The Barbican Centre is hosting Premiere Japan from the 25th until the 27th of November. The festival aims to showcase six top Japanese films from 2010 -2011. The six on offer are:
Tokyo Park (U) Dir. Aoyama Shinji 119 min
Based on a novel by Yukiya Shoji, this lyrical depiction of isolation, jealousy and lust follows the fortunes of a college student, Koji, whose life is transformed when he is approached by a married man to spy on his wife.
Played with wide-eyed enthusiasm by rising star Haruma Miura, Koji’s journey is peppered with wonderfully eccentric characters and the visual flair for which director Aoyama is renowned. Winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival.
This screening will take place at 7.30pm on the 25th of November
Sketch of Mujo (U) Dir. Omiya Koichi 75 min.
This moving documentary is the first to be filmed in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region of Japan in March 2011.
Award-winning director, Omiya Koichi skilfully weaves together images of the devastation with simply told accounts to create a raw sketch of a changed region, whilst also looking to the future and what reconstruction will mean. Compelling and powerful.
This screening will take place at4pm on the 26th of November
Sweet Little Lies (12A) Dir. Yazaki Hitoshi 117 min.
By turns melancholy, funny and disturbing, Hitoshi Yazaki’s ‘Sweet Little Lies’ is a meticulous dissection of a marriage that unfolds with the same exquisitely controlled elegance that characterizes its heroine, Ruriko (a mesmerizing Miki Nakatani).
Navigating small rituals and large infidelities with equal grace, Nakatani infuses every gesture with calm, unknowable beauty. Adapted from Kaori Ekuni’s best selling novel about the myriad threads of desire, this is a gorgeously composed, uniquely Japanese-style ‘Scenes From a Marriage’. (Variety)
This screening will take place at 6pm on the 26th of November
My Back Page (U) Dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita 141 min.
A young journalist in 1969 falls under the spell of a charismatic student activist (brilliantly played by Kenichi Matsuyama), only to realise that he’s capable of murder.
Director Nobuhiro Yamashita and his cast recreate the political turmoil of the period with awesome credibility.
This screening will take place at 8.30pm on the 26th of November
Legend of the Millenium Dragon (12A) Dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita 141 min.
A shy, fifteen-year old boy must discover his hidden powers and travel back in time 1200 years to save mankind from an ancient evil that threatens life as we know it.
Packed full of demons, dragons and heart-stopping action, this spectacular journey is a beautifully crafted anime from one of the best directors around, Kawasaki Hirotsugu (Spriggan). Unmissable.
This screening will take place at 4pm on the 27th of November
A Man with Style (U) Dir. Ishii Yuya 110 min
After an unhappy childhood of being regularly bullied to tears, Junichi Miyata vows to himself that he’ll be a cool adult in strict control of his emotions. Decades later he’s so successful that he can’t communicate with his teenage children, despite various family sorrows. Enter old friend Sanada, who teaches Miyata that it’s OK to lose control, in many different ways.
Director Yuya graduates from indie to mainstream glory in this poignant family drama. Starring Ken Mitsuishi and Tomorowo Taguchi.
This screening will take place at 6.15pm on the 27th November
There are a lot of excellent films on this list including A Man with Style by Yuya Ishii, director of Sawako Decides, who is fast becoming one of the best directors in Japan and My Back Page starring Kenichi Matsuyama who was in the recent live-action adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood.
Tickets are £9.50 online or £10.50 full price (concessions £8.50, Barbican members £7.50/£8.50). For more information please visit the site.