Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free Japanese Film Screenings, Dec 8-10

The Japan Foundation and the Consulate-General of Japan are hosting a free screening series of Japanese films in Toronto.

The films being screened will be Shindo (Genius)Linda Linda LindaThe Summit: A Chronicle of Stones, and Always Sunset on 3rd St. 2.

All screenings will take place at the the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street.


Presented by The Japan Foundation & The Consulate-General of Japan 

Japanese Film Screenings in Toronto 

Location: The Royal Cinema
Address: 608 College St., Toronto
*Please note that the screenings will NOT be at the Bloor Cinema this year*
Admission: Free. New this year: Tickets will be handed out starting one hour before the film. Doors will open 30 minutes before the film.
Language: All films shown in Japanese with English subtitles
Inquiries: or (416) 966-1600

Thursday, December 8, 7 pm (Tickets available 6:00. Doors open 6:30)
Shindo (Genius) (2007)
Dir: Koji Hagiuda, PG, 120 min
Starring: Riko Narumi, Ken'ichi Matsuyama and Satomi Tezuka
"Classical fans... will have much to listen to (including Wao's pounding) -- Shindo even bills itself as the first true Japanese classical music film.The reason to see it, though, is Narumi's performance, which is forceful, but somehow mysterious, like the fierce-eyed girls painted by Yoshitomo Nara. -The Japan Times

A fierce and conflicted prodigy, 13-year-old Uta plays the piano with effortless talent but has been in a slump since the disappearance of her father, also a classical pianist. She strikes up a friendship with the less-talented but enthusiastic Wao, 19, whose cacophonous piano playing has been driving his neighbours crazy. Wao is faced with two choices- get into music school, or take over his parents' vegetable stand- so Uta helps him prepare for his music school entrance recital by taking him to her abandoned house to use her father's grand piano, which she can no longer afford to keep. Despite Uta's insistence on neglecting her own talents, she is gradually drawn back to the piano as she learns more about the mysterious circumstances of her father's death..

Shindo's young actors have already established themselves as stars in many films. Ken'ichi Matsuyama will be well-known to Canadian fans of Japanese films for his lead roles in Linda Linda Linda, Detroit Metal City, Nana, Deathnote, Gantz and Norwegian Wood.

Riku Narumi has had starring roles in Takashi Miike's The Great Yokai War and Ryuichi Inomata's Shodo Girls, as well as playing Hagumi in the popular TV series Honey and Clover.

Friday, December 9, 7 pm (Tickets available 6:00. Doors open 6:30)
Linda Linda Linda (2005)
Dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita, PG,114 min
Starring: Doona Bae, Aki Maeda, Yu Kashii, Shiori Sekine, Takayo Mimura, Masahiro Komoto

-"It's the kind of high-school movie about kids and music that Hollywood would never be able to capture with such intimacy, nuance and restraint." -Seattle Times

"If The Beatles were teen girls starring in a John Hughes picture made with a distinctly Japanese attention to the comedy of everyday life, the movie showcasing it all would go something like this." -Boston Globe

In the days just before the school culture festival, a girls' rock band is facing a dilemma. They planned on playing an original piece of music but three days before the festival, the guitarist appears to have broken her finger and an argument has broken out between two members.

While the remaining three girls are pondering these problems, they hear 'Linda Linda Linda' by the famous Japanese rock band Blue Hearts and decide they want to play it at the festival. Reshuffling their lineup and recruiting a Korean exchange student as their vocalist, they practice day and night to learn the song.. Despite their exhaustion, a deep friendship develops among the four girls.

Ranked as the 6th best film on the 79th Kinema Junpo best ten list for 2005, Linda Linda Linda uses minimalism and a level-headed approach to convey director Yamashita's ideas to the audience. Since its release, the film has received rave reviews from critics and gained many fans overseas.

Saturday, December 10, 2:45 pm (Tickets available 1:45. Doors open 2:15.)
The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones (2009)
Dir. Daisaku Kimura, PG, 140 min
Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Teruyuki Kagawa, Toru Nakamura, Ryuhei Matsuda, Aoi Miyazaki, Koji Yakusho

"A stirring, visually pleasing yarn about a dedicated team of mountaineers, Japanese period pic 'Mt. Tsurugidake' largely succeeds in combining lofty themes with old-fashioned adventure and gripping drama. " -Variety Magazine

The year is 1907. Shibasaki, renowned for his skills as a surveyor, is suddenly called to General Staff Headquarters, where he receives orders to conquer Mt. Tsurugidake, the last uncharted region of Japan. At the time, the survey unit attached to General Staff Headquarters was in the process of charting Japan and had already created maps after triangulation of numerous mountain peaks. Aside from mountains climbing of which was prohibited for religious reasons, the survey group has climbed almost all the mountains in the country with the exception of Tsurugidake. Moreover, shortly after its inauguration, the Japan Alpine Club was already planning the tackle Tsurugidake and the army survey unit could not be seen to lose out to a civilian organization.

After receiving his orders, Shibasaki tackled the challenge of reaching the peak of Tsurugidake together with Chojiro, a local guide of good character familiar with the Tsurugidake area. Can they achieve the daunting task of crossing the precipitous mountain range and planting the survey records?

Saturday, December 10, 6 pm (Tickets available 5:00. Doors open 5:30.)
Always Sunset on 3rd St. 2 (2007)
Dir. Takashi Yamazaki, PG, 146 min
Starring: Shin'ichi Hatori,Maki Horikita and Kazuki Koshimizu

"While many sequels only evoke nostalgia for their predecessors, 'Always: Sunset on Third Street 2' shines brighter on almost all fronts. Second installment of the family-friendly dramedy set in '50s Tokyo has a less episodic structure and eclipses the first outing's already impressive visual effects to create a more vivid embrace of the charming ensemble." -Variety Magazine

Following last year's successful screening of Always: Sunset on Third St. (2005) in Hamilton, the 2007 sequel, Always: Sunset on Third St. 2, returns to the same Tokyo neighbourhood and its memorable characters. This heart-warming, award-winning drama features stellar performances from some of Japan's top actors and actresses, and the digitally enhanced set design, says Variety, 'creat[es] a feeling of living in a bygone Tokyo rather than just watching a movie set there.'

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