Back to the Future showcases some of the most engaging and versatile examples of Japanese cinema from the mid-1990s to the present. The season features key Japanese directors such as Takashi Miike and Kiyoshi Kurosawa, as well as directors such as Isao Yukisada who have been highly successful with Japanese audiences but are less recognised overseas, and a younger generation of ones to watch in the future.
A Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. The season is produced and organised by the Japan Foundation.
The Bird People In China
Fri 18 Mar 6.30pm
The legendary Takashi Miike once again proves his great versatility and poetic talent as a
filmmaker. In this tale, a Tokyo salaryman and his snarling yakuza debtor, led into remote China in search of high-quality jade, discover more than they expected, including a secret that makes men fly like birds.
Dir: Takashi Miike, 1998, 1h 58m, Subtitled
Linda Linda Linda
Sat 19 Mar 3.30pm
After the performance-inhibiting injury suffered by a bandmate, a newly assembled foursome of female students, taking their cues from J-punk heros the Blue Hearts, set out to learn a new playlist for the upcoming school festival. This emotionally attuned, and often hilarious, high school drama is also a sensitive evocation of time and place.
Dir: Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2005, 1h 54m, Subtitled
Sat 19 Mar 6.30pm
Inspector Takabe (played by Koji Yakusho) investigates a series of murder victims found with an X slashed across their throats. In each case the killer is a different person, but the presence of a supremely creepy amnesiac student, complicates matters. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s landmark film is a haunting, metaphoric, and deeply disturbing exploration of identity, alienation and darkness.
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997, 1h 51m, Subtitled
One Million Yen Girl
Sun 20 Mar 2.30pm
Written and directed by Yuki Tanada, one of Japan’s most promising new directors, One Million Yen Girl combines coming-of-age and road movie as it follows Suzuko who, taking tentative steps of independence, finds herself swept up by forces that seem beyond her control.
Dir: Yuki Tanada, 2008, 2h 1m, Subtitled
Sun 20 Mar 4.30pm
With deadpan accuracy and a bevy of great characters, prolific young director Yuya Ishii continues his explorations of losers and reduced expectations of contemporary Japan. The comic charms of Hikari Mitsushima as Sawako, a young woman beaten down by the vicissitudes of Tokyo and reluctantly returning to her hometown to run her ailing father’s failing clam-packing business, effortlessly carry this film.
Dir: Yuya Ishii, 2009, 1h 52m, Subtitled