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Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 18:45 - 21:30

An illegal immigrant assumes a new identity and finds his calling in Japan

Sneak Preview Screening: "Complicity (Yasashii Kyohan)"
followed by a Q&A with director Kei Chikaura and
stars Yulai Lu and Tatsuya Fuji

Wednesday, January 15 at 6:45 pm*01152020 Complicity 356p copy
*Please note early start time
In Japanese/ Mandarin with English/ Japanese subtitles
Japan/ China 2018 116 minutes

Written and directed by: Kei Chikaura
Produced by: Kei Chikaura, Wei Hu
Starring: Yulai Lu, Tatsuya Fuji, Sayo Akasaka, Kio Matsumoto

Film courtesy of The KlockWorx

If today's Japan is becoming more immigrant friendly, can we expect to see more progressive, less superficial depictions of non-Japanese in the country's media and the arts? While foreign residents still account for only 2 percent of the population, at nearly 3 million, we are surely no longer invisible. And that number is higher when it includes undocumented workers, and those who have "disappeared" from exploitative trainee programs.

While the image of an intercultural Japan, with people of diverse nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, may remain illusory, honest depictions of immigrants and their stories on screens large and small would help make that vision a reality. With deeper understanding comes greater empathy - as Kei Chikaura's Japan-China coproduction "Complicity" proves. The director's compassionate portrayal of a young man doing his best to atone for a bad conscience and bad choices is not only insightful, it is deeply moving.

Shot with a startling sense of immediacy and realism, "Complicity" opens with Liang Chen (Yulai Lu), paying dearly for a fake ID and a cellphone so he can work in Japan. He's immediately besieged with calls for Wei Liu, his assumed identity, and after finding language assistance, discovers that Liu has been offered a job as apprentice to a soba noodle master. It doesn't pay much, but it comes with room and board. Given his circumstances, Liang doesn't hesitate long. Soon he has moved into an attic room at his employer's soba restaurant, and is arising at the crack of dawn to help prepare the buckwheat.

Hiroshi (legendary star Fuji) runs the restaurant with his daughter Kaori (Matsumoto), and they are grateful to have this eager, hard-working young man helping out. Despite his limited Japanese - and total lack of experience in the kitchen - he proves a quick study. His dedication earns Hiroshi's admiration, and a touching father-son relationship quickly develops. Delivering noodles one day, Liang meets and develops a crush on Hazuki (Akasaka), an artist who is studying Mandarin in hopes of attending school in Beijing.

When he loses his wallet one day and Hazuki reports it to the police, it's clear that Liang lives in fear his true identity could be exposed at any moment. And then there is his guilt: we learn through flashbacks that he has left his ailing mother and demanding grandmother in his native Henan, where family responsibilities had curtailed any hopes he'd had for the future. By moving to Japan, he'd planned to work for three years, save money and return to start his own business. But an urgent phone call from home, and the threat of exposure puts his new life, and his new family, in danger.

"Complicity" erases cultural barriers as it touches on themes of trust, friendship and food as the catalyst for building bonds. Join us for this sneak preview just before the film's Japan release on January 17.

For more (in Japanese):

KEI CHIKAURA began making films in 2013, with a short called "Empty House," starring Tatsuya Fuji. His second short, "The Lasting Persimmon," was selected for the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival 2016. His third short, "Signature," starring Yulai Lu, was selected for the Locarno Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival, among many others. It won the Grand Prix at the Encounters Film Festival 2017. His debut feature "Complicity" had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival 2018, its Asian premiere at the 2018 Busan Film Festival and its European premiere at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. It also won the Audience Award at the 2018 Tokyo Filmex.

YULAI LU has starred in more than 40 independent films, beginning with his 2005 debut in the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear-winning film, "Peacock." He appeared in the 2007 Venice Film Festival Special Orizzonti Jury Prizewinner "Courthouse on Horseback," and in "Knitting," which was selected for the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Director's Fortnight, and won the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Madrid International Film Festival for "Soundless Wind Chime". In 2013, Lu directed his first short film, "Dong Dong," which world premiered at the Busan Film Festival. The same year, he starred in "Trap Street," which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. In 2017, he starred in Kei Chikaura's short film "Signature," which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.

TATSUYA FUJI was, like his character in "Complicity," born in Beijing. He has starred more than 80 films and TV series in a versatile acting career that began in 1964 and has consistently earned him acclaim. In 1976, his performance in Nagisa Oshima's controversial film "In the Realm of the Senses" thrust him in the international spotlight after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Three more of his films have played at Cannes: Oshima's "Empire of Passion" (1978), Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Bright Future" (2000) and Naomi Kawase's "Radiance" (2017). In 2005, Mr. Fuji's performance in "Village Photobook" earned him the Golden Goblet Best Actor Award at the Shanghai Film Festival, and his starring role in Takeshi Kitano's 2015 "Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen" also brought him acting awards. He first worked with Kei Chikaura on the 2013 short film "Empty House."

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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