The final film from the late, world-renowned Japenese director Akira Kurosawa, Madadayo, will be one of four films screening at the Japanese Film Festival, which launches at the V&A Nouveau in Cape Town from 27 February to 1 March.
Thereafter the festival moves to Brooklyn Nouveau in Pretoria from 13 to 15 March, before going to Joburg’s Rosebank Nouveau from 20 to 22 March.
Made when Kurosawa’s was 83 years old, Madadayo won four Japanese Academy Awards in 1994. It tells of a beloved professor who quietly railed against death. Kurosawa’s historical epic, The Hidden Fortress, inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars.
The other three films in the programme are the dramedy A Stranger of Mine; Breathe In, Breathe Out; and the buddy comedy Kamikaze Girls.
A Stranger of Mine, the second film by bright new writing and directing talent Kenji Uchida, has notched up several industry awards in Japan and abroad, including three prizes at Cannes in 2005.
The exquisitely filmed Breathe In, Breathe Out won the Festival Prize for cinematography at the 2005 Yokohama Film Festival. Directed by Tetsuo Shinohara, it was filmed on location in the scenic Okinawa island chain.
Kamikaze Girls walked away with a raft of Japanese festival awards in 2005, including Japanese Academy Awards and Blue Ribbon Awards. In particular, actress Anna Tsuchiya made her mark as the year’s most impressive newcomer, while writer/director Tetsuya Nakashima was also widely hailed.
Each of the programmed feature films will be preceded by an episode of the highly popular anime series Last Exile, giving audiences the opportunity to experience one of Japan’s most vibrant and distinctive forms of popular entertainment. Set in the Victorian era, this retro-futuristic sci-fi fantasy series has taken the world by storm, and features vivid 2D and 3D animation.
DStv’s ANIMAX channel (126) will be participating in this year’s festival. This is a major coup for the event, given the worldwide enthusiasm for anime, an art form that is an integral part of the Japanese filmmaking industry.
In 2001, Spirited Away, directed by veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki, became the highest-grossing film in Japanese history and was the first animé film to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Log onto www.sterkinekor.com for more information on screening times. Tickets are free, but audiences are nonetheless advised to book early to secure their seats.
Cinema Nouveau screened by Fish Eagle offers customers a variety of booking options, including online bookings, now also on your mobile phone, or by calling TicketLine at 082 16789 (value-added service rates apply). You can also book in cinema at the self-service terminals (SSTs) or at the box-office.
The novel Touchmart Transaction Access Points (TAP) now offer an even easier means of booking a movie ticket, and are located nationally with convenient access from supermarkets to civic centres.