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Monday, February 08, 2016, 19:00 - 21:30

A tender coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of changing family dynamics
Sneak Preview Screening: "Children of Iron (Tetsu no Ko)"
featuring a Q&A with director Koki Fukuyama and star Jyonmyon Pe

Monday, February 8 at 7 pm356p
In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2015 74 minutes

Directed by: Koki Fukuyama
Written by: Kaori Moriyama, Koki Fukuyama
Produced by: Shoji Masui, Takao Tsuchimoto, Masahiko Yamakawa
Starring: Tomoko Tabata, Jyonmyon Pe, Taishi Sato, Mau, Sugi-chan,
Shizuka Fujimoto, Shiori Doi, Hiroshi Kanbe, Ryosuke Otani

Film courtesy of Kadokawa

Most of us had a favorite spot in childhood, a place we could go whenever we felt anxious or fearful. But few of us had a spot like Mariko's - a magical tunnel to different lands, where she can make a wish and emerge at the other end in Candy Land or No Homework Land or No Mushrooms Land or even We Can Fly Land. Still, for Mariko (Mau) and her new brother Rikutaro (Sato), the magical tunnel may not be enough to escape their lot.

The two protagonists of "Children of Iron" are living near the iron mills of Kawaguchi City, made famous in their heyday by the film "Foundry Town" ("Kyupora no Aru Machi"), starring Sayuri Yoshinaga, but now even less prosperous. Mariko's nemployed father (Pe) and Rikutaro's bar-hostess mother (Tabata) have just married, and the kids must now share both a room at home, as well as the same class at school. When their classmates bully them - "siblings the same age are weird!" - Mariko enlists Rikutaro's support in a "Divorce Alliance" to force their parents apart. The alliance is draconian, with rule breakers to receive the death penalty.

The two set about sabotaging the new marriage: ruining mom's curry while she's at work, scaring dad into thinking the house is haunted, smearing lipstick on his collar... but their plots seem to have the opposite effect. Before they realize it, Mariko and Rikutaro have become friends. Yet as suddenly as they've come together, the family begins to fall apart... and a lump of polished iron and a tube of lipstick assume talismanic import.

"Children of Iron" tells its story of a struggling family mostly from the children's point of view, finding an endearing balance between their often-grim reality and the magical coping mechanisms that comprise the process of growing up. Infused with both humor and pathos, the film is a powerful, sentimentality-free evocation of the convulsive changes currently redefining Japanese families, with divorce, midlife remarriage, domestic violence and school bullying as its backdrop.

Please join us for this sneak preview of "Children of Iron" ahead of its Japanese release on February 13.

For more (in Japanese):

Director KOKI FUKUYAMA worked as a chef and a kickboxer before turning to filmmaking, establishing a company to produce and direct TV commercials and corporate videos. His first two short films, "She Who Bore Me" (2008) and "All Lie" (2012), premiered to acclaim at the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival. He directed the episode "Hakaba Notebook" and the epilogue for the omnibus feature "Saitama Family" (2013), and made his feature debut with "Night, Because" (2014). "Children of Iron," which was produced as the opening film for the Skip City Festival in 2015, is his second feature.

Actor JYONMYON PE has been active on stage, TV and in film since graduating from the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. He had his first leading role in Eiji Uchida's "The Last Days of The World" (2012), and appeared in Izumi Otomi's Judas (2013), Sion Sono's "Why Don't You Play in Hell?" (2013), Ryo Nakajima's Our Tomorrow (2014) and Yu Irie's "Joker Game" (2015). On TV, his recent credits include "Futagashira" (WOWOW, 2015) and "Shokubutsu Danshi Verander" (NHK, 2015). His stage credits include "Juliette Street" (2014) and "Takuetsu to Oiwa" (2014) by Ryo Iwamatsu.

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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