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Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 18:45 - 21:30

A witty, warm-hearted paean to a supporting player and his sometimes surreal roles
Sneak Preview Screening:  "The Actor (Haiyu Kameoka Takuji)"
featuring a Q&A with director Satoko Yokohama

Tuesday, January 12 at 6:45 pm*kametaku 356p
*Please note early start time.

In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2016 123 minutes

Directed by: Satoko Yokohama
Written by: Satoko Yokohama, based on the novel by Akito Inui
Produced by: Kenichi Yoshida, Hitoshi Endo
Starring: Ken Yasuda, Kumiko Asou, Shoehi Uno, Hirofumi Arai,
Shota Sometani, Kaoru Sugita, Youki Kudoh, Yoshiko Mita, Tsutomu Yamazaki

Film courtesy of Nikkatsu
It's not easy being a chameleon; just ask Takuji Kameoka, supporting actor. He's the guy whose face you recognize, but whose name you can never remember. Always working - although not in parts he'd choose if he had a choice - Kameoka can disappear into a role so completely that he's just perfect as the homeless man, the chimpira, the Edo-era thief (he's already played seven of them this year). Beloved by directors and respected by his peers, he is cast as much for his humility and lack of ego as he is for his skill and professionalism.

Kameoka's heavy-lidded stare, sloped shoulders and smile-grimace say it all, but part of his charm is in being harmless, never upstaging his fellow actors, never playing a leading role even in his own life. As he approaches middle age, he's clearly given up on any dream of a big break. He spends his days journeying around Japan to the next indie film or avant-garde stage gig, where there's never enough bento to go around, and devotes his nights to drinking with a variety of fellow low-achievers.

Then one fateful evening in Nagano, Kameoka (Yasuda) awakens from a nap on the bar and falls in love with the winsome bartender Azumi (Asou), who introduces him to the dubious joys of the local seaweed delicacy and encourages him to visit any time he's lonely. At the same time, world-famous arthouse director Alan Spesso (Ricardo Garcia), one of Kameoka's favorites, invites him to audition for the leading role in his next film. Suddenly, Kameoka is facing an existential midlife crisis…

In Satoko Yokohama's first feature since the much-lauded "Bare Essence of Life," Ken Yasuda gives an extraordinarily versatile performance in the role of a lifetime, supported by Yokohama's dazzling flare for surrealistic touches, unusual imagery and offbeat musical selections.

Please join us for the uniquely wonderful "The Actor" before it opens in Tokyo on January 30.

For trailer (in Japanese):

Writer-director SATOKO YOKOHAMA is a 2004 graduate of the Film School of Tokyo and widely considered to be one of the most gifted directors in Japan. She made her independent feature debut in 2006 with "German + Rain," a big hit on the overseas festival circuit. Her "Bare Essence of Life" (2008) debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, and also traveled extensively, before its star, Kenichi Matsuyama, was named Best Actor at the Mainichi Film Awards. Yokohama has also made many award-winning short films, including the recent "Jump from the Midnight," "The Granny Girl" and "A Girl in the Apple Farm."

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 film screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.         

- Karen Severns, Film Committee

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