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13 Oct 2015

Retrospective of best Japanese films at Listapad 2015

MINSK, 13 October (BelTA) – A retrospective screening of the best films to mark the 120th anniversary of the Japanese film company Shochiku will take place at the 22nd Minsk International Film Festival Listapad, BelTA learnt from the organizers of the festival.

Among the pictures to be screened in the Belarusian capital will be masterpieces of such recognized masters as Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Shohei Imamura, Kenji Mizoguchi and others. The films will be presented by film historian Kamiya Makiko, who will talk about the films and how a once small company developed into one of Japan’s biggest film studios. The retrospective is organized in cooperation with the Japanese embassy in Belarus and the Japanese Foundation.

Seven films of different genres and schools will make the program “120th Anniversary of Shochiku Film Studio. Masterpieces of Japanese Cinema”. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot laid literary foundation for Akira Kurosawa’s name-sake artwork. The works of the Russian literature classic have always been close to the Japanese. Akira Kurosawa tells the story of his contemporary Japan, demonstrating flexibility of a conflict and relevance of The Idiot plot.

Hachiko Monogatari, a Japanese film of 1987, tells an already notorious story about faithful dog Hachiko, an Akita dog who stayed loyal to his master, Professor Ueno, even after Ueno's death. Seijiro Koyama’s film made the basis for the 2009 American film Hachiko: A God’s Tale.

Yoshitaro Nomura’s Castle of Sand is a 1974 thriller and police procedural. The detective story tells the tale of two detectives tasked with tracking down the murderer of an old man Nomura recognized as one of the Japanese leading filmmakers of the 20th century. The film brought Yoshitaro Nomura a diploma at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival in 1975.

Yoji Yamada’s The Yellow Handkerchief of Happiness is a story of an ex-offender. A paroled murderer tries to make his way home to his wife and embarks on a road trip through town and country in the company of two young people. The film claimed numerous awards at many Asian film festivals. Its American remake starring Eddie Redmayne came out in 2008.

Tokyo Story is a picture of outstanding filmmaker Ozu Yasujiro, who topped the list of best Asian films recently published by the Busan Cinema Center. His film tells the story of an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children. Ozu Yasujiro highlighted the issues related to the relationship between children and parents and the problem of loneliness in one of his last works.

Kenji Mizoguchi’s Utamaro and His Five Women is a minimalistic and fine story of beauty and passion. The film narrates about an artist and the social world around him in the 18th century. Kenji Mizoguchi is one of the leading figures in the Japanese cinematography, participant and holder of numerous awards at international festivals, including festivals in Venice and Cannes.

A different Japan is portrayed in Shohei Imamura’s Vengeance is Mine. It depicts the true story of serial killer Akira Nishiguchi (Iwao Enokizu in the film). Shohei Imamura is the only Japanese director to win two Palme d'Or awards.

"It is important to note that all films will be screened exclusively in their original medium, i.e. 35mm scope films. To watch classic movies in this format is now almost a luxury. Therefore, it is probably the only chance to enjoy the brilliant creations of the past in the form which corresponds to the authors’ vision as closely as possible. We owe this retrospective screening to JTI, our constant partner who shares our love to Japanese art,” program director Igor Sukmanov said.

Shochiku Company was founded in 1895 as a kabuki production company. The company grew quickly, expanding its business to many other Japanese live theatric styles. The company began making films in 1920. It also produces and distributes anime films.

The 22nd edition of Listapad International Film Festival will be held in Minsk on 6-13 November. The main organizer of the festival is the center of visual and performing arts "ART Corporation”. Founders are the Culture Ministry, the Minsk City Hall, with the participation of the Belarusian TV and Radio Company, National Film Studio Belarusfilm, Belarusian Union of Cinematographers.

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