longterm imprisonment in the South. Refused the possibility of returning to the North on release, most were left without support in South Korea facing economic hardship and social stigma, dependent on solidarity networks to help them integrate into society. Kim follows two such men over a decade as they try to rebuild their lives in the fluctuating political climate of the ’90s.

The film will be followed by a conversation with Kim Dong-won chaired by Chris Berry.

4.45pm: Roundtable 

A roundtable panel discussion chaired by Professor Chris Berry discussing the Korean independent documentary scene from the late ’80s to the present. Nam In Young of Dongseo University will provide an overview of filmmaking collectives within the sociopolitical history of South Korea while directors Kim Dong-won and Song Yun-hyeok will be on hand to offer their personal experiences.

18th August – Korean Cultural Centre

3pm: Soseongri 

SKOREA-FILM-DIPLOMACY-DEFENCEPark Bae-il’s Soseongri follows a community of elderly farmers facing rural depopulation problems who find themselves in conflict with the police when the decision is taken to place the THAAD anti-aircraft system in their village.

19th August – Korean Cultural Centre

3pm: Jung Il-woo, My Friend 

Jung Il-woo, My Friend 

Kim Dong-won’s most recent film pays tribute to North American Jesuit priest, Jung Il-woo, who dedicated his life to improving the lives of the poor in South Korea.

All the events are free to attend but tickets must be booked in advance via the links above. Full details for all the films are available via the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s  TwitterFacebookFlickrInstagram and YouTube channels

Summer Explorers! 2018 – Japan Foundation London Free Screening Series Returns Aug. 12&18

summer explorers

Following their announcement of a “Pre-Summer Explorers” series of free film screenings, The Japan Foundation London has now announced the main event which will take place on 12th and 18th of August at the Courthouse Hotel and Regent Street Cinemas.

Sunday 12th August, Courthouse Hotel Cinema

2pm / 6.40pm – His Master’s Voice

HIs Master's Voice still 1

A lowly rakugoka forced to give up his dreams returns home only to discover a new purpose through teaching rakugo to a sad little boy.

4.15pm – Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni's Island still 1Heart rending animation inspired by Kenji Miyazawa’s classic Night on the Galactic Railroad. Brothers Junpei and Kanta face the loss of their home when the northern island of Shikotan is reclaimed by Russian troops in the aftermath of the second world war.

Saturday 18th August, Regent Street Cinema

2.30pm – Chieri and Cherry

Chieri and Cherry still 1Charming puppet animation in which Chieri, who has recently lost her father, develops an intense bond with her stuffed toy, Cherry. Travelling to her grandmother’s house for her father’s funeral, Chieri experiences a fantastic adventure which helps her to cope with grief and fear of the future.

3.50pm – Cat Samurai

cat samurai still 1

A mercenary ronin accepts a commission from dog loving yakuza to wipe out the chief pet of a cat loving clan but on being faced with the adorable creature cannot go through with it!

5.50pm – Oshin

Oshin still1

Retelling of the classic ’80s TV drama covering Oshin’s difficult childhood. 7-year-old Oshin is sold away from her poor family and sent to work in a lumber shop where she experiences cruel injustices, finally being falsely accused of stealing. Running away, Oshin ends up in the mountains living with a kind old man and a deserter from the army who begins to teach her how to read and write.

All the screenings are free to attend but must be booked in advance. You can find more information about the screening series on the Japan Foundation’s official website and eflyer and you can keep up with all the latest news via their Twitter Account and Facebook page.

Pre-Summer Explorers – Japan Foundation London’s Free Screening Series Returns

summer explorers

Japan Foundation London is back for an additional slice of seasonal fun with another series of free film screenings taking place on 4, 5, and 11th August. All the screenings are free to attend but must be booked in advance.

4th August, Soho Hotel Cinema

5.15pm : NHK WORLD-JAPAN Double Bill (Part 1)

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Two NHK documentaries focussing on traditional subjects. A Tale of Love & Honour: Life in Gion takes a look at the fiercely traditional world of Kyoto’s tea house society, while Living Ninja Legend Masaaki Hatsumi explores the life of an 84-year-old ninja master.

House 

House still 1.jpg

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s famed psychedlic musical horror comedy in which a group of young women decide to take a trip to the country only to find themselves besieged by man eating pianos and creepy cats!

5th August, Courthouse Hotel Cinema

2.15pm: Summer Wars

Summer Wars still 1

Mamoru Hosoda’s breakthrough feature follows the summer adventures of maths genius and moderator of online world Oz Kenji Koiso as he is unexpectedly invited on a trip with his crush, Natsuki, only to be expected to play the part of her fake fiancé whilst also dealing with a vast internet-based conspiracy.

4.30pm: NHK WORLD-JAPAN Double Bill (Part 2)

telephone of the wind

Another two NHK docs: My Small Steps from Hiroshima tells the story of  anti-nuclear campaigner Kaoru Ogura, while The Phone of the Wind: Whispers to Lost Families looks at the disconnected telephone which bereaved families use to call their loved ones lost in the 2011 tsunami.

6.40pm: Kikujiro

Kikujiro still 1A summery treat indeed – Takeshi Kitano’s whimsical gem sees a grumpy middle-aged man forced to take a lonely little boy on a roadtrip to track down his long absent mum whilst also dealing with his own complicated family legacies. Review.

11th August, Soho Hotel Cinema

2.15pm: Only Yesterday 

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A disillusioned young woman from Tokyo decides to take a trip to the country and finds herself meditating on her past selves in an underseen gem from the late Isao Takahata.

4.40pm: Napping Princess 

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Sleepy high schooler Kokone should be focussing on her university entrance exams or making the most of her last summer holiday but finds herself becoming increasingly entrenched in the strange goings on in her dreamland. Kenji Kamiyama makes his first foray into family animation with this charming coming of tale. Review.

7pm: Mitsuko Delivers

Mitsuko delivers horizontal posterMitsuko, a cheerful woman who likes to help people, has returned to Japan pregnant, broke, and alone after being abandoned by her American boyfriend. Going where the wind blows her, Mitsuko ends up returning to her home town and letting it all hang out while she solves everyone else’s problems in one of Yuya Ishii’s early whimsical comedies.

All the screenings are free to attend but must be booked in advance. On 11th August The Japan Foundation will also be running a brief Japanese language taster session from 3.30 – 6.30pm at Soho Hotel Cinema. You can find more information about the screening series on the Japan Foundation’s official website and eflyer and you can keep up with all the latest news via their Twitter Account and Facebook page.

Korean Film Nights 2018: Korean Novels On Screen

Kim Ki-young earth posterAfter a brief pause, the Korean Cultural Centre London is set to resume its series of free film screenings with a brand new strand celebrating literary adaptations. Running from March to June, Korean Film Nights 2018: Korean Novels on Screen will showcase a diverse selection of films inspired by books from the “literary films” of the golden age to the recent hits of today.

29th March – Earth 

Earth-02Housemaid director Kim Ki-young adapts Yi Kwang-su’s 1932 novel of resistance in which a poor boy studies law in Seoul and marries the daughter of the landowner he once served only to decide to return and help his home village suffering under Japanese oppression.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 16th April, 7pm.

12th April – The Descendants of Cain

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Yu Hyun-mok (Aimless Bullet) adapts Hwang Sun-won’s autobiographical anti-communist novel in which a struggle over the means of production plays out against an impossible love story between the estranged wife of a communist agitator and the noble hearted founder of the school the communists have commandeered as their base.

26th April – White Badge

White Badge still 1Directed by Chung Ji-young, White Badge adapts Anh Junghyo’s autobiographical Vietnam novel in which a traumatised writer (played by Ahn Sung-ki) is forced to address his wartime past when an old comrade comes back into his life.

10th May – A Petal

a petal horizontalAdapting the novel by Choe Yun, Jang Sun-woo examines the legacy of the Gwangju Massacre through the story of a little girl who refuses to leave the side of a vulgar and violent man no matter how poorly he treats her.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 22nd May, 7pm.

24th May – The Old Garden

the old garden still 1Adapted from a novel by writer and activist Hwang Sok-young, Im Sang-soo’s The Old Garden follows an activist released from prison after 17 years who cannot forget the memory of a woman who helped him when he was a fugitive in the mountains.

7th June – The Unfair

The unfair horizontalThe debut feature from Kim Sung-je, the Unfair is an adaptation of Son Aram’s courtroom thriller which draws inspiration from the Yongsan Tragedy in which residents protesting redevelopment were forcibly evicted and several lives were lost including one of a police officer.

Also screening at Deptford Cinema, 19th June, 7pm.

28th June – My Brilliant Life + Q&A with author Kim Ae-ran

my brilliant life still 1An adaptation of the novel by Kim Ae-ran who will also be present for a Q&A, E J-yong’s My Brilliant Life stars Gang Dong-won and Song Hye-kyo as teenage parents raising a son who turns out to have a rare genetic condition which causes rapid ageing.

All of the screenings take place at the Korean Cultural Centre at 7pm and are free to attend but must be booked in advance via the links above. You can keep up to date with all the latest screening news via the Korean Cultural Centre and London Korean Film Festival websites and be sure to follow the festival on Twitter, Facebook, FlickrInstagram and YouTube channels for the most up to date information.

Tickets are also now on sale for the first of the 2018 Teaser Screenings for the upcoming London Korean Film Festival – Be With You which takes place at Picturehouse Central on 25th April at 9pm.

Abertoir 2017 to Screen Vampire Clay, Tokyo Ghoul, The Mimic

Abertoir 2017 posterWales’s premier horror festival, Abertoir, returns for 2017 with another varied selection of chillers old and new. This year there are quite a few East Asian titles on offer including festival favourites Mon Mon Mon Monsters, The Sleep Curse, and The Mimic.

Meatball Machine Kodoku

Meatball Machine Kodoku still 1Another addition to the Meatball Machine universe, Kodoku follows a debt collector recently diagnosed with terminal cancer who realises his condition makes him immune to the mind control of invading alien Necroborgs. More splatter action from Yoshihiro Nishimura.

Screening Tuesday 14th November at Midnight.

Mon Mon Mon Monsters

Mon Mon Mon Monsters still 1.jpgA group of horrible kids capture a strange creature and then mercilessly torture it in Giddens Ko’s surprising foray into the world of teen horror.

Screening Wednesday 15th November, 5.30pm.

The Housemaid

The Housemaid (vietname) still 1Set in 1953, Derek Nguyen’s The Housemaid is a classic gothic horror story in which an orphaned Vietnamese country girl, Linh, finds work on a plantation and later love with the owner of the estate, Captain Sebastien Laurent. Resented by the other members of staff, Linh’s world is further shaken by Sebastien’s late wife and some very strange goings on…

Screening Sunday 19th November, 12pm.

The Mimic

The Mimic still 1Hee-yeon moves to a small village near Mt. Jang with her husband after their son goes missing. Bonding with a little girl who seems to be lost herself, Hee-yeon soon becomes embroiled in the strange events occurring around the mountain.

Screening Friday 17th November, 3.45pm

The Sleep Curse

the sleep curse’90s neurologist Lam Sik-ka (Anthony Wong) can’t sleep. Contacted by a fellow insomniac former girlfriend, he begins investigating and finds the answer lies all the way back in the Japanese occupation…

Screening Thursday 16th November, 5pm

Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul still 1.jpgAn adaptation of the manga by Sui Ishida, Tokyo Ghoul is the story of Ken Kaneki who wakes up in hospital to discover he’s been given transplants from a “Ghoul” and is now part Ghoul himself which means he needs to eat human flesh to survive…

Screening Wednesday 15th November, 8pm

Vampire Clay

vampire clay still 1Students at a remote art school start mysteriously disappearing, could the creepy clay statues possibly be to blame?

Screening Wednesday 15th November, 12.15

The Abertoir Film Festival takes place in Aberystwyth from 14 – 19 November, 2017. Passes for the festival (£60) are currently available from Aberystwyth Arts Centre in person or by phone with individual tickets released at a later date.

You can keep up with all the latest Abertoir news via the official website, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, and Flickr.

Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers

©Little More Co.

wild berries posterFollowing the last series of free film screenings which took place over the summer, the Japan Foundation London is back this winter for a season of films dedicated to female filmmakers. Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers features two narrative films and a documentary as well as a panel discussion chaired by Kate Taylor with Jasper Sharp, Alejandra Armendáriz Hernández, and the season’s curator Irene Silvera.

Bare Essence of Life

©Little More Co.Released in 2009, the second feature from Satoko Yokohama stars Kenichi Matsuyama as Yojin – an Aomori farm boy who lives on a slightly different plane of existence to everyone else. When a pretty school teacher (played by Kumiko Aso) arrives from Tokyo, Yojin becomes determined to win her heart, whatever the eventual costs may be!

Screening at Courthouse Cinema on 30th November, 6.30pm.

Death of a Japanese Salesman

ending note still 1.jpgAlso known as Ending Note, Mami Sunada’s documentary follows the last days of her father, a lifelong salaryman who retired aged 67 only to be diagnosed with terminal cancer soon after. Realising that he had only a short time left to live, Sunada began preparing for his death, creating his own bucket list and thinking about the “ending note” (a kind of personal testament) that he would leave behind for his family.

Screening at Courthouse Cinema, 1st December 6.30pm

Wild Berries

wild berries still 1Miwa Nishikawa whose The Long Excuse has been doing the festival rounds this year began her career as a student staff member on Koreeda’s Afterlife before ADing on Yoshimitsu Morita’s Black House and then again for Koreeda on Distance. Released in 2003 and produced by Koreeda, Wild Berries is her debut feature and neatly mixes the influences of both her mentors in an anarchic family drama. The Akechis had been getting along just fine until prodigal son Shuji decided to return bringing a few chickens home to roost with him.

Screening at Rich Mix, 2nd December 12pm

Panel Discussion

©Little More Co.Directly after the screening of Wild Berries, there will be a panel discussion examining the rise of female filmmakers over the last 15 years. Chaired by Kate Taylor – East Asian programmer for the BFI London Film Festival, the panel will also feature film scholar Jasper Sharp (co-founder of Midnight Eye, author of Behind the Pink Curtain), film researcher Alejandra Armendáriz Hernández, and the season’s curator, Irene Silvera.

The Panel Discussion takes place at Rich Mix, 2nd December, 2.30pm.

In conjunction with the series, there will also be a screening of Naoko Ogigami’s Rent-a-Cat as part of the regular free screenings programme at the Japanese Embassy on 22nd November. Tickets are free and can be booked by the usual methods following the instructions on the Embassy’s Filmshow page.

More information can be found on Japan Foundation London’s website – each of the screenings is free to attend but tickets must be booked in advance.

You can also keep up to date with all the latest Japan Foundation events via their official Twitter account and Facebook Page.

Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama

blue sky maiden stillRunning at BFI Southbank through October and November, Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama aims to showcase the changing roles of women in Japanese cinema in the pre-war and post-war eras through a series of films starring some of the best known actresses of the time including Ayako Wakao (who features on the poster in her first role working with director Yasuzo Masumura in Blue Sky Maiden), ’30s megastar and later director Kinuyo Tanaka, Ozu’s muse Setsuko Hara, Rashomon’s Machiko Kiyo, wife and muse of Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida Mariko Okada,  and the iconic Hideko Takamine who began as a child star and went on to work with most of the age’s finest directors.

Season Introduction: Women in Japanese Melodrama

The season will kick off with an introductory lecture on 17th October featuring contributions from Alexander Jacoby and Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernandez who will discuss some of the actresses featured in the season.

Osaka Elegy + Women of the Night

osaka elegyStarring Mizoguchi’s frequent leading lady Isuzu Yamada, Osaka Elegy centres on a switchboard operator who finds herself trapped in a ruinous relationship with her boss in an effort to save her father who has ruined himself through gambling debts.  16mm. Now screening on blu-ray due to poor quality of 16mm print.

women of the night stillWomen of the Night, completed in 1948, will screen along side Osaka Elegy (1936) and stars Kinuyo Tanaka in a tale of two sisters trying to survive in the ruined Osaka one of whom is a war widow and the other dangerously involved with a drugs smuggler. 35mm.

Wedding Ring

(c) Shochiku Co., LtdKinuyo Tanaka also stars in Keisuke Kinoshita’s 1950 melodrama Wedding Ring. Starring opposite Toshiro Mifune, Tanaka plays a housewife who travels back and fore from the seaside, where her sickly husband convalesces, to Tokyo where she runs her family’s jewellery store. A chance encounter with a strapping doctor (Mifune) on a train has unforeseen consequences as the pair grow closer and the husband begins to realise that he cannot provide the happiness his wife is seeking. 35mm.

Clothes of Deception

「偽れる盛装」(C)KADOKAWA1951Clothes of Deception is directed by Kozaburo Yoshimura who was the subject (along with Kaneto Shindo) of the BFI’s previous Japanese director retrospective in 2012 in which the film was also screened. Rashomon’s Machiko Kyo stars opposite Yasuko Fujita as a geisha in Kyoto’s historic Gion district whose life contrasts strongly with that of her sister who works for the tourist board. 35mm.

The Mistress (aka Wild Geese)

toyoda wild geese still 1Shiro Toyoda’s melodrama stars Hideko Takamine as a divorced woman who becomes the mistress of an elderly money lender to support her father but dares to dream of a happier future after falling for a young student. 35mm.

An Inlet of Muddy Water

inlet of muddy water still 2Tadashi Imai’s adaptation of a number of stories by 19th century writer Ichiyo Higuchi came top in Kinema Junpo’s best of list for 1953 and features three stories of women suffering at the hands of men. 35mm.

The Eternal Breasts

eternal breasts still 1Kinuyo Tanaka, one of Japan’s great actresses, was not the nation’s first female director as she is sometimes described, but she was the first to have a career as a film director. The Eternal Breasts is Tanaka’s third directorial effort (following Love Letter and The Moon has Risen) and tells the story of tanka poet Fumiko Nakajo who passed away from breast cancer in 1954 at only 31 years old. 35mm.

Floating Clouds 

floating clouds still 1Hideko Takamine and Masayuki Mori play two former lovers cast adrift in the new post-war world world where their love is both impossible and impossible to escape. Naruse’s melancholy melodrama is the story of a woman who strives for self-determination while chasing a man who craves only respectability, as trapped and confused as her still divided nation. 35mm.

Elegy of The North

elegy of the north stilll 1Masayuki Mori stars again in another romantic melodrama this time for Heinosuke Gosho (Where Chimneys are Seen), opposite Yoshiko Kuga who falls for Mori’s conflicted architect as an escape from her moribund marriage while Mori’s wife, played by Mieko Takamine, is having an affair with a young student. 16mm.

Tokyo Twilight

tokyo twilight still 1Among the darkest of Ozu’s post-war movies, Tokyo Twilight is a less forgiving family drama in which Setsuko Hara plays the older of two sisters who has returned home from a failing marriage with her little girl in tow only to find out that her unmarried student younger sister is facing an unwanted pregnancy. 35mm.

The Blue Sky Maiden (aka The Cheerful Girl)

blue sky maiden still 2Blue Sky Maiden, Masumura’s second film, is his first in colour and his first to star the radiant Ayako Wakao who would later become something like his muse. Light and bright and youthful, Blue Sky Maiden is not without the Masumura bite in its tale of an illegitimate child deposited in her cowardly father’s home and among his unpleasant family but bearing all of her sorrows with a cheerful determination which resolutely refuses to allow them to rob her of her happiness. 35mm.

An Affair at Akitsu (aka Akitsu Springs)

akitsu springs still 1Soon after An Affair at Akitsu, also known as Akitsu Springs, Mariko Okada would marry the film’s director, Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida, and the pair would go on create a series of “anti-melodramas” which adopted typical melodrama storylines but shot them in a deliberately detached manner. An Affair at Akitsu is Yoshida’s attempt at Shochiku’s most representative genre but, aided by the astonishing performance of Okada, he conjures a deeply felt meditation on post-war malaise as its lovers find themselves unable to escape the false paradise of Akitsu Springs. 35mm.

The Shape of Night

Shape of the night still 1Recently restored, Noburu Nakamura’s The Shape of Night stars Miyuki Kuwano as a young woman forced into prostitution by a no good boyfriend. 35mm.

Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs at BFI Southbank from 17th October to 29th November and tickets are already on general sale.

 

Japan Foundation London’s Celebration of Culinary Cinema Returns for Second Helpings!

A-Tale-of-Samurai-Cooking-teaserFollowing their recent series of foodie films, The Japan Foundation London is back with a few more tasty morsels this August.

tale of samurai cooking still 2First up, A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story proves that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (rather than through his chest with a sword). Headstrong Haru (Aya Ueto) gets “sent back” from her first marriage and then receives an interesting proposal from the Emperor’s own samurai cooks thanks to her awesome skills in the kitchen. Her husband to be, Yasunobu (Kengo Kora), is very unhappy about this seeing as he still wants to be a “real” samurai and is nursing a broken heart. Review.

A Tale of Samurai Cooking screens at Courthouse Cinema, 23rd August, 6.30pm.


chef of south polar stillBased on the writings of the real Jun Nishimura, Shuichi Okita’s The Chef of South Polar follows a put upon chef as he’s forced to leave his family and become the sole cook for seven research scientists marooned at the South Pole for a whole year. Despite the hazardous conditions Nishimura keeps churning out beautifully presented dishes while the guys all go slowly mad together. Review.

Chef of the South Polar screens at Courthouse Cinema on 24th August, 6.30pm


An stillNaomi Kawase’s An (Sweet Bean) is a less comedic tale of inter-generational friendship, social injustice and continuing stigma towards those suffering illness, and a celebration of tradition passed from one era to the next. Masatoshi Nagase plays a struggling doriaki chef who gets a few tips from a strange old lady (Kirin Kiki). He originally turns her down for a job at his stand because of her age and gnarled hands, but tasting her bean paste, there is no way he can refuse.

An (Sweet Bean) screens at Rich Mix on Saturday 26th August, 12.45pm.


tampopo stillAnd finally the greatest food movie of them all – Juzo Itami’s Tampopo! This iconic comedy follows the titular widow as she tries to make a success of her ramen stand with the help of lonely truck drivers Goro and Gun. While Tampopo is busy with her noodles, Itami ventures off on a cultural odyssey to explore the various ways food is used and misused in Japanese society. Review.

Tampopo screens at Rich Mix on Saturday 26th August, 3.15pm.


You can find further details for all the films on the Japan Foundation London website. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance and you can only register to attend two of the four screenings (if you apply for more than two you will be placed on the waiting list for the extra ones). A Tale of Samurai Cooking and Chef of the South Polar are currently fully booked but you can still apply to join the waiting list and be notified should spaces become available.