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London Barbican Anime Screenings

Date: 2006 June 14th Wednesday [15:25] | Posted By: Joe

Following on from our news about Children's anime screenings, it seems that the London Barbican have gone Japanese cinema crazy! Not only will they be showing some great bits of anime, they'll also holding a Toru Takemitsu season featuring films the composer has scored.

Selected shows will be introduced by anime expert Helen McCarthy, I've been to past events at other venues, and often they get so called anime experts to introduce shows, or give talks, and it's clear they don't know what they're talking about, Helen however is a real anime expert, having written numerous high quality books on the subject and many magazine articles.

Anime wise they'll be showing:

Saturday, 8 July at 1.45pm: Akira
If you haven't seen this film on a big screen yet, then get over to London and see the anime classic.

Saturday, 8 July 4.15pm: Tokyo Godfathers
Satoshi Kon's superb film about three homeless people's adventures at Christmas. This charming feature is an all time favourite of the Otaku News crew.

Sunday 9 July, 1.45pm: Paranoia Agent: Episodes 1 To 4
Satoshi Kon's TV series, which proves to be very thought provoking, as a special bonus the series will be introduced by Helen McCarthy. We've got a review of Paranoia Agent here.

Sunday 9th July, 3.45pm: Makoto Shinkai Triple Bill
Shinkai became famous for producing anime from home using his computer! They'll be showing the cute She and Her Cat, along with Voices of a Distant Star (influenced by shows like Gunbuster), with a special UK Premiere of The Place Promised In Our Early Days. The triple bill will also be introduced by Helen McCarthy and is worth attending to hear what insight she has throw on director and his work.

In all cases we suggest you book now to avoid disappointment.
Full Story
Press release as follows:

CITY OF LONDON FESTIVAL – JAPAN ON FILM – Saturday, 1 July to Sunday, 9 July

As part of the City of London Festival focus on Japanese art, music and culture, Barbican Film presents Japan on Film, which celebrates two distinct areas of Japanese cinema: the film music of Toru Takemitsu and the tradition of anime in Japanese film.


The Film Music of Toru Takemitsu

With over eighty films to his credit, many in collaboration with the country’s leading directors, the contribution of Toru Takemitsu to the development of cinema in Japan has been immense. His experimentation with musical sounds and traditional Japanese instruments revolutionised the impact of the film score. On the 10th anniversary of his death, Barbican Film celebrates the work of a composer who has played a major part in the re-assessment of music in Japanese cinema.


Saturday, 1 July at 2pm: Film historian Ian Christie introduces a season dedicated to the film work of composer Toru Takemitsu, followed by the screening of the documentary: Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu (US 1994, dir Charlotte Zwerin, 52mins, subtitles) which offers fascinating incite into the work of one of the world’s most influential film composers.


Saturday, 1 July at 3.15pm: Kwaidan (Japan 1964, 158 mins, subtitles). A monumental achievement, director Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan presents four unrelated ghost stories from the English Orientalist Lafcadio Hearn. The sense of foreboding in each tale is heightened by Takemitsu’s otherworldly score which boldly employs silence to prolong and heighten the eventual atmosphere of terror.


Sunday, 2 July at 1.45pm: Woman of the Dunes (Suna no Onna) (Japan 1964, 123 mins, subtitles). Director Hiroshi Teshigahara’s unforgettable adaptation of Kobo Abe’s bizarre allegorical tale tells the strange and erotic story of a young botanist, tricked by villagers into living in a deep sand pit with a woman who strives every day to stop the creeping dunes swallowing her shack. Searing, shifting sound and intimate images blur the definition of body and dune, sand and skin as Takemitsu’s intoxicating score combines with the claustrophobic camerawork of Hiroshi Segawa to breath life into the suffocating sand.


Sunday, 2 July at 4.15pm: Empire of Passion (Ai no borei) (Japan/France 1978, 101 mins, subtitles). Director Nagisa Oshima won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for this superbly eerie ghost story set in rural Japan in 1895. A soldier returns from the first Chinese war and embarks on a passionate affair with the beautiful wife of an old rickshaw driver (who the couple subsequently murder). Takemitsu’s masterful score charts the lover’s mounting paranoia and injects the ghost’s presence with deep menace.


Japanimation: An Introduction to Japanese Anime

The Japanese affection for comic books in close to obsessive. Translated to television and the big screen, anime finally reached the West in the late 1980’s. Barbican Film presents a section of the finest examples of this blockbusting multi-million yen industry.


Saturday, 8 July at 1.45pm; Akira (Japan 1988, Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo, 124 mins, subtitles). The film that first brought Japanese animation to the mass Western audience is almost twenty years old, and still looking good. It is a stunning, superbly paced work that never lets up. Set in the same year as Blade Runner, it too is fascinated by the glittering towers and dark underbelly of the modern city.


Saturday, 8 July 4.15pm: Tokyo Godfathers (Japan 2003, dirs. Satoshi Kon & Shôgo Furuya, 92 mins, subtitles) Christmas Eve in Tokyo: a time when miracles can happen. Three down-and-outs find an abandoned baby and set out to get her home for Christmas. Director Satoshi Kon tells his story of undaunted hope, showing magic in the ordinary and riches among the dispossessed.


Sunday 9 July, 1.45pm: Paranoia Agent 15: Episodes 1 To 4 (Japan 2005, Dir Satoshi Kon 25 min per episode, total 100 mins, subtitles) Introduced by Helen McCarthy, co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia.

Two detectives assigned to an assault case find themselves chasing an urban legend as the stresses of modern life give birth to another Tokyo monster. The city is a hive packed with workers whose fixation on their own concerns is dented by accumulating rumour and fear.


Sunday 9th July, 3.45pm: a triple bill of work by rising anime star Makoto Shinkai will be introduced by Helen McCarthy.

Shinkai is being hailed as the new Hayao Miyazaki; the comparison may be premature, but the promise of Shinkai’s early days is immense. She & Her Cat is an award-winning fragment of great delicacy and charm, but it was Voices of a Distant Star that brought him to wider notice.

Made at home in his bedroom, with software liberated from his day job, and originally voiced by himself and his girlfriend, this classic love story saturated with contemporary teenage consciousness is one of the most effective updates of Romeo and Juliet ever filmed. His first feature-length work is a beautiful piece set in an alternative post-war timeline in a divided Japan.

The triple-bill line-up includes the UK Premiere of The Place Promised In Our Early Days (Kumo no muko, yakusoku no basho), (Japan 2004, 90mins, subtitles) (film tbc); Voices Of A Distant Star (Hoshi no koe) (Japan 2003, 25 min, subtitles) and She & Her Cat (Japan 1999, 5 mins, subtitles).


The Barbican acknowledges the support of the Japan Foundation.

Source: Barbican

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