Cinema Nouveau Hosts Return of Popular Japanese Film Festival

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Continuing in its efforts to bring the best of international ‘art house’ cinema to South African audiences, Cinema Nouveau is excited to announced that it is once again hosting the increasingly popular Japanese Film Festival in South Africa. Now in its 20th year, the festival is co-organised by the Embassy of Japan in South Africa and the Japan Foundation.

The festival content is free to the public, and will be screened over weekends during October at the following cinemas: Brooklyn Nouveau in Brooklyn Mall Pretoria (05 – 06 October), V&A Nouveau at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (12 – 13 October), Gateway Nouveau at Gateway Durban (19 – 20 October), Rosebank Nouveau in the Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg (26 – 27 October), and Ster-Kinekor at Maponya Mall in Soweto (31 October).

The annual Japanese Film Festival is aimed at promoting an understanding of various aspects of Japanese life and culture among South African audiences. All the films are in Japanese with English sub-titles. Tickets are available at the various cinema box offices one hour before each screening starts.

This year’s festival includes the following five films:

Hankyu Railway – A 15 minute Miracle (PG16) –
This film follows the lives of various people who commute on Hankyu Railway’s Imazu Line – connecting the cities of Nishinomiya and Takarazuka in Hyogo prefecture. One of the commuters is Shoko, an office worker in her 30s who lost her boyfriend to a younger colleague. There’s also a college student who is so easily persuaded by her no good boyfriend. Other commuters include a grandmother & granddaughter, a house wife, a female high school student, and a female Otaku College student. Although the train ride takes only 15 minutes between several stations, the lives of these commuters are changed as they interact with each other…

Swing Girls –
At a rural girl’s high school in northern Japan, remedial math classes are being held during the summer break. Looking for a way out, Tomoko and two of her classmates volunteer to deliver lunches left behind by the school’s brass band on the way to support the baseball team at a crucial game. However, when the band subsequently suffers a bout of food poisoning, Tomoko and her companions seize the chance to ditch summer school as replacement musicians. Despite a severe lack of talent, they gradually succumb to the infectious rhythms of big band jazz and start to take the music seriously. Just as they are about to perform in public for the first time, the band members they
replaced return and the ring-ins are shunted to the sidelines. However, this fails to dampen the girls’ newfound spirit, and they take up part-time jobs and practice in the streets to achieve their dream of playing at the school’s music festival.

The Floating Castle (PG16) –
In 1589, nearing the end of Japan’s long years of civil war, with Toyotomi Hideyoshi one short step away from finally uniting the land under his rule, he sends a massive army north against the Hojo clan, his last enemy. The one stronghold he cannot take is Oshi Castle in the land of Bushu. Called ‘the floating castle’ because of the lake that surrounded it, it is under the command of one Narita Nagachika. Under Hideyoshi’s orders, General Ishida surrounds the castle with a force of 20,000. Nagachika with only 500 cavalry unite with the common folk in stubborn resistance, retreating not one step even when Ishida resorts to the extraordinary measure of damming a river to flood them out. But, with victory in their grasp, outside events give the story a twist no one would have ever expected.

The Place Promised in our Early Days –
In an alternate timeline, Japan was divided after losing World War II: Hokkaido was annexed by
“Union” while Honshu and other southern islands were under US sovereignty. A gigantic yet mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido and could be seen clearly from Aomori (the northern most prefecture of Honshu) across Tsugaru Strait. In the summer of 1996, three 9th-graders had made a promise that one day they’ll build an aircraft and unravel the tower’s mystery, but their project was abandoned after the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, began experiencing sleeping sickness and transferred to Tokyo for better treatment. Three years later, Hiroki Fujisawa accidentally found out that Sayuri had been in a coma since then, and he asked Takuya Shirakawa to help him finding a way to revive her. What they don’t know yet is that Sayuri’s unconsciousness is somehow linked with secrets of the tower and the world.

Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog –
The Noyama family lives on the small island of Miyakejima where they run a small inn. Elementary school student Shin Noyama names their new born puppy Rock. Shin absolutely adores Rock. In August, 2000 a devastating volcano erupts on the island. The Noyama family are forced to flee the
island and in the process Rock goes missing. The Noyama family begin life anew in the city of Tokyo, but yearn for their home on Miyakejima with hope that Rock is still alive…

The schedule of the films to be screened during the 2013 Japanese Film Festival at Cinema Nouveau and Ster-Kinekor Maponya Mall is as follows:

Cinema Nouveau: Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria – 05 and 06 October 2013
Saturday, 05 October
12:00 The Place Promised in Our Early Days
14:30 Hankyu Railway – a 15-minute Miracle
17:00 The Floating Castle

Sunday, 06 October
12:00 Swing Girls
14:30 Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog

Cinema Nouveau: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town – 12 and 13 October 2013
Saturday, 12 October
14:30 The Place Promised in Our Early Days
17:00 Hankyu Railway – a 15-minute Miracle
20:00 The Floating Castle

Sunday, 13 October
14:30 Swing Girls
17:00 Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog

Cinema Nouveau: Gateway Mall, Durban – 19 and 20 October 2013
Saturday, 19 October
The Place Promised in Our Early Days (14:30)
Hankyu Railway – a 15-minute Miracle (17:00)
The Floating Castle (20:00)

Sunday, 20 October
Swing Girls (12:00)
Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog (14:30)

Cinema Nouveau: Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg – 26 and 27 October 2013
Saturday, 26 October
12:00 The Place Promised in Our Early Days
14:30 Hankyu Railway – a 15-minute Miracle
17:00 The Floating Castle
Sunday, 27 October
12:00 Swing Girls
14:30 Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog

Ster-Kinekor: Maponya Mall, Soweto – 31 October 2013

Thursday, 31 October
10:00 The Place Promised in Our Early Days
13:30 Swing Girls

With a variety of genres and award-winning titles being screened, the Japanese Film Festival presents some of the most exciting Japanese cinema in South Africa. Cinema Nouveau is once again delighted to be associated with this exciting cultural venture.

For more information on the Japanese Film Festival, please visit: | mobi-site: |Ticketline: 082 16789 (VAS rates apply) | Facebook: CinemaNouveau| Follow us on Twitter: @nouveaubuzz.

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