Japan

SHOPLIFTERS

| 2018 | 2 hrs. | | ,
A film by Kore-Eda Hirokazu.

Somewhere in Tokyo, Osamu Shibata and his wife Nobuyo live in poverty. While Osamu receives occasional employment and Nobuyo has a low-paying job, the family relies in large part on the grandmother’s pension. As he is shoplifting for groceries with his son, Shota, they discover Yuri, a homeless girl. Osamu takes her…

MVIFF 2018: OH LUCY!

| 2018 | 96 minutes | | ,
Atsuko Hirayanagi

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Setsuko is a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named “Lucy.” This new identity…

Film Noir Classics with Paul Karasik: HIGH AND LOW

| 1963 | 143 minutes | | , ,
Directed by Akira Kurosawa

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Guest Introduction by Paul Karasik. Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a ruthless kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s exemplary film noir. Based on Ed McBain’s detective novel “King’s Ransom,” “High and Low” is both a riveting thriller and a brilliant commentary on contemporary Japanese society. Paul…

BEST OF THE FEST: AFTER THE STORM (umi yori mo mada fukaku)

| 2016 | 117 minutes | |
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
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Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother (Kirin Kiki) and beautiful ex-wife (Yoko Make) seem to be moving on with their…

MVIFF 2017: THE DEPARTURE

, | 2017 | 87 minutes | |
Directed by Lana Wilson

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A remarkable Japanese Buddhist priest uses a range of methods to help desperate people discover the will to live. But when a health crisis puts him at serious risk, can he live by the same advice he gives out? Lana Wilson follows up her award-winning documentary After Tiller with this lyrical, intimate character study…

MVIFF 2017: AFTER THE STORM (umi yori mo mada fukaku)

| 2016 | 117 minutes | |
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

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Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother (Kirin Kiki) and beautiful ex-wife (Yoko Make) seem to be moving on with their…

THE RED TURTLE

, , | 2017 | 80 minutes | | ,
Directed by Michaël Dudok De Wit

Through the story of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds, THE RED TURTLE recounts the milestones in the life of a human being.

TAMPOPO

| 1985 | 114 minutes | | ,
Directed by Jûzô Itami

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Chris Fischer, the Beard Award winning author and chef is going to present a new short film beforehand and talk afterwards about Tampopo, a film he specifically selected for us this evening. The sophomore directorial effort from ill-fated Japanese filmmaker Juzo Itami, Tampopo is an off-beat comedy featuring several intersecting stories all…

2016 MVIFF — OUR LITTLE SISTER

| 2015 | 128 mins | | ,
HIROKAZU KOREEDA

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The beautiful film from Japan, OUR LITTLE SISTER, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda revolves around three sisters who live in their grandmother’s home after the death of their father, and the arrival of their thirteen-year-old half sister. The Huffington Post writes, “Our Little Sister is a film of surpassing beauty and sensitivity, a fully realized…

THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA

| 2013 | 137 minutes | | , ,
Isao Takahata

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Legendary Studio Ghibli cofounder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) revisits Japan’s most famous folktale in this gorgeous, hand-drawn masterwork, decades in the making. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter (James Caan) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen), a tiny girl grows rapidly into an…

Classic Film Night: UGETSU MONOGATARI (1954)

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

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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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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,…

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,…

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…

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…

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…