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Thursday, January 08, 2015, 18:30 - 21:30

An outrageously engaging new film, set in Tokyo's seedy-but-perennially-trendy red light district in Shinjuku.

Sneak Preview Screening: "Kabukicho Love Hotel" (Sayonara Kabukicho)
followed by a Q&A with director Ryuichi Hiroki, stars Shota Sometani and Atsuko Maeda

Thursday, January 8 at 6:30 PM*kabukicho for web 2550p
*Please note early start time
Warning: Adult content

In Japanese/ Korean with English subtitles
Japan, 2014 135 minutes  

Directed by: Ryuichi Hiroki
Written by: Haruhiko Arai, Futoshi Nakano
Exec. Producer: Tadayoshi Kubo
Produced by: Mikihiko Hirata, Naoya Narita, Yasushi Minatoya
Starring: Shota Sometani, Atsuko Maeda, Lee Eun-woo, Roy (5tion),
Shugo Oshinari, Nao Omori, Tomorowo Taguchi, Jun Murakami,
Aoba Kawai, Tomu Miyazaki, Yutaka Matsushige, Kaho Minami
Music by: Ayano Tsuji  
Theme song: “Believe in Love” performed by meg with SWEEP

"Where secrets hide and dreams rest - for a short while" is the tagline of Ryuichi Hiroki's outrageously engaging new film, set in Tokyo's seedy-but-perennially-trendy red light district in Shinjuku. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, slapsticky and sexually charged, this is a rousing crowd-pleaser, a must-see for anyone who has wanted to take a peek at all those over-decorated rooms in Japan's love hotels, as well as anyone curious about how such businesses are actually run. (Peeping Tom types will also be amply rewarded.)

Pulling back the covers on a variety of today's social and economic ills, "Kabukicho Love Hotel" is a clever ensemble piece covering 24 hours at the Atlas Hotel, a rather pricey and popular establishment that attracts lovers, cheaters, scouts and "delivery girls" (the modern term for a call girl), presided over by down-on-his-luck hotel manager Toru (Sometani) and a ragtag staff, including a cleaning lady (Minami, brilliant as always) who harbors a dark secret. Korean delivery girl Heya (an excellent Eun) meets clients several times on this, her final day of work; two cops (Miyazaki and Kawai) book a room for an illicit romp but discover something more interesting than sex; a scout (Oshinari) brings in an underage recruit but winds up falling for her; and a paunchy man walks his well-endowed "dog" through the corridors. Toru makes sure everyone knows he’s meant for far better things, but on this particular day, he has a few surprises in store for him. First, he learns that his sister has become a porn star; then his singer girl friend (Maeda) shows up with a music producer (Omori) and proceeds to sign a record deal. But these aren’t Toru’s only problems, and he'll have to come to grips with his own fading dreams before the day is out…

Join us to find out how many secrets stay hidden and how many dreams come true in "Kabukicho Love Hotel," before the film opens in Tokyo on January 24.

For more (in Japanese):

A child actor from the age of nine, SHOTA SOMETANI burst on the international scene when he won the 2011 Marcello Mastroianni Award at the Venice Film Festival for his star turn in Sion Sono's "Himizu." In 2012, his performance in "A Liar and a Broken Girl" earned him a Newcomer Award at the Mainichi Film Awards, and in less than two years, he has become one of Japan's most popular leading men. In that short time, he appeared in Gakuryu Ishii's "Isn't Anyone Alive?," Takashi Miike's "Lesson of Evil," Koji Wakamatsu's "The Millennial Rapture," Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Real," Takashi Yamazaki's "Eien no Zero," Koki Mitani's "Kiyosu Kaigi," Sion Sono's "Tokyo Tribe." He was the star of one of 2014's biggest hits, Shinobu Yaguchi's "Wood Job!" and also anchors Takashi Yamazaki's "Parasyte," which just opened at No. 1 at the box office.

ATSUKO MAEDA was one of the most popular member of the girls' band AKB48 for seven years, before "graduating" in 2012 to pursue a solo singing and acting career. She made her film debut in Jun Ichikawa's "How to Become Myself" (2007), starred in Makoto Tanaka's "Drucker in the Dugout" (2012) and appeared in Nobuhiro Yamashita's tragically underrated "The Drudgery Train" (2013). She has gone on to star in well-received work by master directors, including Hideo Nakata's "The Complex" (2013), Nobuhiro Yamashita's "Tamako in Moratorium" (2013), Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Seventh Code" (2013) and Yukihiko Tsutsumi's "Eight Ranger 2" (2014).

Veteran director RYUICHI HIROKI began his career in the 1970s as an editor and assistant to prolific pink (softcore porn) director Genji Nakamura, and in the 1980s forged a path as "the prince of youth porn," directing many pink and AV titles for Yu Pro, Million Film and Nikkatsu. His mainstream breakthrough came after a fellowship at the Sundance Directors Lab, with the 1994 feature "800 Two Lap Runners," about teen sexual relationships on a track-and-field team, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. His 2003 "Vibrator" earned international acclaim for its star, Shinobu Terajima, who swept up many Best Actress awards, and the film won awards as far afield as Australia, France and Germany after screening at over 40 film festivals worldwide. Hiroki has continued to specialize in the emotional and sexual lives of young adults, directing leading actors in both arthouse and commercial films like "It's Only Talk" (2006), which won the Special Jury Award at the Barcelona Asian Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the Singapore International Film Festival, "April Bride" (2009), "The Egoists" (2011), "River" (2011) and "Yellow Elephant" (2013).

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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