Monday, January 24, 2022
Q&A guests: Director Isshin Inudo and legendary dancer Min Tanaka

Internationally acclaimed dancer, award-winning actor and devoted farmer Min Tanaka responded so enthusiastically to questions from the FCCJ audience during the post-screening Q&A session following The Unnameable Dance (Nazuke-yo no nai Odori), that he extended the session to a full hour.

As he was descending the dais for the photocall afterward, he told the moderator, “Everyone was so alive, so engaged — it was just beautiful. I felt like I was in another country.” One imagines that Tanaka is in the habit of spontaneous generosity.

His life and work, with further examples of bigheartedness, are the subject of Isshin Inudo’s luminous documentary, which follows its 75-year-old star for nearly three years as he performs in multiple locations at home and abroad, tends to his organic farm in the mountains of Nagano, and reminisces about a challenging childhood. The film celebrates the artist’s sublime craftsmanship, as well as his restless spirit.

"Now that we've been through this process," said Tanaka,
"I think of Mr. Inudo as a comrade in dance
."  ©FCCJ


Wednesday, December 02, 2020
Director Kaizo Hayashi and star Shiro Sano

The Film Committee’s final screening event of 2020 - our final screening event of the tumultuous 2010s, in fact — returned the audience to perhaps the decade’s biggest story, at least in Japan: the Fukushima disaster.

We had presented the big-budget Fukushima 50 at the beginning of the year, with stars Ken Watanabe and Koichi Sato on hand for the Q&A session. At the end of the year, we were privileged to provide a bookend of sorts with Bolt, the art-film version of similar events, and to welcome veteran director Kaizo Hayashi and star Shiro Sano for an illuminating Q&A.

(In a curious coincidence, Bolt features three of the actors who appear in Fukushima 50, Shiro Sano, Koichi Sato and Kazuhiko Kaneyama, although Bolt was completed several years earlier.)

The first responders in Bolt. ©Photo by JUMPEI TAINAKA


Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Director Macoto Tezka

The day after Tezuka’s Barbara received the Golden Bat for Best Film at the 40th Fantafestival in Rome, Macoto Tezka appeared at FCCJ to discuss his prizewinning work.

“This is the first award given to the film, and I’m really happy that it comes from a fantastic film festival,” he told the audience following a sneak preview screening. “It has a lot of fantastical elements in it, so it brings me great joy that it’s been so wonderfully received by film enthusiasts who have an eye for such films.”

The Fantafestival jury had cited Tezuka’s Barbara for its “representation of an outside-the-box love story” and for “transcending the supernatural genre with great visual impact, in which the refined photography of the master, Christopher Doyle, excels.”

Barbara (Fumi Nikaido) and her latest rescue, Mikura (Goro Inagaki). ©2019 Barbara Film Committee


Monday, October 19, 2020
Director Koji Fukada, TIFF Festival Chairman Hiroyasu Ando and TIFF Selection Committee member Kohei Ando

The Film Committee has been collaborating on annual special screening events with the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) for a decade or more, but in this very challenging year, it feels more important than ever. TIFF announced last month that, barring catastrophe, it will hold a physical 33rd edition, with the implementation of strict health and safety measures, from October 31 – November 9 at theaters in Roppongi.

This in itself was a milestone, since many international festivals were forced to cancel due to the pandemic, and others were stymied by ongoing theater closures in their host cities. The most famous of canceled festivals was Cannes, which nevertheless announced a lineup of 'Cannes Premiere 2020' titles, a selection of films that it would have premiered at the festival, had one been held.

Among those titles was award-winning director Koji Fukada’s The Real Thing, a nearly 4-hour opus about a consummately dull salaryman whose life is overturned by an eccentric woman. Although Fukada was not able to appear in person, the film had its International premiere at the Pingyao Film Festival in mid-October, and will have its Japan premiere during TIFF, with the director and cast present.