The Japanese Embassy in London has a 16mm print of Shinji Somai’s 1993 film Ohikkoshi and there will be a free screening of it on June 23rd. This film is a touching story about a girl dealing with the divorce of her parents and while it is floating about on the internet, nothing beats seeing films as part of an audience and on a screen bigger than a laptop/PC. There is also a special talk which will make the screening even more interesting.
The event is free to attend but anyone interested in being part of the audience must book in advance to secure a place (which you can do through this link).
Here’s the information:
Running Time: 124 mins.
Release Date: March 23rd, 1993
Director: Shinji Somai
Writer: Satoshi Okonogi, Satoko Okudera (Screenplay), Hiko Tanaka (Original Novel)
Starring: Tomoko Tabata, Junko Sakurada, Kiichi Nakai, Mariko Sudo, Taro Tanaka, Ippei Shigeyama, Nagiko Tono, Konami Nakai,
Shinji Somai was one of the biggest directors in Japan in the 1980s and 90s and made around 13 films before his death in 2001. Despite the popularity of his films, he was lesser known in the West until he netted his biggest festival spot in 1993 when Ohikkoshi was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. Despite that, his works are still hard to find on DVD and Blu-Ray but they are popular as the viewer count on illegal YouTube videos will attest. More recently, he has been the subject of a revival in interest thanks to retrospectives at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Nippon Connection and some of his films getting screened at various Japan Foundation events.
Ohikkoshi is one of his most popular and deals with one of his most utilised stories, that of a dislocated adolescents and the turbulent emotions that some feel. It features sensitive writing and direction that allows the child actors to really get into their roles.
The film has a winning performance from child actor Tomoko Tabata who has grown into a fine leading lady with performances in films like The Cowards Who Look to the Sky. Screenwriter Satoko Okudera’s first noted work on a screenplay came with this film. She has subsequently become known for her collaborations with anime director Mamoru Hosoda on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, and The Wolf Children. She also wrote the screenplay for Permanent Nobara.
Synopsis: Renko is in the sixth grade when her parents decide to separate. Initially she is happy about the situation, not having had any idea that they might divorce, and enjoys the fact that she now has two homes. She begins feeling uneasy when her mother tries to draw up a ‘contract’ for their life together, which asserts their independence from her father while he cannot provide any satisfactory answers about why they divorced. Renko also becomes concerned about what will happen at school if her classmates find out, given that they already tease another girl whose parents have divorced. Renko’s boyfriend at school, Minoru, draws up a surefire plan to bring her parents back together but will it work?
The event takes place on June 23rd and starts at 18:00. There is a special talk at 18:30 and the film starts at 19:00. 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 with this link.