The Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returns to Sydney this February with a subversive FREE Classics program exploring Provocation and Disruption: Radical Japanese Filmmaking from the 1960s to the 2000s, as well as a talk event on Queer & Transgender Visibility in Cinema.
From revolutionary Japanese New Wave cinema to surrealist psychedelic expressions and gritty cyberpunk, the program features boundary-shattering masterpieces from avant-garde Japanese auteurs including Shinya Tsukamoto, Nobuhiko Obayashi and Seijun Suzuki.
Program highlights include award-winning horror films – Shinya Tsukamoto’s Fantafestival Best Film winning cyberpunk classic Tetsuo: The Iron Man – a horrific, visceral story of revenge that explores the relationship between humanity and technology; and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Blue Ribbon Best New Director winning experimental horror film House, about six school girls’ deadly visit to a supernatural mansion with a proclivity for devouring humans.
Other award-winning films include: Brisbane International Film Festival FIRPESCI Prize Winner Seijun Suzuki’s Pistol Opera – a stylistic action-packed drama about a number three ranked assassin who embarks on a bloodthirsty mission to ascend to the top rank in the hierarchy of assassins at her secretive workplace; and the Fantafestival Best Film and Best Director winning Mind Game directed by Masaaki Yuasa, a mind-bending animation chronicling the psychedelic journey of an aspiring manga writer following his murder at the hands of Yakuza loan sharks.
Catch a rare glimpse into the queer community of 1960s Japan in Funeral Parade of Roses, an intoxicating film following the trials and tribulations of Tokyo’s underground gay scene; explore political radicalism in arthouse biopic Eros + Massacre, which intertwines two parallel stories from likeminded anarchists living in different time periods; and immerse yourself in the chaotic love story between a book thief and a woman posing as a store clerk who catches him in the act in the anti-establishment New Wave film Diary of a Shinjuku Thief.
Rounding out the program is Nobuhiko Obayashi’s experimental short film Emotion (That Dracula We Once Knew), which melds reality and dreamlike imagery to craft a bizarre love story between a young girl and an enigmatic vampire.
Audiences can look forward to a fascinating talk on Queer & Transgender Visibility in Cinema exploring queer identity and non-conformative gender representation in film. The discussion will take place following the 20 February screening of Funeral Parade of Roses at the Art Gallery of NSW and features guest speakers Senior Lecturer, Creative Practice at AFTRS, Maija Howe; performance and interdisciplinary artist Bhenji Ra, independent filmmaker, critic, programmer and FBI Radio Host Jen Atherton; and filmmaker and producer Charlotte Mars.
Image: Funeral Parade of Roses by Matsumoto Toshio (c) 1969 Matsumoto Production