Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2017

The 14th London International Animation Festival (LIAF 17) returns to the Barbican from 1st-10th December and there are 200 animated shorts and features slated to appear as well as a lot of guests who will take part in Q&As and presentations. There is a focus on the on-screen representation of women and the usual high-quality and diverse selection of films which show the various media used in making the many different films.

As the organisers have written on their site,

This year’s uncompromising programme promises to inspire, delight and challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D-CGI blockbuster genre or cute cartoons for kids. Independent animation is an art form that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials, techniques and production – including hand drawn, paint on glass, collage, sculpture, cut outs, puppets, abstract, sand/salt, the interesting developments in CGI – all of which can be seen at LIAF 2017.

Here’s what’s on offer:

Gokurosama Image

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Yasujiro Ozu’s Film “I Was Born, But… ” will be screened with live piano and Benshi Narration at the Barbican on June 25th

The Barbican’s exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture, The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945, began on March 23rd and it finishes on June 25th with this special film which is one of Ozu’s earliest and his held in high regard by film critics.

Actually, every film screening has been well-picked and seems well-placed to compliment the exhibition by giving a myriad of stories connected to the Japanese home and show different living environments. The films that have been screened so far are Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, The Crazy Family, Whisper of the Heart, and Only Yesterday. The final film is Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 black-and-white silent film I Was Born, But… and it will be screened on June 25th at 16:00. What makes this screening even more special is that there will be benshi at the screening.

Here is the information:

Yasujiro Ozu

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The Studio Ghibli Film “Only Yesterday” will be screened at the Barbican on June 24th

The Barbican is running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. There will be films screened as part of the exhibition. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, and Sogo Ishii’s (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) The Crazy Family. The most recent film was Studio Ghibli’s 1995 title Whisper of the Heart and Ghibli leads the way again with Only Yesterday which will be screened on June 24th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

Only Yesterday Film Image 2

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The Studio Ghibli Film “Whisper of the Heart” will be screened at the Barbican on June 17th

The Barbican is running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. There will be films screened as part of the exhibition. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, Woman in the Dunes, and Sogo Ishii’s (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) The Crazy Family. It is time for another Ghibli film and it is the quietly spectacular, Whisper of the Heart which will be screened on June 17th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

Whisper of the Heart Film Image

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Sogo Ishii’s “The Crazy Family” will be screened at the Barbican on June 11th

The Barbican are running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. As part of the exhibition there will be films screened. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, and Woman in the Dunes, and this one is straight from left-field since it comes from Sogo Ishii (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) while he was still in his punk period! It’s called The Crazy Family and it was released in 1984. It will be screened on June 11th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

The Crazy Family Film Image

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Isao Takahata’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” Screening at the Barbican on June 03rd

The Barbican are running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. As part of the exhibition there will be films screened. The third film in this exhibition is The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

Here are the details:

The Tale of Princess Kaguya  The Story of Princess Kaguya Film Poster

かぐや 姫 の 物語 「Kaguya Hime no Monogatari

Running Time: 137 mins.

Release Date: November 23rd, 2013

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Aki Asakura (Kaguya), Kengo Kora (Sutemaru), Nobuko Miyamoto (The Bamboo Cutter’s Wife), Takeo Chii (The Bamboo Cutter),

Website   IMDB

This is a beautiful film helmed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, writer and director of Only Yesterday, Pom Poko Grave of the Fireflies and Little Norse Prince Valiant. It is an adaptation of a famous ancient Japanese folktale originally called Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) which is about a princess named Kaguya who is discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a growing plant by a bamboo cutter and adopted. While I wouldn’t rate it as my favourite Ghibli anime, it is visually stunning and this Barbican presentation comes with the Japanese voice track.

Synopsis: When a bamboo cutter discovers a miniature girl living inside of a shining stalk of bamboo, he names her Princess and raises her as his daughter. Growing into a beautiful young woman, the Princess is torn when she struggles with the responsibility of her nobility and her desire for a simple life.

Yasujiro Ozu’s “An Autumn Afternoon” Screened at the Barbican on May 21st

The Barbican are running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. As part of the exhibition there will be films screened. The next film in this exhibition is Yasujiro Ozu’s, An Autumn Afternoon on May 21st at 16:00 :

Here are the details:

An Autumn Afternoon                       An Autumn Afternoon Film Poster       

秋刀魚の味  「Sanma no Aji

Release Date: November 18th, 1962

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Yasujiro Ozu

Writer: Kogo Noda (Screenplay)

Starring: Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Mariko Okada, Shinichiro Mikami, Teruo Yoshida, Noriko Maki, Nobuo Nakamura, Kuniko Miyake, Eijiro Tono, Haruko Sugimura,

IMDB

Yasujiro Ozu is a titan of Japanese cinema transcending the Golden Age and becoming a name known amongst many generations. He made a career spanning from crime films at the start to a stint in the military before finally chronicling middle-class Japanese  life in the post-war period. He worked with many directors such as Shohei Imamura and Yoji Yamada and consequently, the younger generations either aspired to be him or question him. This is his last film and one of only four he made in colour. It is another family drama exploring the changes in Japan, the journey to wealth the nation was making, ageing parents and loyal children and, ultimately, an examination of family ties.

Nothing says autumn in Japan like the taste of sanma but in this film, one man in the autumn of his life must help his daughter break away from their family home and find happiness.

Synopsis: Shuhei Hirayama (Ryu) is a widower who, despite some reluctance, wants his loyal daughter Michiko (Iwashita) to get married because he realises that she would be miserable if she spent her life as a single woman looking after him. He comes to this decision after attending a school reunion and meeting his former secondary school teacher who also has a daughter in a similar position. The man is a drunk and the woman is at risk of turning in an embittered spinster. Can Shuhei release his daughter to the world and will she be able to find someone or something to give her life more meaning?

“Woman in the Dunes” Screened at the Barbican on May 14th

The Barbican are running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. As part of the exhibition there will be films screened. The first film in this exhibition is:

Woman in the Dunes   Woman in the Dunes Film Poster

砂の女Suna no Onna

Release Date: February 15th, 1964

Running Time: 124 mins.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara

Writer: Eiko Yoshida, Kobo Abe (Screenplay), Kobo Abe (Original Novel),

Starring: Eiji Okada, Kyoko Kishida, Hiroko Ito, Koji Mitsui, Sen Yano, Ginzo Sekiguchi,

IMDB

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Japanese Films at the London International Animation Festival

Tomorrow sees the London International Animation Festival kick off at the Barbican for its 2nd year and there is an incredible amount of titles and talent due to attend.

The festival runs for 11 days at the new Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3 and closes on the 04th of November. During that time there will be 280 films from 30 countries with presentations, discussions and workshops with some of the creators getting involved including BAFTA award-winning Kevin Girffith and Klasky Csupo studios (Rugrats, Aah! Real Monsters).

The choice is bewildering until I remember that this is a Japanese film blog and I cover anime, so here are the Japanese contributions:

Japanese Films at the London International Animation Festival

The big news for Japanophiles is the fact that Oscar ominated and award winning short film auteur Koji Yamamura will be attending the London International Animation Festival and will be holding a masterclass and Retrospective which includes an introduction and Q&A. Here are the details:

International Programme 4: Recent Japanese Shorts (15)
Saturday 27th October, 7:00 pm – at Barbican Centre
Columbus Animated ShortThe best of recently released short animated films from Japan – this year’s LIAF country of focus. A programme that opens the window on what’s going on in the young Japanese animation scene.

 

Midori-ko (Japan 2010 Dir Keita Kurosawa 55 mins) (cert. 15)

Saturday 27th October, 9:00 pm – at Barbican Centre

Midori-ko
In this dark sci-fi tale, 21st century Tokyo is a city at the edge of apocalypse. Little Midori is dreaming of a colourful vegetable world, but instead, as a teenager, she travels to a post-apocalyptic, surrealist, and grotesque future that looks like a Jan Svankmajer nightmare where there is a serious food shortage. Neither hunger nor her bizarre mutant neighbours weaken Midori’s vegan spirit. In the meantime, five scientists work in a lab and manage to develop “dream food”, which is both meat and vegetable. The problem is that Midori-ko – a sort of pumpkin with face and limbs – has no intention of being eaten. When Midori and Midori-ko’s paths cross, they will have to fight to stay safe from neighbours, scientists, and even their own instincts.

Japanese animation artist Keita Kurosaka needed more than a decade’s work and almost 30,000 drawings, completely hand-drawn in coloured pencils, to produce Midori-ko, a dazzling, atmospheric “paranoid fairy tale”, as it has been called. Midori-ko is its own unique kind of animated classic, one that takes today’s present day environmental concerns and puts them into realms of imagination that most of us would never have dreamed possible.

Midori-Ko will screen with two of director Keita Kurosaka’s acclaimed short films:

Worm Story (Japan 1989 Dir Keita Kurosawa 15 min) and Agitated Screams of

Maggots (Japan 2006 Dir Keita Kurosawa 4 min).

New Japanese animation: The CALF collective (15)
Wednesday 31st October 31, 7:30 pm
13 shorts from The CALF Collective, a small group of young Japanese indie animators that decided to pool resources and take their work to the world under a single banner. It’s worked extremely well with CALF screenings of one kind or another in a vast array of festivals around the world in the last 18 months. And now it’s our turn to check out this group of Japanese indie animation trendsetters.

“The Oscar-nominated animator Koji Yamamura is in London to present a Masterclass and a Retrospective as part of the International Animation Festival. This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the Japanese animation world’s true heroes talking about his work, so book early for the 1st November events.”

Masterclass
Thursday 1st November 2012, 6:30pm
Barbican Frobisher Room 4, Level 4

Tickets
Standard: £25 online / £30 on the door
Barbican Members: £20 online / £25 on the door
Concessions: £20 online / £25 on the door
Book Tickets
Maximum capacity: 25

Restrospective

Kafka COuntry Doctor

Thursday 1st November, 9:15pm
Introduction and Q&A with the director with the following shorts screened:

Mount Head / Atama-yama – 2002, 10 min
Fig – 2006, 4 min
The Old Crocodile/ Toshi wo Totta Wani – 2005, 13 min
Franz Kafka ‘A Country Doctor’ – 2007, 21 min
A Child’s Metaphysics/ Kodomo No Keijijougaku – 2007, 5 min
Muybridge’s Strings – 2011, 13 min
Barbican Cinema 3 (enter via Beech St)

Best of the Next: Programme 1 – Tokyo University of the Arts

Saturday 03rd November , 6:00 pm – at the Horse Hospital
Specimens of ObsessionLegendary Japanese animator Koji Yamamura (‘Mt Head’, ‘Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor’) dramatically and quickly re-energised the Tokyo University of the Arts animation course into a creative powerhouse of the Japanese animation scene and the world is beginning to sit up and take notice of its graduates. This collection looks at some of their more recent graduate works and shows what a unique torrent of animation has been untapped there. 14 shorts will be screened in this series

Tickets (Barbican)
Standard: £10.50 online / £11.50 on the door
Barbican Members: £8.40 online / £9.20 on the door
Concessions: £9.50 online / £10.50 on the door

Tickets (Horse Hospital)
Standard:  £10.00
Concessions:  £8.00

Premiere Japan Film Festival At Barbican Centre

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
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