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Monday, July 11, 2011

Japanese Films @ UP Baguio (FREE)

U r invited to watch the following Japanese films @ the Bulwagang Juan Luna, University of the Philippines Baguio (film synopses copied from flyer):


10AM: SANJURO (1962, 96 minutes). One of KUROSAWA's films, it shows him relaxed and having fun, deconstructing the samurai film genre with tongue firmly in cheek.  Very well photographed, with some fluid cinematography and effortlessly artful group compositions that only he seems able to do.  Toshiro slices apart his enemies in various battle scenes with nary a bloodstain and the folks at Toho should have sprung for a few squibs.  All is set right in the brilliant final swordfight, which should be worth watching.

2PM: WATERBOYS (2001, 91 minutes) by SHINOBU YAGUCHI. Based on a real story of the success of the Kawagoe High School Male Synchronized Swimming Team that made some noise in the news in 1999.  The team behind the hit "Shall We Dance?" and director Shinobu Yaguchi (director of the successful comedy "Adrenaline Drive") auditioned hundreds of young actors requiring only good looks and the ability to swim.  The result was five major characters who weren't too original but together formed quite a group. Our heroes are a former basketball player who failed to make the school's team (Sato), the classic geek who uses math for just about everything (Kanazawa), the fitness-obsessed muscle-boy (Ohta) who trains in hilarious ways, the classic shy fellow who loves one of the other boys, and the cute leader who gets the girl at the end (Suzuki).  It has a weird charm.

4PM: MATAGI (Old Bear Hunter, 1981, 103 minutes) by TOSHIO GOTO.  An old man is attacked by a bear in the snowy mountains of northern Japan and vows to hunt down the marauder before any other villagers are hurt or killed.  His grandson hears of the incredible size of the bear and is filled with desire to join the hunt.  When the extraordinary bear is killed, it is buried in the snow as an offering to the mountain god, and not taken for its precious pelt or life-sustaining meat.  The film won the Director's Prize from the UNICEF Jury for Children's Film at the 1982 Berlinale.


10AM: STING OF DEATH (1990, 115 minutes) by KOHEI OGURI. Miho has a mental breakdown after she learns her husband Toshio has a mistress. The breakdown becomes a kind of ordered madness where she is alternatively vindictive and self-effacing to the brink of suicide.  Filled with guilt, Toshio treats her with gentle patience and love.  The pair becomes locked in a contest to see which of the can sacrifice more for the other.

2PM: THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI (2002, 129 minutes) by YOJI YAMADA. Presents a touching cinematic masterpiece about love and agony starring Sanada Hiroyuki (The Last Samurai) and Miyazawa Rie.  It displays the complexicities of the ancient Japanese culture and art of sword fighting. In the Edo Period, a samurai struggles between supporting his poor family and his duty as a samurai.  Since the death of his wife, he now has to raise his two young girls, deal with his sick mother at home and 50 bales of rice a year.  Then he meets his childhood friend and they might have a chance to make a new start together.

4PM: A BRIEF MESSAGE FROM THE HEART (1995, 117 minutes) by SHINICHIRO SAWAI.  Hiroshi finds his sister's short message on a laptop to their mother who abandoned them 18 years ago.  He sends the message to a collection held by Fukui Prefecture and wins a prize.  He searches for their mother, while his sister cannot forgive their mother for  abandoning them.  He is hit by a car while saving a kitten.  The episodic narrative gradually fills in the background to this message.  The sister goes from being a design company employee to a restorer of medieval art works.  He is a university student in Tokyo.  Their  father died of heart attack and never spoke about the divorce with their mother.  Hiroshi meets his mother and tries to bring her back to the family, despite his sister's violent objection.

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