It's Japanese Cinema, But Not As You Know it! ZIPANGU FEST Returns!

James Marsh, Asian Editor

Anyone who knows anything about Japanese Cinema and its appreciation in the English language should be familiar with the name Jasper Sharp. The genius behind the fabulous Midnight Eye website (together with Tom Mes), and author of a number of books on Japanese Cinema, including the newly published The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema, Jasper is also the brains behind the UK's most daring and exciting film festival to curate works from Japan, Zipangu Fest!

Now in its third year, the festival runs in London from 14th-16th September, and is positively groaning with a fantastic line-up of films that you will be hard-pushed to ever see projected onto a cinema screen anywhere in the world, before or after this event. Highlights of the festival include the first screening anywhere in the Western World of the 1997 Japanese/North Korean co-production Somi - The Taekwon-do Woman. You can also see Atsushi Wada's animated The Great Rabbit, which took home the Silver Bear from this year's Berlinale.


The delights, however, extend far beyond these two films, in directions that will likely explode your minds, from little-seen 1920s silents and contemporary homages of that elegant era of Early Cinema, to obsessively crafted stop-motion epics and documentaries that dig deep into the fascinating psyche of the Japanese people. In addition to the screenings, Zipangu Fest is also staging a number of fascinating lectures and live discussions on a wide variety of pertinent topics relating to both Japanese Cinema and Filmmaking in general. It promises to be an unmissable and truly unique cinematic event that simply cannot be missed.

Screenings take place at the wonderful Cinema Museum in Kennington, South London. For full details and booking information, head to the Zipangu website here  or the Cinema Museum website here.
 

Tickets are £7.50 (£6.50 concessions) for regular screenings and £10 (£8.50 concessions) for special screenings.

You can also help support the event by contributing to the Somi - The Taekwondo Woman Crowdfunder. Check out the link for that below! So do yourself a favour this month and experience something completely different at Zipangu Fest - Japanarchy In The UK!


Press Release:

Following its move to a new venue, the Cinema Museum in London's Kennington district, the third Zipangu Fest celebrates Japan's rich cinematic heritage with retrospective screenings of some unseen gems alongside a host of newer titles, with a large proportion of the programme screened from film.

The Reel Zipangu section includes Kaizō Hayashi's critically-regarded 1986 homage to Japan's silent era, To Sleep So As To Dream, and a long overdue revival of Teinosuke Kinugasa's avant-garde masterpiece from 1928 and one of the first Japanese films ever screened in the West, Crossways. A samurai drama filmed in the style of German Expressionism, the film will be presented with an illustrated lecture by Festival Director Jasper Sharp before its screening with a specially-commissioned score by Minima, one of the leading bands accompanying silent film in Europe.

Spirit Made Flesh is an experimental programme that explores the very materiality of the medium and includes the work of three filmmakers, Momoko Seto, Shinkan Tamaki and the latest film from Takashi Makino, invited guest at Zipangu Fest 2011, where he presented the Enter the Cosmos programme. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion 'Is There Still a Need for Film in a Digitising World?'

Fukushima 8, a compilation of 8mm home movie treasures from the 1930s onwards filmed by the families of the disaster-struck region will be screened on the Opening Night, alongside Atsushi Wada's animation The Great Rabbit, recipient of the Silver Bear Award at Berlinale 2012. The centrepiece of this opening evening is the first ever screening in the West of the Japanese-DPKR co-production, Somi - The Taekwon-do Woman (1997). Tickets are available in advance from Crowdfunder.

Animation will also be represented with the return of our popular Beyond Animesection. In Midori-ko, a university researcher protects a human/vegetable hybrid in a dystopic fantasy drawn completely by hand that took its director Keita Kurosaka ten years to complete, while the live-action doll drama Encounters similarly showcases the one-man bedroom auteur aesthetic. Its director, Takashi Iitsuka, will be present to introduce the film.

Anime fans will also be riveted by Masanori Tominaga's enlightening and surprisingly moving documentary The Echo of Astro Boy's Footsteps about the mysterious double life of the pioneering animation sound designer Matsuo Ohno.

The Melting Pot Japan section features two works that look at Brazilian immigrant populations in Japan, Kimihiro Tsumura and Mayu Nakamura's documentary Lonely Swallows: Living as Children of Migrant Workers, and the Closing Film, Katsuya Tomita's vivacious portrait of small-town dreams and prejudices in provincial Kofu, Saudade. One of the most exciting figures in indie filmmaking in Japan, Tomita will be present at the festival as a guest with his scriptwriter Toranosuke Aizawa.

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