Japanese Cinema

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Japanese cinema is out there online, like everything else but there’s nothing to beat seeing movies such as A Taxing Woman, Tampopo, Tokyo Sonata, Eel, Happy Flight etc. on the big screen.
Toronto has the Japan Cultural Centre which arranges regular film screenings. The city is somehow synonymous with cinema to me.  I used to be a groupie of the Toronto International Film Festival where I discovered cinema from China, Israel, Italy, India, Italy, Sweden and Japan.
It took time to get used to Japanese cinema but once I did, it was gentle like the rain in Okinawa.  I realised that it was more than the yakuza, geisha and the samurai.  Japanese cinema also introduced me the kimono, food and Japanese utensils. 

Director Akira Kurosawa needs no introduction.  Juzo Itami (A Taxing Woman) is also well-known outside Japan but there are other interesting directors.  Shinobu Yaguchi directed Happy Flight, a story about what happens in front of the plane including the cockpit.  Japanese cinema also includes artists like Koji Yakusho, who starred in The Eel and Shitsurakuen [Lost Paradise].

Lost Paradise is not regarded as a family movie, which is unfortunate because it deals with other serious issues for modern society. 
Issues

·        What happens when your job becomes redundant?

·        Why are married women who have affairs called ‘immoral’?

·        Should lovers divorce their spouses and follow their hearts?

·        The daughter in Lost Paradise cries when her father leaves

Tokyo Sonata also deals with men losing their jobs but too scared to tell their wives.  They wake up every morning, wear the black suit and spend the day in a soup kitchen.  Departures and The Funeral are two films that deal with death in a light way.
Japanese directors also tell stories about Japan and China, the Japanese occupation and post-war.

Film Festivals
You can get recent Japanese films if you monitor the Foreign Film category in North American and European film festivals.  The internet has spoilt us because you can get all the information you want about films showing in film festivals but nothing beats being there, to get the vibe or ‘trending’ to use Twitter-speak.

Does your city have a film festival?  Arrange your days off around it and catch some great foreign films.  You don’t like subtitles?  But your computer talks to you all the time using subtitles.  Please wait while we finish updating the program. 

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