Directed by U-ki Yamato, Yoko Yamanaka, Yuka Yasukawa, Hana Matsumoto, Momoko Fukuda, Kanae Higashi, Aimi Natsuto, Risa Takeuchi, Rin Shuto, Yukari Sakamoto, Ayaka Kato, Aya Igashi, Yuka Eda
Tokyo International Film Festival 2018, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 2019
Yuka Eda, U-ki Yamato, Momoko Fukuda, Kanae Higashi, Aya Igashi, Ayaka Kato, Hana Matsumoto, Aimi Natsuto, Yukari Sakamoto, Rin Shuto, Risa Takeuchi, Yoko Yamanaka, Yuka Yasukawa
In 2018, filmmaker U-ki Yamato (DROWNING LOVE) – whose “For Lonesome Blossoms,” a fever-dream, poetic manifesto-of-sorts, concludes this program, followed by Sakura Tamagawa’s beautiful end-credit animation — assembled 14 emerging filmmakers around a very simple idea: give young Japanese women coming of age in the 21st century a space to “visualize their view of the world and of society,” by way of bite-size and personal examinations of interpersonal relationships and girlhood. Organized around the theme of love, gender and sexuality, 21st CENTURY GIRL goes from genre thrills to intimate drama, from bitter to saccharine, while never losing track of its central governing idea: to act as a dedication to, and cinematic space for, the “women of the future” watching the screen for images of themselves, and working both in front and behind the cameras.
A Chinese restaurant’s lazy Susan is put to great us in the bold “Anytime, Anywhere” (Yoko Yamanaka, AMIKO). A smoker wonders about her erogenous zones in “Mucous Membrane” (Ayaka Kato). The filmmaker becomes the photographed in the intimate “Projection” (Yurina Kaneko). A first-time romance runs a little dry in the quirky “Love Desiccant” (Yuka Eda). A charismatic model faces a crossroads in “Out of Fashion” (Kana Higashi) and “Your Sheet” becomes a site for gender-bending self-discovery (Aya Igashi, A CRIMSON STAR). A former flame holds a “Mirror” to a photographer’s face (Risa Takeuchi), and long-time friends-with-benefit struggle with their relationship status in “Sex-less, Sex-friends” (Momoko Fukuda). A male writer and a female photographer share a “Muse” (Yuka Yasukawa). “I Wanna Be Your Cat” fulfills a screenwriter’s deepest desire (Rin Shuto), “Spring-ing” (Aimi Natsuto) sees cherry blossoms fall on an love triangle, and a relationship shatters in the stylized “Reborn” (Yukari Sakamoto), while “Low Resolution, High Emotion” (Hana Matsumoto) takes us through the analog memories of a vanished lover. – Ariel Esteban Cayer
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