An alluring, elliptical retelling of a haunting tale
Sneak Preview Screening: "Snow Woman (Yuki Onna)"
featuring a Q&A with director-star Kiki Sugino and star Munetaka Aoki
Thursday February 23 at 7:00 pm
In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2016 95 minutes
Directed by: Kiki Sugino
Written by: Mitsuo Shigeta, Kiki Sugino, Seigan Tominomori
Produced by: Kousuke Ono, Daichi Monden
Starring: Kiki Sugino, Munetaka Aoki, Mayu Yamaguchi, Shiro Sano
Film courtesy of Wa Entertainment
Indie film queen Kiki Sugino continues to be a triple (and sometimes, quadruple) threat/ treat with her third feature, which she wrote, directed and stars in. After scoring a Competition berth in last fall's Tokyo International Film Festival and much acclaim, the film is now poised to earn Sugino an expanded following for her gorgeously lensed reinterpretation of the oft-told ghost story "Woman of the Snow," from Lafcadio Hearn's 1904 anthology "Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things."
Shot in Sugino's home prefecture of Hiroshima, but set in a timeless era when mountaineers sleep in huts under straw mats while factory workers engage in the production of electrical products, Sugino's stylized, enigmatic "Snow Woman" is daringly short on dialog and long on metaphor. There are scenes of such trancelike beauty and mesmerizing mystery, that the viewer soon stops puzzling over the film's many riddles, and succumbs to its stately pace and poetic power.
One snowy night deep in the mountains, a young hunter named Minokichi (Aoki) awakens to see a beautiful yuki onna hovering over his mentor, Mosaku (Sano), literally stealing his breath away. "Should you tell anyone," she warns the hunter, "I will take your life." Minokichi's encounter is so surreal, he does not dare to believe it occurred. A year later, Minokichi meets and marries a beautiful lass from another village, named Yuki (Sugino). She bears him a daughter, Ume, and they live a happy, if frugal, existence. But as the years pass, there are several more mysterious deaths, and the villagers begin pointing fingers in Yuki's direction. Minokichi remains mum, yet his doubts begin to grow. It isn't until Ume blossoms into a radiant young lady (Yamaguchi) and befriends the village leader's son that the troubles really begin.
Please join us for this sneak preview of "Snow Woman" ahead of its Japanese release on March 4.
For more (in Japanese): http://snowwomanfilm.com/
KIKI SUGINO boasts an already prolific career as actress and producer with films like "Hospitalité" (2010), which won her the Best New Actress Award at the Yokohama Film Festival, "Odayaka" (2012), "Au revoir l'été" (2014) and "Chigasaki Story" (2015) to her credit. Her directorial debut, "Kyoto Elegy," premiered at TIFF in 2014, and her sophomore feature, "Taksu" (2014), won her the Rising Director Award at the Busan Film Festival. Sugino has worked widely in Asia, and has already been the focus of special sections devoted to her work at TIFF and the Taipei Film Festival.
MUNETAKA AOKI's time has arrived. After a career in high-profile films like "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" (2011), "Fly with the Gold" (2012) and the megahit "Rurouni Kenshin" series (2012 – 14, in which he memorably played Sanosuke Sagara), he marked his first roles as a leading man in 2016. Besides star turns in "Snow Woman" and "A Woman Wavering in the Rain," he also earned accolades, and new fans, for his work on the stage and in three TV series, including NHK's taiga drama "Chikaemon."
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