2019 Tokyo International Film Festival, 2020 Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2020 Groningen International Film Festival, Cine Asia, 2020 Nippon Connection, 2020 Taipei Film Festival, 2020 Shanghai International Film Festival, 2020 Far East Film Festival, 2020 Japan Cuts
Kazuya Konaka, Tadashi Naito, Nobuhiko Obayashi
Takuro Atsuki, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Takahito Hosoyamada, Riko Narumi, Takako Tokiwa, Hirona Yamazaki, Rei Yoshida
Setouchi Kinema, the only movie theater on the Onomichi seafront, is about to close its doors. An all-night marathon attracts three young men. When lightning strikes, the audience finds itself sent back in time, into the world beyond the screen – the trio thrust into the dying days of the feudal era, the Boshin War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Okinawa and then, finally, to Hiroshima on the eve of the atomic bombing. There, they meet the Sakura Traveling Troupe, unaware of the incoming tragedy. Can the fumbling time-travelers alter the course of history, or is it fixed in time, like images on celluloid?
With the passing of director Nobuhiko Obayashi in April of 2020, cinema lost a titan, whose career started with the psychedelic cult classic HAUSU (1977) and blossomed into one of cinema’s most coherent, yet eclectic filmography. A career coda, following the director’s masterful wartime trilogy (CASTING BLOSSOMS TO THE SKY, SEVEN WEEKS and HANAGATAMI), LABYRINTH OF CINEMA is a deeply humanist text, structured as an delirious and thought-provoking journey through Japan’s imperialist and cinematic history – with appearances from John Ford, Ozu, the samurais of jidaigeki and the great poets alike. Brazenly experimental, LABYRINTH OF CINEMA showcases an aging man’s profound sadness at the state of the world. Importantly, it also hints at hope for the future – like a projector’s beam cutting through the darkness; a reminder of the power of art to inspire in the face of utter, hopeless barbarism. Shine on, Obayashi-san, and thank you for everything. – Ariel Esteban Cayer
A Quebec drug dealer leads his American cousin into the world of illegal street fights. A dramatic and violent descent into a ruthless universe.
Investigating the fire that claimed a couple’s life in a country village, detective Hyung-gu begins to wonder if he’s really himself…
The lives of female escorts intersect in Kana Yamada’s debut LIFE: UNTITLED, a remarkable update of the Japanese brothel film tradition.