Friday, January 22, 2010

International Film Festival Rotterdam spotlights Yoichi Sai and Kiju Yoshida

by Chris MaGee

While making my way to Frankfurt in April for my second Nippon Connection Film Festival is a bit of a no brainer, I do have to say that my second choice this year for an overseas festival would have been the International Film Festival Rotterdam, but sadly there wasn't enough in the budget to do both. Now that the 39th edition of the Dutch film festival have announced their full line-up for 2010 I have to admit that I'm kicking myself a bit, or at least wishing that I had more money in the bank. The programmers at Rotterdam have a really keen sense when programming films from Japan and this year is no different.

The two main things that fans will notice immediately in this year's line-up are the full retrospective of the films of Yoichi Sai including his latest film, "Kamui", his Taleshi Kitano starring family saga "Blood and Bones", and the sublime prison comedy/ drama "Doing Time" (above). They've even included Nagisa Oshima's 1999 film "Gohatto (Taboo)" because the 60-year-old director starred as a commander in the Edo era militia, the Shinsen-gumi. Now that's a comprehensive retrospective! But it's not the only retrospective that Rotterdam has planned.

Besides the spotlight on the films of Yoichi Sai seven films by Japanese New Wave stalwart Yoshishige "Kiju" Yoshida have been programmed in the Signals Regained programme. Included will be such well known works as "The Affair at Akitsu", "Coup d'etat", "The Eighteen Who Stirred Up a Storm", "Eros + Massacre", "Good for Nothing", "A Story Written on Water" (trailer below), and "The Women in the Mirror".

It doesn't end there for Japanese films at Rotterdam though. Along with these retrospectives two Japanese films will be included in competition, Tsuki Inoue's feature-length directorial debut "Autumn Adagio" and Tsubota Yoshifumi's second feature film "Miyoko" based on the real-life relationship between manga artist Shinichi Abe and his wife/ muse Miyoko. Outside of competition will be Normandy-based butoh dancer Masaki Iwana's sophomore directorial effort "A Summer Family" in the fest's Bright Future programme.

You can check out all of what Rotterdam has in store for those attending the festival by checking their official website here. the 39th annual International Film Festival Rotterdam runs from January 27th to February 7th.

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