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	Image: Still from Funeral parade of roses © 1969 Matsumoto Production

Japan Film Festival Classics program 2020-2021

Provocation and disruption: radical Japanese filmmaking from the 1960s to the 2000s

Japanese Film Festival Classics at the Art Gallery of NSW presents boundary-shattering masterpieces from avant-garde Japanese auteurs including Seijun Suzuki, Shinya Tsukamoto and Nobuhiko Ōbayashi. From subversive Japanese New Wave cinema to surrealist psychedelic expressions and gritty cyberpunk, Provocation and disruption is all about the poetic, the abstract, the visceral and the abrasive in visionary Japanese cinema.

This free Classics program is part of the annual Japanese Film Festival presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney, and made possible by The Japan Foundation Film Library. The 2020 Classics program has been shifted to early 2021 due to complications associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program notes courtesy The Japan Foundation, Sydney.

Image: Still from Funeral parade of roses © 1969 Matsumoto Production

6 February — 3 March 2021
See listing for details

Free, bookings recommended

How to get your ticket

Early bird tickets can be booked in advance online via Qtix from Wednesday 20 January 10am.

Tickets also available outside the Domain Theatre from one hour before each screening. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.


Location: Domain Theatre

Presenting partner
Japanese Film Festival Japan Foundation

House (ハウス)

Dir Nobuhiko Ōbayashi 1977 (Japan)
88 mins 16mm Colour Unclassified 15+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 1977 Toho Co., Ltd.

House is a fusillade on the brain cells and a smorgasbord of filmic delights, which is apt given that it’s about a house that devours schoolgirls. Described as ‘unhinged extreme’, House (aka Hausu) is an experimental horror film that amalgamates 1970s pop culture with mysterious phenomenology. The late auteur Nobuhiko Ōbayashi had his 11-year-old daughter help with many of the story ideas, lending to the film’s dreamy, phantasmagorical sensibilities. House famously employs unrealistic special effects, outrageously stylised sets, and a storyline where literally anything can happen to a group of teenyboppers vacationing at a mysterious aunt’s isolated mansion for the summer.

 

BOOK ONLINE

Saturday 6 February 2021 2pm – 3:37pm

BOOK ONLINE

Wednesday 17 February 2021 7:15pm – 8:47pm

Mind game (マインド・ゲーム)

Dir Masaaki Yuasa 2004 (Japan)
103 mins 35mm Colour Rated R18+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 2004 Mind Game Project

Robin Nishi is a 20-year-old loser who dreams of becoming a manga artist. One day, he runs into Myon, his childhood crush, and begins to reminisce about what could have been, but his sad life is cut tragically short when he is shot and killed by a yakuza loan shark. Instead of moving on to the great beyond, Nishi’s death gives him a fresh perspective and a new lease on life.

What ensues is a psychedelic comedy road trip that takes Nishi and Myon inside the belly of a gigantic whale, with surreal sequences and montages offering insight into the background of the various characters.

 

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Sunday 7 February 2021 2pm – 3:47pm

BOOK ONLINE

Wednesday 17 February 2021 2pm – 3:47pm

Eros + massacre (エロス+虐殺)

Dir Yoshishige Yoshida 1970 (Japan)
167 mins 16mm B&W Unclassified 15+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 1970 Gendai Eiga Sha

This biopic follows the life of Sakae Ōsugi, a Taishō era (1912–26) anarchist known as a proponent of sexual freedom. His three lovers aren’t all as enamoured with his flouting of the monogamous sexual mores of the time, which, when combined with his detractors’ distaste for his non-traditional lifestyle, leads to his downfall. Ōsugi’s story intertwines with that of Eiko, a 1960s university student who sympathises with Ōsugi’s anarchical philosophies on free love and radicalism. Japan’s quintessential arthouse film, Eros + massacre examines political radicalism of Japan in the 1910s and 1960s through non-linear, parallel storytelling.

 

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Wednesday 10 February 2021 2pm – 4:51pm

BOOK ONLINE

Saturday 13 February 2021 2pm – 4:51pm

Emotion (That Dracula we once knew)

Emotion 伝説の午後=いつか見たドラキュラ
Dir Nobuhiko Ōbayashi 1967 (Japan)
40 mins 16mm Colour Unclassified 15+
In Japanese with intermittent English subtitles
© PSC

The dreamlike world of this experimental short film from the late Nobuhiko Ōbayashi depicts a young girl named Emi, who moves from her seaside home to the city. There, she befriends a girl named Sari and the two enjoy sun-kissed, youthful days together until both Emi and Sari fall in love with the same man, leading one to turn her jealous desire toward an enigmatic vampire played by Obayashi himself. But for this surreal film, plot takes a back seat to a cross-genre hotchpotch of cinematic styles and techniques in mesmerising succession.

 

BOOK ONLINE

Wednesday 10 February 2021 7:15pm – 7:59pm

BOOK ONLINE

Sunday 14 February 2021 2pm – 2:44pm

Funeral parade of roses (薔薇の葬列) + post-screening panel

Dir Toshio Matsumoto 1969 (Japan)
105 mins 16mm B&W Unclassified 18+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 1969 Matsumoto Production

Catch a rare glimpse into the queer community of 1960s Japan through this visual and sonic cacophony of Japanese New Wave cinema. A subversive take on the Greek tragedy Oedipus, this intoxicating and surreal film follows Eddie, played by Shinnosuke Ikehata aka Peter (Ran), a notorious hostess and rising star of a queer nightclub in Tokyo’s underground scene. Eddie is enveloped in destructive intimacy and a violently jealous love triangle, and as a result is confronted with traumatic childhood memories. This all comes to a head with the film’s dizzying climax, fuelled by a whirlwind of drugs, sex, music and undeniably fabulous glamour.

Followed by a post-screening panel and Q&A
Queer & transgender visibility in cinema

Join us for a post-film discussion with special guests in a talk focused around queer identity and non-confirmative gender representation in cinema. This discussion will also delve into how these topics are reflected in Funeral parade of roses and why this film is still relevant today.

Featuring Bhenji Ra (performance and interdisciplinary artist), Jen Atherton (independent filmmaker, programmer and FBi Radio host), Charlotte Mars (filmmaker and producer) and moderated by Dr Maija Howe (Senior lecturer, Creative practice, AFTRS).

 

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Saturday 20 February 2021 2pm – 4:40pm

Pistol opera (ピストルオペラ)

Dir Seijun Suzuki 2001 (Japan)
112 mins 35mm Colour Unclassified 15+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 2001 Pistol Opera Film Partners

The deadly Stray Cat is ranked number three in The Guild, an organisation of assassins so secretive that she herself isn’t fully convinced it exists. When the mysterious Sayoko Uekyō assigns Stray Cat a new target – The Guild’s number-one assassin, Hundred Eyes – Stray Cat’s hunger for power and status wins out and she embarks on a hunt to claw her way to the top of The Guild.

Thirty years after Branded to kill, master filmmaker Seijun Suzuki returns with his signature style, complete with outlandish yet tight storylines, offbeat editing, lavish colour and over-the-top action.

 

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Sunday 21 February 2021 2pm – 3:56pm

BOOK ONLINE

Wednesday 3 March 2021 2pm – 3:56pm

Diary of a Shinjuku thief (新宿泥棒日記)

Dir Nagisa Ōshima 1969 (Japan)
96 mins 35mm B&W and Colour Unclassified 15+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© Oshima Productions

Diary of a Shinjuku thief is a chaotic film that responds to the climate of social upheaval in Japan during the late 1960s. The ambiguous narrative centres on a man who steals from a bookstore in Shinjuku and the woman who catches him in the act. Sparks fly between the two, and they embark on a quest to achieve ecstasy through episodic moments that break down traditions of fiction and reality.

Acclaimed director Nagisa Ōshima utilises a unique cinematic vocabulary to take a deep dive into young lovers attempting to free themselves from the trappings of previous generations and paternal social constructs.

 

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Wednesday 24 February 2021 2pm – 3:40pm

BOOK ONLINE

Saturday 27 February 2021 2pm – 3:40pm

Tetsuo: the iron man (鉄男)

Dir Shinya Tsukamoto 1989 (Japan)
67 mins 35mm B&W Unclassified 18+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© Shinya Tsukamoto / Kaijyu Theater

Marked as director Shinya Tsukamoto’s (Killing) breakout film, Tetsuo: the iron man tells a horrific visceral story of the relationship between humanity and technology. Metal Fetishist, a strange contagious man with a compulsion for stuffing metal into his body, is on a mission to get back at Salary Man and his girlfriend for running him over with their car. After the accident, Salary Man starts sprouting metal parts from his body. Unbeknownst to Salary Man, his nemesis Metal Fetishist is controlling his lurid, hell-like transformation and will soon be back to exact his revenge.

 

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Wednesday 24 February 2021 7:15pm – 8:26pm

BOOK ONLINE

Sunday 28 February 2021 2pm – 3:11pm

Funeral parade of roses (薔薇の葬列)

Dir Toshio Matsumoto 1969 (Japan)
105 mins 16mm B&W Unclassified 18+
In Japanese with English subtitles
© 1969 Matsumoto Production

Catch a rare glimpse into the queer community of 1960s Japan through this visual and sonic cacophony of Japanese New Wave cinema. A subversive take on the Greek tragedy Oedipus, this intoxicating and surreal film follows Eddie, played by Shinnosuke Ikehata aka Peter (Ran), a notorious hostess and rising star of a queer nightclub in Tokyo’s underground scene. Eddie is enveloped in destructive intimacy and a violently jealous love triangle, and as a result is confronted with traumatic childhood memories. This all comes to a head with the film’s dizzying climax, fuelled by a whirlwind of drugs, sex, music and undeniably fabulous glamour.

 

BOOK ONLINE

Wednesday 3 March 2021 7:15pm – 9:04pm