[KineJapan] London-based JAEFF Announces Programme for September

Jordan Brooks jordan at jaeff.org
Mon Jul 19 01:51:37 EDT 2021

The Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival's 3rd iteration "Bodies" will be held in London from 16-19th September and online from 20-30th

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Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival announces full programme for JAEFF 2021: Bodies in advance of ticket sales on 22 July.  JAEFF 2021: Bodies will be held London at The Barbican from 16-19th September, and online from 20th-30th September.

JAEFF 2021: Bodies explores how we interact with other beings, spaces around us, and how expressions of the unutterable become vital means of communication and connection.

This third edition of the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival considers the body and sensation, and features work from directors Kon Ichikawa, Toshio Matsumoto, Susumu Hani, Chiaki Nagano, Takahiko Iimura, Tatsumi Kumashiro, Shuji Terayama and more.
In a time where words, facts and logic are increasingly ineffectual, powerless and absurd, this year's programme attempts to make sense of the nonsensical. Finding that sometimes, the most powerful form of expression is often what we feel, rather than what we can say, write, or even think.

Inspired by the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the lockdown, and a loss of "truth," JAEFF 2021: Bodies presents a line-up of features and shorts that examine the body triumphant, and the body in crisis – through dance, performance, sport, exercise, and more.

** About the Japanese Avant-garde and experimental Film Festival:

JAEFF was founded in London by Joshua Smith and George Crosthwait with the aim of making Japanese avant-garde and experimental cinema accessible to practical, theoretical, and popular audiences. By giving these three spheres a shared platform, JAEFF is an attempt to hold equality at the forefront of cinematic discourse.


** Thu 16 Sept, 6:00pm

Barbican Cinema
Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (Japan 1968 Dir. Susumu Hani 108 min, 16mm) + A.I. Mama (USA 2020 Dir. Asuka Lin 5 min)

An extremely rare 16mm screening of new wave master Susumu Hani’s endlessly inventive web of young love and seedy underworld forces.

JAEFF 2021: Bodies begins with a bang. A script penned by avant-garde god Shuji Terayama, Nanami: The Inferno of First Love is arguably Hani’s masterpiece. Ostensibly a tale of boy meets girl, young goldsmith Shun falls for nude model Nanami. But Hani’s film spirals ever deeper into a hallucinatory howl against a society that neglects, exploits, and abuses young bodies. A seamless mesh of Hani’s verité style with Terayama’s experimental exuberance, expect to be stunned, troubled, and scorched by the inferno.

Nanami: The Inferno of First Love is paired with Asuka Lin’s post-cyberpunk Super 8 film, A.I. Mama, featuring a young non-binary programmer who attempts to reconnect with their lost mother.

With an introduction by Jennifer Coates.

** Fri 17 Sept, 6:00pm

Barbican Cinema
Portrait of Mr O (Japan 1969 Dir Chiaki Nagano 65 min) + Anma (Japan 1963 Dir Takahiko Iimura 20 min) + Rose Color Dance (Japan 1965 Dir Takahiko Iimura 13 min) + In Passing (UK 2019 Dir Anne Verheij 5 min)

The first of our two screenings celebrating butoh co-founders Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno through wildly inventive and highly surreal cinematic works.

Our bodies are in crisis! This programme brings together Chiaki Nagano and Takahiko Iimura’s collaborations with butoh pioneers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. JAEFF attempts to define a dance style which defies definition. Beginning with the first entry in Nagano’s Mr O trilogy, viewers will be plunged headfirst into the grotesque absurdities of a form which seeks to “resist fixity”. The unforgettable imagery of Portrait of Mr O is complemented by Iimura’s “cinedance” recordings of Hijikata’s early 1960s performances. Both Anma and Rose Color Dance are efforts to film choreography and to choreograph film.

Connecting these works to present-day conceptions of movement, society, and technology is Anne Verheij’s In Passing.

With a video introduction by Michael Sakamoto.

** Sat 18 Sept, 8:30pm

Barbican Cinema
Lovers are Wet (Japan 1973 Dir Tatsumi Kumashiro, 76 mins)

Smut or art? Join us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno series of pink films with Tatsumi Kumashiro’s existential shag-a-thon, Lovers are Wet.

It’s Friday evening, and after a long week at work, it’s time to surreptitiously purchase your ticket, slipping unobserved into our erotic movie palace.
We’ve opted to mark this 50th anniversary of Nikkatsu Roman Porno with a somewhat subversive selection. Not out of place with the "angry young man" films by Nagisa Oshima and Shuji Terayama, Lovers are Wet depicts the return of a particularly nihilistic native to his seaside village. Working in a local softcore cinema, Katsu refuses to acknowledge his connection to the town, and begins a mission of cruel seduction. Kumashiro’s bleak and windswept vision is punctured by humour and depravity and serves as an angry broadside against censorship in Japan.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

** Saturday 18 Sept, 3:00pm

Barbican Cinema
Mr O’s Book of the Dead (Japan 1973 Dir Chiaki Nagano 90 min) + Navel and A-Bomb (​​Japan 1960 Dir Eikoh Hosoe 15 min) + Dual Enframe (Japan 2018 Dir Kioto Aoki 3 min)

Chiaki Nagano and Kazou Ohno’s trilogy reaches its bewildering and exhilarating conclusion in part two of JAEFF’s butoh screenings.

We conclude our irresistible yet unclassifiable stumble through the world of butoh with two more masterpieces showcasing the talents of Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Hijikata reflects of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Eikoh Hosoe’s Navel and A-Bomb, whilst Ohno steps into riotous colour in the concluding chapter of Nagano’s Mr O trilogy.

Mr O’s Book of the Dead is a stunning work of surrealism and choreography that evades written summary. Indeed, according to Ohno: “It is not important to understand what I am doing; perhaps it is better if they don't understand, but just respond to the dance.”

These classic dance films are complemented by Kioto Aoki’s Dual Enframe, which plays with different iterations of “the framing device,” using the camera, the body, the mirror, and a window space.

With a video introduction by Michael Sakamoto.

** Saturday 18 Sept, 5:50pm

Barbican, Cinema 1
Boxer (Japan 1977 Dir Shuji Terayama 94 min) + Transparent, the world is. (Japan 2019 Dir Yuri Muraoka 7 min)

Collapsing the line between mainstream sports drama and formal invention, avant-garde hero Shuji Terayama’s Boxer is arguably the greatest boxing film ever made.

Welcome to Saturday night JAEFF Fight Night! A real underdog story! Dripping with surrealist style! Let’s get ready to rumble!
Former champ Hayato (Bunta Sugawara) is washed up and disillusioned. His shot at redemption arrives in the form of young boxer Henma (Kentarô Shimizu) seeking tutelage. While Boxer contains all the training montages required by the genre, the focus is always on the fluidity, punishment, and dedication of the fighting body.

Boxer is preceded by Yuri Muraoka’s kaleidoscopic portrait of the filmmaker and her daughters, Transparent, the world is. A short film depicting the relationship between being and society.

With an introduction by Julian Ross.

** Sun 19 Sept, 11:00am

Barbican, Cinema 2/3 Beech Street
Panel Discussion: Japan’s Cinematic Body

This panel discussion event brings together historians and academics to contextualise and explore the films and themes of the festival. Panelists TBD.

** Sun 22 Sept, 1:20pm

Barbican, Cinema 1
Nippon Express Carries the Olympics to Tokyo (Japan 1964 Dir Shinkichi Noda and Toshio Matsumoto 41 min) + Record of a Marathon Runner (Japan 1963 Dir Kazuo Kuroki 62 min) + Tokyo Story (Japan 2019 Dir Hal Torii 2 min)

The logistical efforts of putting on the 1964 Olympics are pitted against the Sisyphean loneliness of a long-distance runner.

Our afternoon of Olympic themed screenings begins with an early documentary from Japanese counter-culture legend Toshio Matsumoto (Funeral parade of Roses). In collaboration with the Museum of Logistics, we present the UK premiere of Nippon Express. A showcase of the behind-the-scenes detail and labour required to host a mass sporting spectacle, Shinkichi Noda and Matsumoto’s poetic imagery is undercut by the upbeat promotional narration. In another UK first, we are delighted to screen Record of a Marathon Runner. Kazuo Kuroki documents the Olympic preparations of young athlete Kimihara Kenji, capturing the monotonous rhythms of training whilst pushing cinematic form into abstraction.

Nippon Express and Record of a Marathon Runner are paired with Hal Torii’s surrealist short: Tokyo Story.

** Sun 19 Sept, 4:00pm

Barbican, Cinema 1
Tokyo Olympiad (Japan 1964 Dir Kon Ichikawa 169 min)

Kon Ichikawa tears up the documentary playbook for this thrilling cinematic record of the 1964 Summer Olympics.

JAEFF 2021: Bodies concludes with the spectacular 4K restoration of Tokyo Olympiad. Ichikawa’s masterpiece is a leap forward in both technical innovation and artistic experimentation. This is filmmaking on a grand scale; a paeon to the notion of global connection and the pursuit of sporting excellence that values humanity over results. Fittingly, JAEFF’s day of Olympic themed programming ends with the greatest sports film ever made.
Ichikawa’s elegant and impressionistic wide-screen poetry will be fused into your mind. And, it might just remind you why you love cinema and what a body (and a soul) can achieve.

With an introduction by Dolores Martinez.

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