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Wednesday, October 08, 2014, 18:30 - 21:30

First theatrical film by award-winning director Shoichiro Sasaki followed by a Q&A with the director

Wednesday, October 8 at 6:30 pm*Harmonics Minyoung 2525copyp
*Please note early start time.

In English, Japanese and Korean with English subtitles
Japan, 2014 140 minutes  

Film courtesy of Siglo / Sasaki Films            

For 20 years, award-winning NHK director Shoichiro Sasaki has been entirely absent from the public stage, apparently retired from a career that marked him as one of Japan’s most prolific and poetic creators, with a body of work that inspired such leading lights as Cannes favorites Hirokazu Kore-eda and Naomi Kawase.

With "Harmonics Minyoung," Sasaki is breaking his decades-long silence - and debuting his first-ever film to be released theatrically.

As in his previous productions, the cast is made up of ordinary people with no acting experience: the heroine Minyoung and her sister Yunyoung are actual sisters living in Seoul, and the character Tatsunori Tambe is a friend of theirs. Sasaki's crew members are veterans of his earlier dramas, reassembling for the first time in 20 years to complete a project with a strong antiwar message that is clearly near to the director's heart.

Inventive and experimental, moving constantly between Japanese, Korean and English as well as the language of song, the film introduces us to university student Minyoung, who is writing and illustrating a novel called "The Laws of Harmonics." She is obsessed with Mozart's music and, for some reason, with a photograph depicting her grandmother's Japanese friend Sueko Sasaki and her family during the war. Driven by her curiosity about Sueko, Minyoung follows her sister to Tokyo and soon meets a street child, Yu, who brings to mind her own abandonment by her mother. Minyoung reunites with her Waseda University friend Tambe, a freelance journalist who covers the dark side of society and is constantly being pursued by strange men in trenchcoats. Minyoung also encounters many other Japanese - an orchestra conductor, a wind-chime maker, a harmonica maker, a salt maker, a mysterious old man with a camera, a priest traveling to Nagasaki with a huge cross... And suddenly, Minyoung is Sueko, living through events during World War II that are based on Sasaki's actual experiences as a youth during the war.

Please join us for this sneak preview screening of "Harmonics Minyoung" before the film opens at Iwanami Hall on October 11.

For more (in Japanese):

SHOICHIRO SASAKI worked as a director of dramas at NHK from 1960 into the 1990s, winning numerous awards from national and international television competitions, including the Prix Italia grand prize and RAI Award, the Monte-Carlo Television Festival Golden Nymph, and the Golden Prague Best Director Award. With an unmatched poetic sensibility and fresh, original imagery, his works have earned him a vast following, and his style has inspired many of Japan's leading filmmakers.

Please make your reservations at the FCCJ Reception Desk (3211-3161) or register below. You may attend the Q&A session without attending the screening, but you will not have seating priority. Please reserve in advance, still & TV cameras inclusive. All movie screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.

- Karen Severns, Movie Committee


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