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Nippon Connection 2012 – Festival Program complete
12th Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt am Main, May 2–6, 2012
142 Films / 34 Cultural Events / Focus: Japan after the Disaster of 3/11
The program of the twelfth edition of Japanese film festival Nippon Connection is complete! 142 short and feature films invite you to get to know various aspects of Japan from May 2 to 6, 2012. At the biggest festival for Japanese cinema worldwide, numerous films will be shown in Frankfurt for the first time outside of Japan, with many international premieres screened in the attendance of the film-makers. The audience can also go on a discovery tour through the diversified cultural program, experiencing samples of Japanese everyday life as well as the extraordinary in 34 events.
One focus of the festival program is directed at different artistic approaches to the disaster that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. Films, lectures, and exhibits are dedicated to the trauma and the transformations brought about by the triple disaster. Documentary films report the extent of destruction (THE SKETCH OF MUJO by Koichi OMIYA), direct the camera toward the lives of the survivors (FUKUSHIMA: MEMORIES OF A LOST LANDSCAPE by Yojyu MATSUBAYASHI), or sensitively accompany the rebuilding of a devastated holiday resort only 30 miles away from the damaged nuclear plant (FUKUSHIMA HULA GIRLS by Masaki KOBAYASHI). For the production of 3.11 TOMORROW, many renowned Japanese directors followed the call of Sendai Short Film Festival to reflect the disaster and shot a total of 42 personal short films, all 3 minutes, 11 seconds long. A panel discussion with Japanese film-makers will direct the attention to the influences the disaster had on their work. In addition, a series of lectures organized by the Department of Japanese Studies at Goethe-University, Frankfurt, will also deal with Japanese perspectives on the events of March 11 and their consequences. German director and author Jörg Buttgereit will present his radio play THE BEAST OF FUKUSHIMA in a live show with nine actors. This work combines fantasy elements from the tradition of monster stories with the live media coverage of the very real disaster. In the exhibit JAPAN : SHIFTED, curated by Frankfurt-based artist Jiré E. Gözen, German and Japanese artists tell very personal stories of last year’s events, going beyond the media images.
This year’s NIPPON RETRO will shed a light on the growing protest movement in Japan after the triple disaster, drawing comparisons with historical events under the title of “Visual Resistance: Protest Culture in Japanese Documentary Film”. Important documentary film-makers like Shinsuke OGAWA and Noriaki TSUCHIMOTO accompanied the protest movements of the 1960s and 70s. Some of these films are shown for the first time with subtitles at Nippon Connection Film Festival.
Despite the difficult circumstances of last year, which have also affected Japanese film production, Nippon Connection once more presents a varied program of exciting new films. Established film-makers are represented in this year’s NIPPON CINEMA section with impressing works. The festival will be opened by Academy Award nominee POSTCARD, a touching anti-war drama. 99-year-old directing veteran Kaneto SHINDO takes a glance at the era of World War II in what he affirms will be his last film. Thus, he opens the round of films competing for our NIPPON CINEMA AWARD, donated by Bankhaus Metzler and endowed with 2,000 EUR. In the competition, he will face a number of well-established colleagues. Cult director Takashi MIIKE sends his terrific history drama HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI, which also competed at Cannes in 2011. Star comedian Hitoshi MATSUMOTO (DAINIPPONJIN, SYMBOL) seeks for the roots of humor in his absurd comedy SAYA ZAMURAI. As a star guest, we expect internationally renowned director and actor Shinya TSUKAMOTO (TETSUO) to personally present his drama KOTOKO, which has been awarded in Venice. Yusuke ISEYA, one of the most popular young actors in Japan, convinces with his opulent and brilliantly cast directing debut FISH ON LAND.
Besides showcasing established directors, our festival is also dedicated to new talents and trends in Japanese cinema in the NIPPON VISIONS section. Many up-coming talents will travel all the way to Frankfurt to introduce their works personally. Ryusuke HAMAGUCHI will present his theater adaptation INTIMACY as an international premiere, showing the emotional entanglements of young couples in moments between intimacy, loneliness, and yearning. Kohei SANADA brings with him SHING SHING SHING, his graduation film from Tokyo University of Arts, while Kei UMEZAWA presents his audacious documentary film COMING OUT STORY about a transgender person in Japan. These and nine more films compete for the NIPPON VISIONS AWARD, awarded for the third time in cooperation with JVTA (Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy) and bringing about a free subtitling for the laureate’s next film. The winner is chosen by an international expert jury: festival director and journalist Chris MaGee from Toronto, director Yonghi YANG (OUR HOMELAND) from Tokyo, and journalist Andreas Platthaus from Frankfurt (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Of course, nobody would want to miss Japanese animation films in the Nippon Connection program. As a German premiere we will show CHILDREN WHO CHASE LOST VOICES FROM DEEP BELOW by Makoto SHINKAI, creating a breath-taking universe by highly complex animation. SPACES IN BETWEEN – INDIE ANIMATED SHORTS FROM JAPAN is a program dedicated to artistic animation, presenting a selection of extraordinary animation short films, among which you will find MUYBRIDGE’S STRINGS, the new film by multiple award winner Koji YAMAMURA, as well as Berlinale award winning THE GREAT RABBIT by Atsushi WADA, who will comment extensively on his work in a film-maker talk session. The program J-STAR 11 by the London-based onedotzero festival comprises many exciting new music videos and animated short films.
The youngest Nippon fans can find out how an animation film is actually made in a workshop organized in cooperation with the German Film Museum. After the great success in 2011, we will again feature a special program for children between 6 and 12 years. This NIPPON KIDS section not only offers a film program with popular animation series but also incites interactive participation – children can try out the elaborate preparation of bento lunch boxes or origami paper folding as well as Japanese games and toys while their parents explore the festival.
With 34 events, the NIPPON CULTURE section features traditional culture as well as innovative and experimental trends from the Japanese art scene. An exhibit at Kunstraum Westend is dedicated to calligraphy representing both an artistic expression and a Zen practice to become one with the brush. In various workshops you can learn about the tea ceremony, the history of the kimono, the playing of taiko drums, the secrets of Japanese sword fighting or the preparation of delicious wagashi sweets.
An almost forgotten art will be brought back to life by benshi (traditional film narrator) Ichiro KATAOKA. Being a part of the Nippon Connection line-up for the second time, this year he brings with him to Frankfurt traditional music group OTOWAZA. The musicians will not only accompany the silent film JIROKICHI THE RAT together with benshi KATAOKA, they will also present their interpretations of modern pop tunes by Kraftwerk and other bands played on traditional Japanese instruments in a special concert. Till Weingärtner, lauded in Japan, will present a Japanese version of ambitious “sit-down-comedy” known as rakugo, in which he impersonates different roles and enacts humorous stories in dialogues.
The festival guests and patrons can also enjoy a shiatsu massage or a variety of delicacies of Japanese cuisine. Festival classics like the karaoke-ramen bar and our video games arcade are sure to get you in the right mood for wild and long festival nights. On Friday, an excessive live show by the band Gothika will get people moving, and hot underground DJ SiSeN will turn the festival center into a Tokyo-decadance-event!
The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized in voluntary work by a team of 50 members of the non-profit Nippon Connection association. Once more, we expect around 16,000 visitors this year.
Students’ House, Goethe-University/Bockenheim Campus, Jügelstrasse 1, Frankfurt am Main
Cinema Orfeo’s Erben, Hamburger Allee 45, Frankfurt am Main
Cinema at German Film Museum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt am Main
AusstellungsHalle 1A, Schulstrasse 1a, Frankfurt am Main
Kunstraum Westend, Beethovenstrasse 35, Frankfurt am Main
Tickets are available at all AD-Ticket offices in Germany.
Online: www.nipponconnection.com, www.adticket.de
Ticket Hotline: +49 (0)69 407 6222 580 (Mon to Fri, 8:30-19:30 and Sat, 10:00-14:00)
A Honeymoon in Hell: Mr. and Mrs. Oki’s Fabulous Trip (Okike no tanoshii ryoko) by Ryuichi HONDA, J 2011
Casting Blossoms to the Sky (Kono sora no hana: Nagaoka hanabi monogatari) by Nobuhiko OBAYASHI, J 2011
Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Hoshi wo ou kodomo) by Makoto SHINKAI, J 2011
Deadball by Yudai YAMAGUCHI, J 2011
The Egoists (Keibetsu) by Ryuichi HIROKI, J 2011
Fish on Land (Seiji: Riku no sakana) by Yusuke ISEYA, J 2011
Fukushima Hula Girls (Ganbappe fura garu! Fukushima ni ikiru. Kanojotachi no ima) by Masaki KOBAYASHI, J 2011
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (Ichimei) by Takashi MIIKE, J/UK 2011
Kotoko by Shinya TSUKAMOTO, J 2011
Love Strikes! (Moteki) by Hitoshi ONE, J 2011
Monsters Club by Toshiaki TOYODA, J 2011
My Back Page by Nobuhiro YAMASHITA, J 2011
No Man’s Zone (Mujinchitai) by Toshi FUJIWARA, J/F 2012
Our Homeland (Kazoku no kuni) by Yonghi YANG, J 2012
Postcard (Ichimai no hagaki) by Kaneto SHINDO, J 2010
Ringing in Their Ears (Gekijoban Shinsei Kamattechan rokkun roru wa nariyamanai) by Yu IRIE, J 2011
Saya Zamurai by Hitoshi MATSUMOTO, J 2011
Sukiyaki (Gokudo meshi) by Tetsu MAEDA, J 2011
Tada’s Do-It-All House (Mahoro ekimae Tada benriken) by Tatsushi OMORI, J 2011
The Woodsman and the Rain (Kitsutsuki to ame) by Shuichi OKITA, J 2011
3.11 TOMORROW (short films)
About the Pink Sky (Momoiro sora o) by Keiichi KOBAYASHI, J 2011
Come As You Are (Soro nante kudaranai) by Kouta YOSHIDA, J 2011
Coming Out Story by Kei UMEZAWA, J 2011
Die! Directors, Die! (Shine! Shine! Shinema) by Makoto SHINOZAKI, J 2011
Encounters by Takashi IITSUKA, J 2011
Dressing Up by Yuka YASUKAWA, J 2012
Fukushima: Memories of a Lost Landscape (Souma kanka : Dai ichi bu - Ubawareta tochi no kioku) by Yojyu MATSUBAYASHI, J 2011
Goodbye (or Not!) (Moshikashitara Bye, Bye!) by Quanah TAKAHATA & Hirohito TAKINO, J 2011
Intimacy (Shinmitsusa) by Ryusuke HAMAGUCHI, J 2011
It May Be that Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve – Masao Adachi by Philippe Grandreux, F 2011
KanZeOn by Neill Cantwell and Tim Grabham, J 2011
onedotzero: J-Star 11 (short films)
Project Dengeki: My Baby by Nagisa ISOGAI, J 2010 / Thunderbolt by Ai WATANABE, J 2012 / My Sis Violates an Insect Taboo by Masaki DAIKUHARA, J 2010
River by Ryuichi HIROKI, J 2011
Shing Shing Shing by Kohei SANADA, J 2011
The Sketch of Mujo (Mujo sobyo) by Koichi OMIYA, J 2011
The Sound of Light (Hikari no oto) by Jyuichiro YAMASAKI, J 2011
Friends of Jack (Jack no yujin) by Shintaro NAKASHIMA, J 2012
Indie Animated Shorts From Japan: Spaces in Between (short films)
Sugar Baby by Hiroki KUMAMOTO, J 2011
Ranshin by Keisuke TOMINAGA, J 2011
Zero Man vs the Half Virgin (Hanbun shojo to zero otoko) by Sakichi SATO, J 2011
Gewaltopia: Motoharu JONOUCHI’s Images of Protest by Motoharu JONOUCHI, J 1961-1968
The Oppressed Students (Assatsu no mori; Takasaki Keizai Daigaku toso no kiroku) by Shinsuke OGAWA, J 1967
Summer in Narita (Nihon kaiho sensen: Sanrizuka no natsu) by Shinsuke OGAWA, J 1967
Prehistory of the Partisans (Paruchizan zenshi) by Noriaki TSUCHIMOTO, J 1969
Underground Square (Chika hiroba) by Keiya OUCHIDA, J 1969
Minamata: The Victims and Their World (Minamata: Kanja-san to sono sekai) by Noriaki TSUCHIMOTO, J 1971
Amateur Riot (Shiroto no ran) by Yuki NAKAMURA, J 2007
Yasukuni by Ying LI, J 2007
Chibi Maruko Chan by Tsutomu SHIBAYAMA, J 1990
Rita & Whatsit (Rita to nantoka) by Jun TAKAGI, J 2010
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