A classic program for Japanese film aficionados

Japanese Film Festival 18

A classic program for Japanese film aficionados

Photo credit: A Geisha © 1953 Kadokawa Pictures

Head on down to Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) before the end of October 2018 to catch the Japanese Film Festival’s classics event, boasting a program of influential works from cinematic masters from the Japanese Golden Age and New Wave.

From star-crossed lovers in the Meiji era to early feminists fighting societal norms, the classics program will run daily until October 31 at the AGNSW in Sydney, and features works adapted from novels by celebrated authors such as Junichiro Tanizaki and Kyoka Izumi.

Japanese Film Festival 18Photo credit: Kagero-za © 1981 presented by LittleMore Co., Ltd.

The program highlights include: Japanese auteur Seijun Suzuki’s multi-award-winner Kagero-za, an adaptation of Kyoka Izumi’s story of a playwright who meets a beautiful woman he suspects is the ghost of his patron’s deceased wife; and feminist New Wave film The Affair, starring prolific actress Mariko Okada (Akitsu Springs).

The classics program will also head to Melbourne at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Nov 23 – Dec 2).

Japanese Film Festival 18Photo credit: Nihonbashi © 1956 Kadokawa Pictures

2018 Japanese Film Festival Classics Sydney films include:

A Geisha – This poignant drama from multiple Venice Silver Lion-winning filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi follows an aspiring geisha and her established mentor fighting to uphold their dignity amidst the economic pressures of post-war Kyoto.

The Affair – Prolific actress Mariko Okada (Akitsu Springs) stars in her husband Yoshishige Yoshida’s Japanese New Wave depiction of female characters defining their own sexuality, about a young woman’s illicit affair with her deceased mother’s lover.

Juvenile Jungle (Crazed Fruit) – Novelist-turned-politician Shintaro Ishihara’s controversial portrayal of the sexual revolution of disillusioned post-war youth follows two brothers who fall for the same woman. Exploding into a cultural phenomenon soon after its release,  this seminal Sun Tribe classic stars the late Masahiko Tsugawa (Death Note).

Japanese Film Festival 18Photo credit: Juvenile Jungle © 1956 Nikkatsu

Kagero-za (Heat Haze Theatre) – Set in the Taisho Era (1912-1926), Japanese auteur Seijun Suzuki’s multi-award-winning adaptation of Kyoka Izumi’s Gothic-tinged ghost story follows a playwright who meets a beautiful woman he suspects is the ghost of his patron’s deceased wife.

Manji: The Goddess of Mercy – Adapted from Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel Quicksand, maverick film director Yasuzo Masumura’s queer melodrama follows the intriguing love affair between two society ladies.

Nihonbashi – Cannes Jury Prize-winning Japanese master Kon Ichikawa’s first colour film follows two geishas in a cut-throat competition to reign over Nihonbashi, Tokyo’s premier geisha district.

Okoto and Sasuke – Featuring prolific star of the Japanese Golden Age Kinuyo Tanaka, this captivating melodrama follows the love between a blind koto (Japanese lap guitar) virtuoso and her devoted manservant, from Yasujirō Shimazu – one of the major creators of the shōshimingeki (lower-middle-class) genre.

The Pornographers – Cannes Palme d’Or-winning filmmaker Shohei Imamura’s darkly funny adaptation of Akiyuki Nosaka’s novel follows a pornographer hustling to keep his business alive amidst Japan’s post-war economic boom, despite threats from the police, local gangsters and his own family.

The Classics programs is free admission. Click HERE for ticketing details.

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: editor@www.culturalpulse.com.au