Japanese Currents: THE TALE OF IYA

A Tale of Iya 3

Tokushima Prefecture’s Iya Valley, a stunningly beautiful natural area of southern Japan, is the true star of Tsuta’s tantalizing feature. The film follows two strands: Haruna (Rina Takeda), a teenage girl who, as a baby, was the only survivor of a wreck. Found by an older man (dance legend Min Tanaka) living a simple life in the mountains of Iya, she grows up and faces the choice of staying in the mountains, or move to big city Tokyo. Meanwhile, a massive industrial project threatens the delicate natural balance of Iya, and a young man arriving with hopes of a quieter life is drawn into a battle between a monolithic corporation and a group of protestors. Between the threads of the story, the film’s cinematography (shot on 35mm) ushers us into a fever dream of “instant and startling brilliance.”—The Telegraph, UK. (169 mins.)

THE TALE OF IYA screens Saturday, December 13 at 7pm and Sunday, December 14 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: DISCONCERTO

Disconcerto

Tatsushi Omori’s new film, starring hot young actors Eita and Ryuhei Matsuda, is a freewheeling, idiosyncratic dive into big social issues through the unlikely lens of a buddy comedy. Tada (Eita), proprietor of a fledgling do-it-all service, is fed up with couch-crashing, pessimistic Gyoten (Matsuda), who has a colorful past populated with sketchy episodes and even sketchier characters. When several of these episodes resurface—including an emergency babysitting gig and Gyoten’s relationship with a religious cult leader—their friendship is pushed to the brink, leaving it to the optimistic Tada to find the silver lining. Eita and Matsuda, two of Japan’s hottest young actors, brilliantly play off each other in this unorthodox, uplifting comedy of errors. “A package of unsinkable charm!”—Vancouver International Film Festival. (124 mins.)

DISCONCERTO screens Friday, December 12 at 7pm and Sunday, December 14 at 1:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: UZUMASA LIMELIGHT

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In this loose remake of Charlie Chaplin’s LIMELIGHT (1952), Ochiai thrusts the viewer into the highly structured world of chanbara (samurai film) production, but with a very particular subject: kirare-yaku, or actors whose sole job is to die on camera, often spectacularly. Kamiyama (real-life kirare-yaku Seizo Fukumoto), the elder statesman of the craft, is nearing retirement. When his studio decides to end production of chanbara films, citing the public’s waning interest, Kamiyama is faced with impending retirement. However, the arrival of a promising young actress (Chihiro Yamamoto), who seeks tutelage from Kamiyama, reinvigorates not only the studio’s interest, but also the mentor’s desire “to be cut” during the limelight of his career. Audience Award, 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and Best Film, Fantasia International Film Festival. (103 mins.)

UZUMASA LIMELIGHT screens Wednesday, December 10 at 8pm and Saturday, December 13 at 1:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS

The Kingdom of Madness and Dreams 1

Studio Ghibli, Japan’s most influential animation studio and one of the world’s most famous, is the subject of this fascinating documentary. With a heavy focus on the production of master animator and studio chief Hayao Miyazaki’s final film THE WIND RISES, Sunada explores the nuts and bolts of producing an animated feature from start to finish. Seeing the storyboards, drafts, sketches, work shopping, and experimentation provides a deep appreciation of Miyazaki, his craft, and his honored place in the world of animation. “The atmosphere inside Studio Ghibli may suggest a zen-like idyll, but animation is a painstaking—and sometimes painful—process…Sunada’s tour of the ‘Kingdom’ makes us appreciate the magic all the more.”—Variety. (118 mins.)

THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS screens Saturday, December 6 at 7pm and Tuesday, December 9 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: PATEMA INVERTED

Patema Inverted 3

“An exhilarating tale of star-crossed love and overcoming impossible odds, PATEMA INVERTED is the richly inventive new film from young gun of the anime scene, Yasuhiro Yoshiura. In a distant future, rebellious teenager Patema lives underground in a grim industrial complex. Exploring the outer boundaries of her home one day, she stumbles into a hole and starts falling…up. Caught upside down, she is discovered by thoughtful surface-walker Age. Realizing that gravity works on each of them in different directions, the two embark on a perilous mission to uncover the dark forces ruling the world they thought they knew.”—Melbourne International Film Festival. (98 mins.)

PATEMA INVERTED screens Saturday, December 6 at 4:30pm and Monday, December 8 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: FUKU-CHAN OF FUKUFUKU FLATS

Fuku-Chan of Fukufuku Flats 1

Starring popular comedienne Miyuki Oshima (best known for her impersonations of crotchety old men) as Tatsuo Fukuda (alias Fuku-Chan), a well-meaning, knowledgeable, yet shy maintenance man at an average apartment building, FUKU-CHAN OF FUKUFUKU FLATS offers a spry look at modern Tokyo. Populated with eccentrics and oddballs, the building—and, of course, its tenants—seems in constant need of upkeep, which Fuku-Chan does with compassion, selflessness, and humor, although he is not exactly confident, especially with women. When Chiho (Asami Mizukawa)—an emerging photographer and former classmate of Fuku-Chan—reenters his life, it dredges up old wounds and reappraisal. “An engaging bittersweet comedy pleasure.”— Screen. (110 mins.)

FUKU-CHAN OF FUKUFUKU FLATS screens Saturday, December 6 at 2pm and Sunday, December 7 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Japanese Currents: NEKO SAMURAI

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Starring acclaimed actor Kazuki Kitamura as Kyutaro Madarame, a masterless Samurai, the madcap NEKO SAMURAI wonders aloud: “what if we mashed up two of Japan’s most beloved cultural icons, the samurai and the cat?” The result: one of the most delightfully cute comedies to come from Japan in some time. A dog-loving clan hires Madarame, penniless and out of work; his task is to assassinate the prized white cat of a rival, cat-loving clan (the two clans have been fiercely battling for centuries, we learn). But when Madarame melts at the sight of the cat, failing at his duty and kidnapping the feline, both clans seek to exact revenge—on the samurai himself, and the imminent showdown will test the newly-inaugurated “cat person.” (100 mins.)

NEKO SAMURAI screens Friday, December 5 at 7pm and Sunday, December 7 at 4:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our annual Japanese Currents series.  Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City association, with additional support from Lane Powell PC, Shigezo Restaurant, the Japan America Society of Oregon, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

World War I on Film: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

All Quiet on the Western Front 3

Adapting Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel of the atrocities of war for Universal, Lewis Milestone produced one of the studio’s most expensive, sweeping films—one that resonated deeply with a public still dealing with the aftermath of the great war and mired in severe economic depression. A group of German boys—who we first see, impressionable and naïve, at secondary school—are compelled to join the army “for the Fatherland,” following an impassioned speech by their headmaster. Paul (Lew Ayres), the moral center of the group, and the others are then sent through the various levels of hell in this searing tale of wartime horrors and their post-war repercussions, which has deep resonance today with its strong anti-war, pro-human message. (136 mins.)

35mm sync-silent preservation print with score, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

 

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT screens Thursday, November 20 at 7pm and Sunday, November 23 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of our World War I on Film series in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum’s exhibition This is War! Graphic Arts from the Great War, 1914-1918, running through December 14, 2014.
Tickets are available online or at the door.

KANO with Director Umin Boya in Attendance

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For every young baseball player in Japan, reaching Koshien, the Japanese High School Baseball Championship, is the ultimate dream. In the 1930s, when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, Koshien was also the dream of the hapless, multi-ethnic high school baseball team from rural Chiayi known as KANO, short for Kagi Agricultural and Forestry School. When a new coach reluctantly takes over, he turns the team and their entire town into believers that this winless team can reach a place they never thought possible. A true underdog sports story of living the dream, KANO was the winner of the Audience Award at both the 2014 Taipei and Osaka Asian Film Festivals. “Reps a landmark feat in the way it revisits Taiwan’s long-suppressed colonial past with great authenticity and resplendent style.”—Variety. (185 mins.)

Director Umin Boya in attendance. Co-presented with the Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland.

 

KANO screens Tuesday, November 18 at 7pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).
Tickets are available online or at the door.

The 41st Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival: GLENA w/ director Allan Luebke and star Glena Avila in attendance!

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“Glena Avila is a single mother from The Dalles who decided in her 30s to pursue a career as a mixed martial-arts fighter. Devoting herself to a grueling training regimen that puts her relationship with her boyfriend and her children at risk, and fending off a custody battle with her ex-husband and the foreclosure of her home, this 5-foot-4-inch, 115-pound dynamo never gives up in her quest for cage-match glory. Sounds like an inspirational, even sappy, Hollywood script treatment, right? Wrong. Luebke filmed Avila for more than a year and then spent three years editing the footage into this astonishing real-life saga of grit, tears, and vicious competitive combat.” —The Oregonian. (84 mins.)

GLENA screens Saturday, November 15 at 1pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The film is being presented as part of the 41st Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival.
Tickets are available online or at the door.

Our thanks to Festival sponsors and supporters: LAIKA, Pro Photo Supply, Oregon Arts Commission, The Portland Mercury, Regional Arts & Culture Council, The Jackson Foundation, McMenamins, North By Northwest, Potboiler Story Company, Chipotle Mexican Grill, KIND Healthy Snacks, Mission Control, Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television, Metro, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Koerner Camera Systems, and Funnelbox Production Studios.

Purchase tickets in advance and SAVE!!!  Advance tickets available exclusively from Mercury Tickets here: http://bit.ly/1wPahPi
Official NWFest41 microsite: http://festivals.nwfilm.org/nwfest41/

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