Japan

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Like Someone in Love

| 2013 | 109 min. | |
A Film by Abbas Kiarostami

When Akiko (Rin Takanashi), a lovely Tokyo student who moonlights as a call girl, is dispatched to a new client in the suburbs, she is surprised to find the shy and elderly Takashi (81-year-old stage actor Tadashi Okuno), a committed academic constantly distracted by work-related phone calls. The lonely widower seems far…

FROM UP ON POPPY HILL

| 2013 | 91 mins | |
Written by legendary studio founder Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Goro Miyazaki

The setting is Yokohama in 1963, and the filmmakers masterfully bring to life the bustling seaside town, with its salty air, sun-drenched gardens, and some of the most mouthwatering Japanese home-cooking set to film (plan on ramen and pork katsu after the movie). The story centers on an innocent romance beginning to…

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HIGH AND LOW (1963)

| 1962 | 143 mins | |
Akira Kurosawa

Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in High and Low(Tengoku to jigoku), the highly influential domestic drama and police procedural from director Akira Kurosawa. Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to…

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GOOD MORNING

| 1959 | 93 mins | |
Yasujirô Ozu

Ozu’s hilarious Technicolor reworking of his silent I Was Born, But . . . , Good Morning (Ohayô) is the story of two young boys in suburban Tokyo who take a vow of silence after their parents refuse to buy them a television set. Shot from the perspective of the petulant brothers,…

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Odayaka na Nichijo

| 2012 | 102 min. | |
A Film by Nobuteru Uchida

The catastrophic earthquake and resulting tsunami off the coast of Japan in March 2011, now referred to as “3.11,” for obvious reasons has quickly become a social and creative touchstone, and the latest filmmaker to tackle the subject is Uchida Nobuteru, best known to now for his romantic drama Love Addiction. Using a mobile,…

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Jigokumon (Gate of Hell) (1953)

| 1953 | 89 mins | | , , ,
Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa

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Originally released as Jigokumen, Gate of Hell was one of the most popular Japanese imports of the 1954-55 American film season. Set in 12th-century feudal Japan, the film stars Kazuo Hasegawa as Moritoh, a samurai whose courage in defending his ruler is to be rewarded with anything he desires. He desires the…

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TAMPOPO

| 1985 | 114 mins | | ,
Jûzô Itami

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The sophomore directorial effort from ill-fated Japanese filmmaker Juzo Itami, Tampopo is an off-beat comedy featuring several intersecting stories all related to food. Tsutomu Yamazaki plays Goro, a truck driver who helps a young widow named Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) improve her noodle restaurant. Over the course of the film, the story drifts…

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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

| 2013 | 120 mins | |
Hirokazu Koreeda

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Would you choose your natural child, or the one you believed was your own during six years together? Kore-eda Hirokazu, the acclaimed director of Nobody Knows and Still Walking, returns with another incredibly touching family drama, winner of the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Following an unexpected phone call,…

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MVIFF: KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER

, | 2013 | 105 minutes | |
David Zellner

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A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in a fictional film, is in fact, real. With a crudely drawn treasure map and limited preparation, she escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the frozen tundra of Minnesota in search…

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Classic Film Night: UGETSU MONOGATARI (1954)

| 1954 | 96 min. | | , ,
Kenji Mizoguchi

Wednesday October 29, 2014, 7:30 PM
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A gorgeous supernatural fable about the folly of men with dreams larger than their abilities and their women who suffer as a result. With its thought-provoking themes, rich atmosphere, and brilliant direction, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu is a towering classic of world cinema. For the casual cinema-goer, it’s easy to imagine that Japanese…