The Japanese embassy in London regularly screens films that are hard to find in the West and they are an eclectic bunch. The latest one programmed is one from the venerable director Yoji Yamada. It’s called A Class to Remember and it’s from the 1996 and was Japan’s submission to the 69th Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category but it was not accepted as a nominee (source: Wikipedia).
Here’s the information and here’s the link to the embassy’s page:
学校ＩＩ 「Gakko II」
Running Time: 122 mins.
Release Date: October 19th , 1996
Director: Yoji Yamada
Writer: Yoji Yamada (Screenplay),
Starring: Toshiyuki Nishida, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Masatoshi Nagase, Ayumi Ishida, Pinko Izumi, Takashi Sasano, Ayumi Hamasaki,
Yoji Yamada has had a long career in the movies as a writer and director ever since 1954, the year he joined Shochiku as an assistant director. I have only reviewed Twilight Samurai (2002) but I have written previews for plenty of titles because he keeps getting invited to international festivals such as Berlin.
This film and it features Masatoshi Nagase, a great actor with a diverse filmography ranging from American movies like Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train (1989) to Suicide Club (2002) and Yoji Yamada’s samurai movie The Hidden Blade (2004). Also amongst the cast is Toshiyuki Nishida who voiced a character in A Letter to Momo (2011), and acted in The Uchoten Hotel (2006) and pop star Ayumu Hamasaki.
Synopsis: Ryuhei Aoyama (Nishida) is a teacher at a special high school for learning-impaired children in Hokkaido. With graduation coming up soon, two of his students, Takashi and Yuya, just disappear. While he has his own problem with a daughter living separately with his ex-wife, he has to set out to look for them with his fellow teacher Daisuke Kobayashi. As they drive to Asahikawa, Ryuhei recalls the behaviour of the students. Takashi was initially a happy student but was severely bullied and became a recluse. Yuya was out of control and violent. Why have the two disappeared? Aoyama is on a journey to find out and during this journey he will discover the feeling that teaching is not just about instructing students but involves reciprocating when they give the teachers something.
The event takes place on May 23rd at 18:00pm when the doors open. The film will be screened from 18:30. Booking is free but reserve a seat early. The location is the Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 – 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT and you can find out how to book tickets by using this link.