12/02/2022 - 31/03/2022

Japanese Film Screenings in Cambridge Feb/Mar 2022

In the 40th Cambridge Film Festival (CFF40), I was thrilled to present a season of contemporary Japanese film. Yusuke Hirota's Poupelle of Chimney Town provided a beautifully animated steampunk adventure, Allegra Pacheco took home the CFF40 Special Recognition Award for directing Salaryman, and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car has since continued on its journey to great critical acclaim.

With the support of the Japan Foundation, we will now screen a series of Japanese films in February and March as part of the UK-wide Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, in conjunction with Jesus and Downing Colleges. This kicks off on the 12th February with MOTOKI Katsuhide's Iwane: Sword of Serenity - a story of sword fighting, love and loyalty. A double-bill of SODE Yukiko's Aristocrats and OKITA Shuichi's Ora, Ora Be Goin' Alone then follows on 20th Feb. The programme wraps on the 1st March with a screening of The Voice of Sin.

Iwane: Sword of Serenity film screening 12th February

Iwane: Sword of Serenity (Inemuri Iwane, 居眠り磐音), 2019, 121 min, 15

Directed by: MOTOKI Katsuhide

Starring: MATSUZAKA Tori, KIMURA Fumino, YOSHINE Kyoko

Japanese with English subtitles

Frankopan Hall, West Court, Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BL, 12th February, 8pm

Adapted for the screen from YASUHIDE Saeki’s best-selling novels, Iwane: Sword of Serenity is a highlight of the modern jidaigeki genre. SAKAZAKI Iwane (MATSUZAKA Tori) is seemingly on a path to greatness – he is a well-respected samurai, admired for his courage, chivalry, and sword-fighting – and is soon to wed his fiancée, Nao (YOSHINE Kyoko). He becomes entangled in a tragic incident, however, which culminates in the death of his two childhood friends and has no choice but to give up his current life. Leaving town and Nao behind, Iwane becomes a wandering ronin drifting to Edo. Getting by on brief, menial work, he lands a promising role as a bodyguard for a respected money exchanger Imazuya. Iwane soon discovers a plot to sabotage his new employer however and will do all he can to save those whom have given him a new chance in life.

Book tickets for Iwane: Sword of Serenity here.

Aristocrats & Ora, Ora Be Goin' Alone film screening 20th February

An afternoon of Japanese film at the Howard Theatre in Downing College on Sunday 20th February with a 3.30pm screening of OKITA Shuichi's Ora, Ora Be Goin' Alone, followed by a 6pm screening of SODE Yukiko's Aristocrats: Aristocrats (Anoko wa kizoku, あのこは貴族) 2021, 124 min, 12A

Directed by: SODE Yukiko

Starring: KADOWAKI Mugi, MIZUHARA Kiko, KORA Kengo

Japanese with English subtitles

Howard Theatre, Downing College, Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1QF, 20th February, 6pm

SODE Yukiko (Good Stripes) directs this elegant, distilled adaptation of YAMAUCHI Mariko’s novel, deconstructing modern Japanese depictions of gender, class, and the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side. While Hanako (KADOWAKI Mugi) has enjoyed a privileged upbringing and a luxurious lifestyle amongst Tokyo’s wealthy elite, Miki (MIZUHARA Kiko) has had to blaze her own trail, moving to the capital from a small town and building a career in event planning. Neither can be said to be completely free from troubles, however. Hanako feels the pressure to keep up with family expectations and their desire for her to marry suitably. Miki’s financial problems force her to drop out of a prestigious university. When Hanako and Miki's paths are set on a collision course over the affections of aristocratic lawyer Koichiro (KORA Kengo), they realise that there may be another future available to them both. Ora, Ora Be Goin' Alone (Ora Ora de hitori igumo, おらおらでひとりいぐも) 2020, 137 min, 12A

Directed by: OKITA Shuichi

Starring: TANAKA Yuko, AOI Yu

Japanese with English subtitles

20th February, 3.30pm

In a thoroughly fun and engaging style, OKITA Shuichi portrays the immense positivity of a woman determined to live well and enjoy her old age. Septuagenarian Momoko (TANAKA Yuko) has led a good life, having moved from the Japanese countryside to thriving Tokyo in the year of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and married the love of her life with whom she raised two children. But her plans to live out her golden years with her husband are cut short when he dies suddenly. Momoko thus finds herself living alone and mysterious figures and voices soon appear to liven up her daily routine with song and dance. OKITA's adaptation of the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel by author WAKATAKE Chisako, shines an empathetic light on loneliness and preserverance in modern life.

Book tickets for Aristocrats & Ora, Ora Be Goin' Alone here.

The Voice of Sin film screening 1st March

The Voice of Sin (Tsumi no koe, 罪の声), 2020, 142 min, 15

Directed by: DOI Nobuhiro Starring: OGURI Shun, HOSHINO Gen, SHINOHARA Yukiko

Japanese with English subtitles

Frankopan Hall, West Court, Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BL, 1st March, 8pm

Inspired by a shocking cold case that rocked Japan. DOI Nobuhiro's award-winning film The Voice of Sin, sees Eiji (OGURI Shun) as a determined newspaper reporter, writing an investigative piece on a high-profile unsolved extortion case dating back over thirty years, which involved the blackmail of several confectionary companies by a criminal gang. A tailor living in Kyoto, Toshiya (HOSHINO Gen), makes a strange discovery when going through the possessions of his late father – a cassette tape recording of his voice from childhood with a threatening message. Was he involved in the case? As both men try to solve their own mysteries, their paths soon cross and they face the surprising truth behind the crime.

Book tickets for The Voice of Sin here.

Keep up to date with the latest Cambridge Film Festival news on the University Arms Journal. Further information is available via camfilmfest.com and social media @camfilmfest (Twitter & Instagram), /cambridgefilmfestival (Facebook).