by Chris MaGee
Here is something that has been brewing for a while now, but has only finally come together. I am very proud to be helping out with ANGURA!, a fine group of folks headed up by writer, film curator, musician and Renaissance woman Naomi Hocura whose goal it is to showcase experimental and avant garde film, music and art from Japan both here in Toronto and across the country. ANGURA! has already worked to premiere Masaki Iwana's butoh feature film "Vermilion Souls" in Canada earlier this year and has also helped tour the "Seconds Under the Sun" programme of Japanese art animation to festivals across the country. Now, ANGURA! is very proud to announce that it will be presenting the Canadian Premiere of the film works of Kanai Katsu in the city on October 1st.
In the late 1960's and early 1970's Tokyo's underground film scene fermented some of the most enlightening, kaleidoscopic, bizarre and pioneering visions. Names such as Shuji Terayama, Toshio Matsumoto, Takahiko Iimura and Nobuhiko Obayashi defined this avant-garde cinema, but one filmmaker, 74-year-old Kanai Katsu, has continued to labour in the underground. Since Kanai independently released a limited edition retrospective DVD box-set of his films his work is being discovered by a whole new generation of film fans and art enthusiasts.
On October 1st starting at 8:30PM at 1960 Davenport Rd (Unit Rear B) ANGURA! will be presenting a double-bill of two of Kanai's defining films - 1969's "The Deserted Archipelago" and 1973's "The Kingdom". Winner of Grand Prize at the 1970 Nyon International Film Festival, "The Deserted Archipelago" plays out like a fever dream of the social and political unrest of the post ANPO-Treaty riots that nearly tore Japan apart during the 1960's. A lone man escapes a life of abuse in a Catholic monastery only to face male-pregnancy, insanity and a machine gun toting nun on his road to Japan's Parliament building. "The Kingdom" encorporates surrealism and pinku eiga techniques of momentary flashes of colour footage to take us on one young man's battle to fuse with the natural world and to conquer time.
Not only will this warehouse screening be bringing Kanai's films to Toronto (and Canada) for the first time, but this event will also be launching a series of planned events put on by ANGURA! throughout the coming months. To mark the occasion Toronto-based acousmatic / tape music / psychedelic duo Gastric Female Reflex will be performing plus Brandon Hocura, member of Toronto indie band Vowls will be DJing a post-screening party. Admission for this do-not-miss night of Japanese film and music is only $10.00... and that includes one free drink!
To whet your appetites for thie world of Kanai Katsu check out the trailer he put together for his independently produced DVD box set below.