Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Theatre Scorpion" brings three weeks of rare Japanese experimental films to the UK

by Chris MaGee

Julian Ross. Know the name? No? Well, you should, and very shortly you will. There are a lot of Japanese film enthusiasts, programmers, specialists and dare we say experts out there in the world, but UK-based Julian Ross, a PhD student at the Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds, is one who is making some big waves and bringing some truly rare films to people in England. The latest project that Ross has been programming is an upcoming screening event dubbed "Theatre Scorpio: Japanese Independent and Experimental Cinema of the 1960's" happening at London's Bethnal Green Working Men's Club (BGWMC 42-44 Pollard Row) between July 12th and 31st.

Named after the underground space of the Art Theater Guild's 1960's headquarters, the Art Theatre Shinjuku Bunka, "Scorpio Theatre" will bring a truly rare and fascinating line-up of films made by some of the leading lights of Japan's 60's avant-garde. Included in the programme will be works by Nobuhiko Obayashi (yes, the "House" Obayashi), Motohiro Jonouchi, Masao Adachi, Kanai Katsu and even Nagisa Oshima. What's best is that veteran surrealist film-maker and Tokyo Image Forum instructor Kanai Katsu will be in attendance on Thursday, July 28th at 8:00PM to introduce his films "The Desert Archipelago" and "Good-bye". Having been involved in premiering Kanai-san's films in Canada last year I can attest to the fact A) these are films you simply cannot miss, and B) that Kanai-san is a true innovator and gentleman. Add to that that Ross really knows his stuff and you have a great couple of weeks in London.

You can get full details for "Theatre Scorpio: Japanese Independent and Experimental Cinema of the 1960's", presented by the Close-Up Film Centre and the Japan Foundation UK here.

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