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Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival

21st September 2018 – 23rd September 2018 all-day
King's College, Lucas Lecture Theatre (Strand Campus), Close-Up Film Centre and the Barbican Cinema, London
Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival
Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival @ King's College, Lucas Lecture Theatre (Strand Campus), Close-Up Film Centre and the Barbican Cinema, London

JAEFF reveals this year’s exceptional line-up!

From Friday 21 September until Sunday 23 September, JAEFF will be screening 5 classic feature-length films paired with 4 outstanding contemporary shorts rarely screened in the UK.

Join us for a weekend of discovery, as we focus on themes of youth and protest in Japanese cinema from the 1960s and 70s new wave period to today.

Tickets are now on sale!

Do not miss the opportunity to attend our screenings as well as our free admission panel discussion with world renowned experts in Japanese cinema including film historians, academics, and curators!

Friday 21 September 2018 – 6.45pm – King’s College, Lucas Lecture Theatre (Strand Campus)

Opening night gala is an exclusive screening of Ko Nakihara’s feature debut Crazed Fruit – one of the first Japanese New Wave films and a fitting tribute to the recent passing of acting legend Masahiko Tsugawa.

This film will be paired with a short experimental piece, Your Voice Came Out Through My Throat, by award winning artist Yamashiro Chikako.

Book here.

Saturday 22 September 2018 – 6pm – Close-Up Film Centre

Forest of Oppression with extended introduction
+ video clips
Japan, 1967, Dir Ogawa Shinsuke, Documentary, 105min.
Digital presentation

Shinsuke Ogawa’s astonishing documentary takes the audience behind the barricades and into the heat of running battles with riot police in this chronicle of the student occupation movement in 1967 Japan at the Takasaki City University of Economics.

Perhaps the greatest chronicler of the student movement in Japan, Ogawa would live among his subjects, his camera moving among them. This raw and immediate filmmaking style presents a grounds-eye view of the struggle, often capturing clashes with riot police in the thick of the action.

The boundary between filmmaker and subject is increasingly eroded, mirroring Ogawa’s unwavering faith of the power of collective action and living – the Ogawa Pro filming collective itself was run on socialist principles, with members voting of production decisions.

Forest of Oppression will be introduced by Ricardo Matos Cabo, an independent film programmer and researcher, who will give a short illustrated presentation about the first collective films made by Ogawa Shinsuke and talk about the student movement in Japan in the 1960s.

Book here.

Saturday 22 September 2018 – 8.30pm – Close-Up Film Centre

Desktop Treasure
Japan, 2014,
Dir. UMMMI., 9 min,
Digital presentation

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief
Dir. Nagisa Oshima, 96 min,
35mm presentation

Nagisa Oshima weaves a tale of ideological book thievery, situationist performance, fantasy Noh theatre productions, sexual revolution, and personal liberation in this Art Theatre Guild (ATG) classic.Diary of a Shinjuku Thief was heavily influenced by the post-Shingeki theatre movement, whose main practitioners were Juro Kara and Shūji Terayama. Rejecting the long modern trajectory toward “realist” theatre, these playwrights turned toward premodern theatrical forms, including Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku. Much like Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide, this film questions the relationship between reality and art, sending the protagonists into plays-within-a-film and featuring actual people as themselves in ad-libbed scenes. Shinjuku was a major center for the art-theatre scene in the late 1960s, and several settings remain largely unchanged today, including Kinokuniya and the plaza outside the east exit of the station.

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief is paired here with UMMMI.’s Desktop Treasure, a film which attempts to go beyond borders through mixing up personal areas of the Internet by bringing out online and analogue records, personal spaces lived in by the actor, old blogs and e-mail log in screens, and mixed video footages of various qualities.

Book here.

Sunday 23 September 2018- 2pm – Barbican Cinema 3

Panel Discussion – The Tremors of the Japanese New Wave

A special discussion event in support of the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival’s programme of youth orientated films from the new wave period of the 1960s and 70s.
This free admission panel event will bring together world renowned experts in Japanese cinema including film historians, academics, and curators. Following the festival themes of youth and protest, they will address questions surrounding of the legacy of the cultural and social upheaval in Japan in the 1960s and the thematic and stylistic influences from the Japanese avant-garde.
Given the current cinematic climate, the question of gender representation in cinema is more prescient than ever. The panel will elucidate on the male dominated Japanese New Wave and discuss how filmmaking in Japan might, or might not, be diversifying. A factor that is reflected in this year’s JAEFF line-up.

Free admission, booking essential.

Book here.

Sunday 23 September 2018- 4pm – Barbican Cinema 3

Studio Sunrise
Japan 2017, Dir Kioto Aoki, 3 min, Digital presentation
Bad Boys
不良少年Japan 1961, Dir Susumu Hani,
89 min, 35mm presentation

Susumu Hani blurs the line between fiction and documentary in his feature film debut. Bad Boys depicts the disaffected lives of “sun tribe” delinquents (similar to US “greasers”). Filmed in a dispassionate cinema-vérité style, Bad Boys chronicles the militaristic daily routines of reform school life with little sense of release or salvation (both for inmates and audience). Relief from the grind is found through occasional triumphs of collective action, which point to Hani’s Marxist credentials, and in avant-garde musical pioneer Tōru Takemitsu’s aching score.Bad Boys is paired here with Kioto Aoki’s Studio Sunrise: a reflected self-portrait imitating movements of the sun.

Special thanks to Iwanami Audio-Visual Media Inc. for facilitating this showing of Bad Boys, and to the Japan Foundation for the 35mm print.

Book here.

Sunday 23 September 2018- 6.15pm – Barbican Cinema 3
Closing Gala
Looking for Jiro
USA 2011, Dir Tina Takemoto,
6 min, Digital presentation
Funeral Parade of Roses
Japan 1969,Dir Toshio Matsumoto, 105 min,
Digital presentation
[contains flashing imagery]

Transgender actor Pîtâ gives an astonishing performance as Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet – where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda for the attentions of club owner Gonda. One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time, and freely mixes documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons. Funeral Parade of Roses is a celebration of youth and subcultures, a condemnation of intolerance, and a one-of-kind cinematic experience.This key work of queer cinema screens in a new 4K digital restoration and is paired with Looking for Jiro, a performance video by artist Tina Takemoto inspired by the real-life case of a gay Japanese immigrant interned in the US during WWII.

Book here.

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