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Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 18:45 - 21:30

A despairing young man goes on a journey with unexpected consequences

Sneak Preview Screening: 5 Million Dollar Life (Gooku Yen no Jinsei)
followed by a Q&A with director Sungho Moon and star Ayumu Mochizuki

Wednesday, June 19 at 6:45 pm*06192019 5 Million Dollar Life 356p
*Please note early start time

In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2019 112 minutes

Directed by: Sungho Moon
Written by: Naomi Hiruta
Produced by: Hitoshi Endo, Kousuke Oshida,
Hiroko Matsuda, Gen Nakazawa
Starring: Ayumu Mochizuki, Anna Yamada, Ryu Morioka,
Satoru Matsuo, Shingo Mizusawa, Mitsuru Hirata

Film courtesy of New Cinema Project

In this era of copycat filmmaking, with its surfeit of franchised mainstream releases and its dearth of original stories, there's nothing quite as exciting as a film that takes both its protagonist, and its audience, on a completely unexpected journey.

But it's not only the lack of predictability that boosts "5 Million Dollar Life" above the average offering; it's the discovery of a fresh new directorial voice and a young actor who is apparently game for anything.

The debut feature of commercials director Sungho Moon, who collaborated with writer Naomi Hiruta to craft the unique twists and turns of the narrative, "5 Million Dollar Life" was backed by the New Cinema Project, an initiative that hopes to bring greater originality back to Japan's movie screens.

As the film opens, it is the 11th anniversary of Mirai Takatsuki's recovery from a near-fatal disease. Members of the local community, who contributed to the staggering sum of 500 million yen ($5 million) necessary to treat him as a child, have gathered at his mom's house to watch the annual televised tribute to the lad. But Mirai (Mochizuki), now a high schooler, has increasing difficulties living up to everyone's expectations and can no longer take all the media attention. The online attention is even worse: "You'd be better off quitting... a life like that," a stranger snidely suggests on SNS. Mirai retorts, "I'll die, then. Just watch me." But before he can seriously contemplate his next step, another stranger cautions he has no right to kill himself until he's paid everyone back for their generosity.

And so, Mirai sets out to earn $5 million. When construction work barely covers enough for daily meals, he moves on to more lucrative employ, some of it questionable, some of it downright illegal. Along the way, he learns a thing or two about the world and himself, and just what the value of life really is - and a journey that began with familiar echoes of the teen suicide/coming-of-age/road movie genres has grown into something far more poignant.

Please join us for this screening of the sometimes-comical, sometimes-tearjerking, always unpredictable "5 Million Dollar Life" before its Japan release on July 20.

For more (in Japanese):

SUNGHO MOON hails from Hiroshima. After graduating from high school, he studied filmmaking in Korea and returned to Japan to shoot commercials and short films. In 2013, he was selected for the New Directions in Japanese Cinema project and directed the short 35mm film "Michizure." "5 Million Dollar Life" marks his feature debut.

AYUMU MOCHIZUKI made his film debut in "Solomon's Perjury 1 and 2" (2015) and quickly went on to appear in "Sanada 10 Braves" (2016), "Shippu Rondo" (2016) and "Kamisama no Wadachi: Checkpoint of Life" (2017). He has also appeared on many TV shows, as well as on popular online shows like Netflix's "Terrace House" and "Mob Psycho 100."

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

- Karen Severns, Film Committee


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