Japanese Films and Anime at the Barbican
Date: 2008 April 5th Saturday [16:32] | Posted By: Joe
London's Barbican have a great selection of films over the next couple of months, with Kihachiro Kawamoto, Akira Kurosawa and a little bit of anime, with Helen McCarthy continuing her popular anime talks, focusing on horror followed by a screening of Le Portrait de Petite Cossette.
As always with these events we recommend booking in as soon as possible to avoid disappoint, Helen's talks in particular tend to sell out quickly.
Press release as follows:
www.barbican.org.uk/film Cinema Hotline: 0845 120 7527
- KIHACHIRO KAWAMOTO: THE PUPPET MASTER - Saturday 3 May
- THE DIRECTORSPECTIVE: AKIRA KUROSAWA – Sunday 4 May to Sunday 1 June
- JAPANIMATION: Le Portrait de Petite Cossette - Tuesday 27 May
KIHACHIRO KAWAMOTO: THE PUPPET MASTER - Saturday 3 May
A day of screenings celebrating the work of veteran Japanese filmmaker Kihachiro Kawamoto, considered a living treasure in his home country, who created some of the world’s most sublime and atmospheric stop motion animation. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles. 1
12.00pm - Demons, Poets & Priests (12A*) (Total programme 76 min)
Self Portrait (Japan 1988 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 2 min)
Introducing Kihachiro Kawamoto...
The Demon (Oni) (Japan 1970 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 8 min)
Inspired by a ghost story from the eleventh-century anthology of Japanese myths and legends Konjaku monogatari, The Demontells the story of two hunters who live with their aged mother.
House of Flame (Kataku) (Japan 1979 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 19 min)
Based on the Noh play Motomezuka – the Seeker’s Mound, this film tells the story of a young woman named Unai-Otome who is loved by two men. Not knowing which to choose, in anguish, she opts for death.
To Shoot Without Shooting (Fusha no sha) (Japan 1988 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 25 min)
Based on the story Meijin-den by Atsushi Nakajima (1909–1942), this work is set in ancient China telling the tale of a young Chinese archer’s trials to reach the pinnacle of his field.
Briar-Rose, or the Sleeping Beauty/Ibarahime mata manemurihime (Japan 1990 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 22 min)
An exquisite yet unconventional fairytale based on a story written by Japan’s top screen siren of the 60s, Kyoko Kishida.
2.00pm - Absurdities, Legends & Fairy Tales (12A*) (Total programme 72 min)
Breaking Branches Is Forbidden (Hana-ori) (Japan 1968 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 14 min)
Kawamoto’s first stop-motion animation after returning to Japan from Prague is a playful tale about a young acolyte with a fondness for sake (rice wine) after the head monk of his temple instructs him to guard a beautiful cherry blossom tree.
The Trip (Tabi) (Japan 1973 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 12 min)
Surreal cutout (kiri-gami) animation following a young girl’s spiritual journey to an anonymous Western city, a bizarre dreamscape cluttered with elements from works by Dali, Magritte, de Chirico and Escher.
A Poet’s Life (Shijin no shogai) (Japan 1974 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 19 min)
A worker is fired from a factory for demanding a wage increase, while his mother, worn thin by poverty, is caught in her own spinning wheel and transformed into yarn. A Kafka-esque kiri-gami animation based on a short story by Kobo Abe (1924-1993).
4.15pm - The Book of the Dead (Shisha no sho) (12*) (Japan 1992 Dir. Kihachiro Kawamoto 70 min) plus introductory discussion between season curator Jasper Sharp and Japanese animation expert Helen McCarthy
Set in Japan’s Nara period (the mid-8th century), when Buddhism was introduced from China, Kawamoto’s magnum opus The Book of the Dead recounts the true story of a young noblewoman, Iratsume who, after meticulously making copies of sutras, is greeted with a vision of Buddha himself. Journeying to a distant temple, she learns the story of Prince Otsu, executed fifty years earlier. Obsessed by memories of an ancestor of Iratsume, who witnessed his death, Otsu’s ghost haunts the temple in the belief that Iratsume is her reincarnation. The two battle through many nights, one longing for the material world, the other striving for the spiritual.
THE DIRECTORSPECTIVE: AKIRA KUROSAWA – Sunday 4 May to Sunday 1 June
Revered and renowned on the stage of world cinema, Akira Kurosawa single-handedly brought Japanese cinema to the attention of international audiences with his 1950 film Rashômon, and continued to inspire both audiences and fellow directors throughout his life. This season, marking the tenth anniversary of his death in 1998, presents some of his finest achievements.
Sunday 4 May
4.00pm - Rashômon (12A) (Japan 1950 Dir. Akira Kurosawa 83 min)
Set in feudal Japan, Kurosawa’s master work is a compelling exploration of the meaning of truth, as various witnesses present their diverse accounts of a murder. With sumptuous camerawork and an exquisite performance from Toshiro Mifune. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1951.
Sunday 11 May
4.00pm - Throne of Blood (Kumonosu jô) (15) (Japan 1957 Dir. Akira Kurosawa 105 min)
Kurosawa’s unforgettable transposition of Macbeth to the ghostly forests and grim castles of medieval Japan. Kurosawa’s Macbeth is not a strong, heroic figure, but a frightened, ambitious man who is fearful of the witches’ spell and kills to save his own blood. With another magnificent performance by Toshiro Mifune, alongside the wonderful Isuzu Yamada as Lady Macbeth.
Sunday 18 May
2.15pm - Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) (PG) (Japan 1954 Dir. Akira Kurosawa 198 min)
Kurosawa’s epic achievement is a cornerstone of world cinema, which again brought Japanese cinema to amazed audiences in the West. In 16th century feudal Japan, seven unemployed samurai warriors defend a village against a ruthless band of brigands, resulting in some epic battle scenes filmed with dazzling, memorable style.
Sunday 25 May
3.15pm - Dersu Uzala (U) (Japan/Russia 1975 Dir. Akira Kurosawa 137 min)
The acclaimed Russian actor Maxim Munzuk plays Dersu Uzala, a gentle, ageing hunter whose knowledge of nature saves a Russian military expedition from disaster in an unexplored region of Siberia. With spectacular photography, Kurosawa delicately explores the contrast between urban
sophistication and rural simplicity.
Sunday 1 June
2.30pm - Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) (PG) (Japan 1980 Dir. Akira Kurosawa 181 min)
Towards the end of his career Kurosawa directed his greatest international success Kagemusha, which also won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980. In sixteenth century Japan a convicted robber, who possesses similar looks to a dying warlord, is spared execution in order to pose as the lord after his death. Vivid colour, epic battle sequences and outstanding performances combine in a glorious triumph.
JAPANIMATION: HORROR! - Tuesday 27 May, 8.30pm
Anime expert Helen McCarthy explores one of anime’s best established genres; horror. Strongly fore grounded in the first wave of British video releases in the 1990s with the cyber-noir productions of leading studio Madhouse, and currently enjoying a revival both in Japan and in the West, with the craze for softer, sweeter girl ghosts and vampire romances alongside gritty, gory tales of terror. Occasionally the two combine, as in this stylish, unsettling tale with its tender conclusion.
Le Portrait de Petite Cossette (15) (Japan 2004 Dir. Akiyuki Shinbo 114 min)
Cossette d’Auvergne was very young and very beautiful when she died, but she had a will so strong that her spirit refused to leave this world. Two hundred and fifty years later, that ferocious spirit still survives, trapped in a fragile glass goblet in a Tokyo antique store. An art student minding the store can communicate with her, but can he understand what she’s seeking so desperately? And can he survive long enough to help her find it?
www.barbican.org.uk/film Cinema Hotline: 0845 120 7527
Standard ticket prices:
Adults: £8.50/£7.00 online
Barbican members/Over 60s/Students in full time education with valid student card/unwaged: £6.00
Monday Madness: £5.50
Orange Wednesdays: Two for the price of one tickets on new releases every Wednesday for Orange Mobile Phone subscribers. Terms and conditions apply
Sunday Cinema: Two for the Price of one tickets on new releases every Sunday evening for Barbican Residents with valid Residents ID.