November 2023

Join the Film Committee…

©2023 Shinya Tsukamoto/Kaijyu Theater

Join us on Thursday, November 9 at 6 pm for a sneak preview of Shinya Tsukamoto’s award-winning new film, Shadow of Fire. Japan’s most singular auteur, Tsukamoto (Tetsuo the Iron Man) has devoted the last decade to exploring “how war affects people [and] the abject horror of taking lives”. In Fires on the Plain (2014), he focused on debilitated Japanese soldiers on the WWII frontlines in the Philippines. In Killing (2018), his protagonist was a reluctant samurai. With the final title of his antiwar trilogy, Shadow of Fire, Tsukamoto now turns his lens on two survivors of the Tokyo firebombing – a widow and a young orphan. The widow (Shuri) has lost everything in the war, except the roof over her head. Beneath it, she earns money by selling her body, although the lack of food severely saps her energy. One night, an emaciated young soldier (Hiroki Kono) comes seeking her services, and stays for the comfort of another human being. He’s soon joined by a small boy (the outstanding Oga Tsukao), who’s been pilfering the widow’s food, and the three lost souls gradually find some solace together. But the soldier is forced to leave, and the boy starts working for a mysterious man (Mirai Moriyama), who takes him along on a journey of amends … or perhaps something else altogether. As the orphan comes of age amid unimaginable hardship, his resilience is both endearing and heartbreaking. On its world premiere in September, Shadow of Fire won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the Venice International Film Festival, the first time a Japanese work had done so. Tsukamoto and Kono will be on hand for the Q&A session. (Shadow of Fire, Japan, 2023, 95 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles).

Watch trailer

Karen Severns is chair of the FCCJ Film Committee