SciFi Japan

    Japan Film Festival - Los Angeles: April 10-26

    Japan Film Festival–Los Angeles 2009 Announces Full Program Line-up Source: The Japan America Media Association Special thanks to Andrea Prieto

    The Japan America Media Association presents the second annual Japan Film Festival–Los Angeles. The Japan Film Festival–Los Angeles 2009 will be held from Friday, April 10 – Sunday, April 19 in Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles, and Irvine. 22 feature films in total will be shown, including a number of both North American and Los Angeles Premieres. Dates and Venues April 10 (Fri) to 16 (Thu) Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex (Santa Monica) 1332 2nd Street Santa Monica, 90401 April 17 (Fri) to 19 (Sun) Downtown Independent (Downtown Los Angeles) 251 S. Main Street Los Angeles, California 90012 April 25 (Sat) and 26 (Sun) Starplex Cinema (Irvine) 4626 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604 Ticket Prices General Admission $10 Students / Seniors (60+) / Matinee (before 4:30pm) $7 (ID is needed for students and seniors) *Advance ticket (3 tickets) $20 (Valid for Santa Monica and Downtown LA only.)


    Opening: THE SKY CRAWLERS (2008) Director: Mamoru Oshii Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Ryo Kase, Chiaki Kuriyama, Syosuke Tanihara In another, possible `now` - the world has eradicated war and finally attained peace. However, this prolonged state of peace has created demand for a new kind of war; a conflict happening elsewhere that could be seen on TV or read in the papers in order to get a feeling of reality. Private war contractors enlist fighter pilots to perform their services in an endless "war as entertainment." They call these pilots Kildren. Innocent-looking teenagers in appearance, Kildren never age into adulthood, and live in a state of eternal adolescence... drifting gracefully through the endless skies until they die in battle. Animation, Running time: 121 minutes. Playing April 10th (Fri) 8pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex Closing: VACATION (2008) Director: Hajime Kadoi Starring: Kaoru Kobayashi, Hidetoshi NIshijima, Nene Otsuka, Ren Osugi, Syuji Kashiwabara Prison guards work in penitentiaries where death row inmates are locked up and are forced to spend their daily lives constantly facing death. Hirai, a veteran guard, is one of such men. He turns his back on things that disturb his peace of mind, and handles the routine work dispassionately. Hirai is about to get married to Mika, a single mother. Their wedding day draws closer, even though he has not had enough time to become truly acquainted with Mika’s son who refuses to open up to him. One day before the wedding, the date of execution is set for Kaneda, one of the death row inmates. Hirai finds out that if he acts as the execution assistant during the execution, he’ll be entitled to a week’s vacation. So he volunteers for this job, one which everybody loathes, in order to make time to be with his new family. Drama, Running time: 115 minutes. Playing April 19th (Sun) 6:00pm @ Downtown Independent

    ALWAYS: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET- 2 (2007) LA Premiere Director: Takashi Yamazaki Starring: Hidetaka Yoshioka, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Koyuki, Maki Horikita, Hiroko Yakushimaru The scene is set in the Spring of 1959, four months after the previous movie in the Tokyo Shitamachi area. This is the year that the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics was confirmed and Japan took a step into its age of high-speed economic growth. The story continues with the human drama of the residents in Yuuhi machi 3 chome. Chagawa lives with Junnosuke, still thinking of Hiromi who had left without a word. Meanwhile, a new member joins the family at Suzuki Auto. Mutsuko meets with a friend who came to Tokyo with her in the same mass employment group. Dr. Takuma (Miura Tomokazu) is luring foxes with Yakitori on a footpath near a shrine in hope of getting bewitched again. And Godzilla shows up to do what he does best. Drama, Running time: 146 minutes. Playing April 12th (Sun) 5:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 18th (Sat) 12:00pm @ Downtown Independent, April 26th (Sun) 2:30pm @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine) GEISHA MODERN (2006) Director: Miyuki Sohara GEISHA MODERN is an art-centric documentary film that seeks to capture the geisha and their culture for what they are truly meant to be. Geisha are artists and entertainers, who devote their lives to the traditional arts and a traditional way of life in a country that has been thoroughly modernized and flooded with imported culture. Their perseverance has paid off in the recent years, as they have garnered a place in society as the respected and admired purveyors of traditional Japan. The geisha are truly an embodiment of dedication, discipline and a relentless drive for perfection. Documentary, Running time: 94 minutes. Playing April 25th (Sat) 3:30pm @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine)

    EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (2007) LA Premiere Director: Hideaki Anno Starring: Megumi Ogata, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Megumi Hayashibara After the Second Impact, all that remains of Japan is Tokyo-3. The city is attacked by giant, unidentified creatures, called Angels. Shinji Ikari is told to urgently pilot a giant mecha, the “Eva Unit 01?, to execute the destruction of Angels. Animation, Running time: 98 minutes. Playing April 11th (Sat) 7:00pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex THE GIFT FROM BEATE (2005) Director: Tomoko Fujiwara Starring: Beate Sirota Gordon A documentary film of Ms. Beate Shirota Gordon makes every effort to build “essential equality of the sexes” in the Constitution of Japan after WW?. Supported by her efforts, Japanese women devote their energies to establishing a gender equal society. Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution, which sets out the equality of women and men, has provided the strongest base in support of the long and winding road over which Japanese women have traveled. Documentary, Running time: 92 minutes. Playing April 12th (Sun) 1:00pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 18th (Sat) 2:45pm @ Downtown Independent, April 25th (Sat) 6:00pm @ Starplex Cinema?(in Irvine) RETRIBUTION (2007) Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Starring: Koji Yakusho, Manami Konishi, Riona Hazuki, Takeshi Ihara, Joe Odagiri, Ryo Kase Detective Yoshioka is investigating a mysterious murder case. However, clues begin to appear that point to him being the killer. As the investigation progresses, even he begins to wonder whether he may be the murderer that he is pursuing. Horror, Running time: 104 minutes. Playing April 10th (Fri) 5:30pm and April 13th (Mon) 9:45pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 18th (Sat) 7:45pm @ Downtown Independent (in Irvine)

    TOYO`S CAMERA- Japanese American History during WW II (2009) Director: Junichi Suzuki While cameras were prohibited in internment camps, there was one photographer who smuggled in a lens and built a camera with it, to capture life behind barbed wires. That photographer was Toyo Miyatake. Toyo’s photographs of internment camp capture the compelling stories of Japanese Americans during World War II in this feature documentary. Documentary, Running time: 98 minutes. April 26th (Sun) 10:00am @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine) BEFORE THE DAWN: TOYOHIKO KAGAWA STORY (1988) Director:Tengo Yamada Starring: Tomiyuki Kunihiro, Hitomi Kuroki, Chiaki Matsubara, Hiroyuki Nagato The miraculous life story of Dr. Kagawa, who was one of the most respected Japanese in the world before WWII. His dedication, despite his ill health, for 14 years to the poor living among the worst slums in the world gave him recognition as Japan’s leading Christian, a modern day St. Francis of Assisi and the Gandhi of Japan. Drama, Running time: 125 minutes. Playing April 25th (Sat) 10:00am, 1:00pm @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine) SEX IS NO LAUGHING MATTER (2008) Director: Nami Iguchi Starring: Hiromi Nagasaku, Kenichi Matsuyama, Yu Aoi, Syugo Oshinari, Miwako Ichikawa Mirume, an art college student falls in love with a married woman who is free spirited and much older than him, only to end up being deceived. Drama, Running time: 137 minutes. Playing April 13th (Mon) 6:45pm, April 14th (Tue) 9:30pm, and April 15th (Wed) 6:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex

    252: SIGNAL OF LIFE (2008) US Premiere Director: Nobuo Mizuta Starring: Hideaki Ito,Masaaki Uchino, Takayuki Yamada, Yu Kashii, Yuichi Kimura An earthquake of a magnitude 5+ on the Richter scale strikes Tokyo. This triggers the ocean temperature to rise several days later, causing a mega-typhoon of unprecedented scale in the Pacific Ocean. The most devastating force of nature ever recorded in history strikes the capital. First a hailstorm strikes Ginza and hail the size of golf balls fall from the sky onto the crowds of shoppers. Then an incredible tidal wave engulfs Tokyo’s waterfront, swallowing and pushing the buildings, bridges, trees and people to the inland area. Water floods the subway with an incredible force, causing the subway Shimbashi station to cave in. In this dangerous space with falling debris, there are 5 survivors, but there is absolutely no way back to the surface. Drama, Running time: 128 min. Playing April 12th (Sun) 8:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 19th (Sun) 3:00pm @ Downtown Independent, April 26th (Sun) 5:00pm @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine) CAMPAIGN (2007) Director: Soda Kazuhiro Starring: Kazuhiko Yamauchi, Sayuri Yamauchi, Junichiro Koizumi, Junko Kawaguchi Documentary film about “a political amateur” who is transformed into “a candidate running with the official support” of the big political party. In the fall of 2005, 40-year-old, self-employed Kazuhiko “Yama-san” Yamauchi’s peaceful, humdrum life was turned upside-down. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had suddenly chosen him as its official candidate to run for a vacant seat on the Kawasaki city council. Yama-san had zero experience in politics, no charisma, no supporters, no constituency, and no time to prepare for the impending election. Documentary, Running time: 120 minutes. Playing April 11th (Sat) 1:00pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex

    The blind singer Ichi (Haruka Ayase) is secretly a master swordswoman. Photo courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd.. © 2008 ICHI Film Partners

    ICHI LA Premiere Director: Fumihiko Sori Starring: Haruka Ayase, Shido Nakamura, Yosuke Kubozuka, Akira Emoto, Riki Takeuchi, Takao Osawa A new and female version of the famous sword hero “Zatoichi”. The heroine, Ichi, depends on only her sword hidden in a cane to fight fiercely with men. She falls in love with a samurai through her fights, which leads to her misfortune. Action, Running time: 120 minutes. Playing April 11th (Sat) 9:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex YOKOHAMA MARY (2005) Director: Takayuki Nakamura Starring: Michiko Godai, Genjiro Nagato, Yoko Yamazaki A documentary film about an elderly woman who paints her face white while waiting at street corners in Yokohama. She is known as “Miss Merry of Hama” and has lived as a street prostitute for over fifty years since the war ended. One day in winter 1995, she suddenly disappears from the street. Documentary, Running time: 92 minutes. Playing April 10th (Fri) 1:00pm and April 15th (Wed) 1:15pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex BATTERY (2007) US Premiere Director: Yojiro Takida Starring: Kento Hayashi, Kenta Yamada, Yuuki Amami, Goro Kishitani, Masato Hagiwara A story of a junior high school boy, who is lonesome because of his talent as a baseball pitcher. He grows up through conflict over his family and the friendship with his classmate, his “battery” partner (a combination of pitcher and catcher). Drama, Running time: 118 minutes. Playing April 12th (Sun) 3:45pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 19th (Sun) 12:00pm @ Downtown Independent, April 26th (Sun) 12:00pm @ Starplex Cinema (in Irvine)

    FUNUKE SHOW SOME LOVE, YOU LOSERS! (2007) Director: Daihachi Yoshida Starring: Eriko Sato, Aimi Satsukawa, Masatoshi Nagase, Hiromi Nagasaku Sumika is an egoistical girl who wants to be an actress. While Sumika acts without regard for others, her sister Kiyomi is observing her calmly and making comics based on her selfish behavior. Drama, Running time: 112 minutes. Playing April 13th (Mon) 1:15pm and April 15th (Wed) 9:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 18th (Sat) 5:15pm @ Downtown Independent FROM THE SEASON WITH SAKURA (2007) Director: Daihachi Yoshida Three short films which depict the essential elements of life, from an encounter to a departure. Each narrated story depicts beautiful Japanese scenery from spring to winter. 1. Sakura, Umbrella (2005) 15 min. 2. White. Pose (2007)?28 min. 3. koganeyuki (2009)?37 min. Drama, Running time: 80 minutes. Playing April 16th (Thu) 6:40pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex DOTOKU: ROOTS OF BLESSING (2003) Director: Satoshi Aohara When the Director of this film’s father becomes sick, he goes back home and starts to research his hometown, Hiroshima. His shooting of this documentary, over eleven years, describes Hiroshima as a temple district. This city that experienced the atomic bomb, still struggles to recover from the attack from the Second World War. Documentary, Running time: 118 minutes. Playing April 15th (Wed) 3:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex

    MUSHISHI (2007) LA Premiere Director: Katsuhiro Otomo Starring: Joe Odagiri, Makiko Esumi, Nao Omori, Yu Aoi A mystery and fantasy movie by Katsuhiro Otomo, director of AKIRA and STEAMBOY. MUSHISHI brings the viewer into a dreamlike world where ghostly organisms called Mushi hover on the borders of perception. Neither plants nor animals, Mushi are primal life forms that possess the essential life force of the universe. Only a few human beings are able to see the mushi. A travelling mystical doctor, a `Bugmaster` named Ginko (Joe Odagiri), passes from village to village in the remote regions of Japan in an effort to learn more about these strange beings. Along the way, Ginko tries to help people who are suffering ill-effects for their encounters with the Mushi while trying to maintain a respectful relationship with the supernatural creatures. Fantasy, Running time: 131 minutes. Playing April 11th (Sat) 4:10pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex Tribute for the prolific actor Ken Ogata A LONG WALK (2006) US Premiere Director: Eiji Okuda Starring: Ken Ogata, Saki Takaoka, Kana Sugiura, Syota Matsuda, Eiji Okuda Matsuo Yasuda, a retired girl’s High School Principal who has lost his wife to alcoholism and is forsaken by his Daughter, moves to an old apartment in a country town. He meets a 5 year old girl who has blocked out her emotions after being repeatedly abused by her mother. Yasuda decides to take off on a journey of redemption with the girl. While being chased as a kidnapper, the two meet a young boy named Wataru who joins the two on their journey. But the trip goes in an unexpected direction when one day Sachi begins to open her heart to Yasuda and Wataru. Drama, Running time: 136 minutes. April 13th (Mon) 4:00pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 14th (Tue) 6:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 17th (Fri) 7:00pm @ Downtown Independent VENGEANCE IS MINE (1979) Director: Syohei Imamura Starring: Ken Ogata, Rentaro Mikuni, Chocho Miyako, Mitsuko Baisyo, Mayumi Ogawa A story of a man who kills five people and runs away through Japan. His life is full of accumulated crimes from his upbringing, love affairs and antagonism from his own father. Drama, Running time: 140 minutes. Playing April 14th (Tue) 3:30pm @ Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, April 17th (Fri) 9:45pm @ Downtown Independent

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