by Chris MaGee
It always amazes me how the UK has played such a key role in popularizing Japanese films around the globe. Think about it. Folks like Midnight Eye's Jasper Sharp, Snowblood Apple's Mandi Apple and now defunct distributor Arts Magic all played a huge part in bringing the names of Takashi Miike, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hideo Nakata, Hisayasu Sato, Toshiaki Toyoda and Rokuro Mochizuki to film fans worldwide, and with current folks like Third Window Film's Adam Torel, independent curator Julian Ross and the Terracotta Far East Film Festival the UK is still a major avenue for films coming from Japan to the West. This connection makes the news of this year's touring programme put on by the Japan Foundation UK and curated by Jasper Sharp all the more apt.
Japanese film fans in London, Belfast, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Bristol and Sheffield can look forward to seeing some of the best films to come out of Japan in the past 20 years thanks to "Back to the Future: Japanese Cinema Since the Mid-90s". As Jasper Sharp describes it at his website this touring programme goal was "to take a couple influential directors active in the early 1990s, a handful who hit their stride in the early part of the new millennium and two to watch for now" and bring them to the big screen. Who are these select filmmakers? Takashi Miike (The Bird People in China), Isshin Inudo (Josee, the Tiger and the Fish), Yuki Tanada (One Million Yen Girl), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure), Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda, Linda, Linda), Isao Yukisada (Go) and Yuya Ishii (Sawako Decides). Not bad at all, right?
To get a look at when all of you in the UK can catch these films touring as part of "Back to the Future: Japanese Cinema Since the Mid-90s" follow the link to Jasper Sharp's website above. And to get yourselves geared up for these screenings check out the trailer for Yuya Ishii's film "Sawako Decides" below.