The Japan Foundation have put together a five-film programme dedicated to showing off some of the cinematic gems celebrating Japanese cuisine and culinary culture. It’s all totally free and more information can be found on this site. Trailers and information follow on below:
Part One: Saturday, 15 July 2017
Prince Charles Cinema, London – 7 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BY
牡蠣工場 「Kaki kouba」
Release Date: February 20th, 2016
Duration: 145 mins
Director: Kazuhiro Soda
Starring: Shinsuke Hirano, Koichi Watanabe, Yukiko Watanabe
I wrote about this documentary for a preview of the 2015 run of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Here’s the text:
This two hour plus documentary ostensibly looks at life inside an oyster factory but takes in the lack of young people entering the works, the generational divide and Chinese-Japanese relations as Chinese workers are brought in to help keep an oyster factory running.
Synopsis from the film’s website: In the Japanese town of Ushimado, the shortage of labor is a serious problem due to its population’s rapid decline. Traditionally, oyster shucking has been a job for local men and women, but for a few years now, some of the factories have had to use foreigners in order to keep functioning. Hirano oyster factory has never employed any outsiders but finally decides to bring in two workers from China. Will all the employees get along?
Running Time: 120 mins
Director: Masaki Hamamoto
Writer: Masaki Hamamoto (Screenplay), Yamamoto Ichiriki (Original Novel),
Starring: Masaaki Uchino, Miki Nakatani, Baijaku Nakamura, Masanobu Katsumura, Shigeru Izumiya, Kazue Tsunogae, Renji Ishibashi, Shima Iwashita,
Synopsis: Eikichi, a young tofu maker, ventures from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo) to open a tofu shop. It is in Edo where he meets Ofumi and the two marry and with the help of Ofumi’s father, the tofu shop dream becomes a reality/ Years later with the rock-solid business still going strong, Eikichi and his family are thrown into a critical situation that threatens to pull them apart.
Part Two: Saturday, 22 July 2017
BAFTA, London – 195 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN
This day looks really good because on top of the free films are many different activities fit for all of the family. Here’s more from the site:
On Saturday, 22 July at BAFTA, join us for drop-in food-themed Japanese language activities between the films. The workshops are free and suitable for all ages.
銀の匙 「Gin no Saji Shiruba Supun」
Running Time: 111 mins.
Release Date: March 07th, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Keisuke Yoshida
Writer: Ryo Takada (Screenplay), Hiromu Arakawa (Manga)
Starring: Kento Nakajima, Alice Hirose, Tomohiro Ichikawa, Haru Kuroki, Kazue Fukiishi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Sho Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Renji Ishibashi
Hiromu Arakawa is famous amongst anime and manga fans for Full Metal Alchemist but what some may not realise is that she has created other titles like Silver Spoon which has become a favourite amongst anibloggers a few years ago. I’ve read that she grew up on a farm which explains why she created a farm story… Anyway, the movie adaptation has some great named in the cast like Haru Kuroki, Mitsuru Fukikoshi and Sho Aikawa.
Yugo Hachiken (Nakajima) is an ace at studying and believes that he can attend any school around the country and succeed. Then he heads to Ooejo agricultural high school and finds that he’s completely lost while his classmates, who are from farming families, are totally fine. They know what they want to do with their lives while Yugo flounders. To succeed, Yugo begins to get to know the other students and rural life. As he must studies harder and interacts with others more, he grows as a person.
Umi no Futa
海のふた 「Umi no Futa」
Release Date: July 18th, 2015
Running Time: 84 mins.
Director: Keisuke Toyoshima
Writer: Hisako Kurosawa (Screenplay), Banana Yoshimoto (Original Novel),
Starring: Akiko Kikuchi, Azusa Mine, Yukichi Koayashi, Keiichi Suzuki,
Seeking a change of pace in life, Mari (Kikuchi) moves from Tokyo back to her small hometown in Shizuoka Prefecture where opens a small store selling ice flakes with syrup. Mari runs the store with Hajime-chan (fMine) who has a large burn scar on her face.
ぶどうのなみだ 「Budou no Namida」
Release Date: October 11th, 2014 (Japan)
Running Time: 117 mins.
Director: Yukiko Mishima
Writer: Yukiko Mishima (Screenplay),
Starring: Yo Oizumi, Yuko Ando, Shota Sometani, Kyoko Enami, Tomorowo Taguchi, Kitaro, Ren Osugi, Lily,
Ao (Oizumi) returns to back home to Sorachi, Hokkaido, to take over his father’s vineyard after many years away. His younger brother Roku (Sometani) has never known him and their reunion is frosty but the two agree to work together try an create a special wine called “Black Diamond”, but it is a hard job and things look bad until a travelling camper named Erika (Ando) enters their lives and brings harmony.
These screenings are free to attend but booking is essential.
To book a place via Google Forms, please visit the following links: