From contemporary films, to classics and anime the Japan Touring Film Programme has been bringing some of the most interesting titles from Japan to venues across the UK for twenty years. 2024’s edition arrives at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema with a broad range of movies, each looking at the world through the prism of memory. Subtitled “Unforgettable: Memories, Times, and Reflections in Japanese Cinema”, visitors to Showroom this February can expect everything from drama and horror, to LGBTQ films, time-travelling comedies and slick science fiction.
The broad selection includes nine films that look at all elements of Japanese society, from filmmakers that range from emerging newcomers to seasoned veterans. At Showroom on Tuesday 6 February, filmmaker Tetsuya Chihara will be in attendance for a Q&A following a screening of his debut directorial effort Ice Cream Fever, which weaves together stories of several generations of women, revolving around an ice cream shop.
Meanwhile, from the legendary director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Shinya Tsukamoto’s Shadow of Fire (Sun 11 Feb) earned the Best Asian Film Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Set in Tokyo in the aftermath of World War II, this drama about an orphan and the woman he meets in a local tavern-turned-brothel has been praised for its cinematic style and exploration of human tragedy.
Shinya Tsukamoto’s Shadow of Fire (Sun 11 Feb) earned the Best Asian Film Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival
Other highlights of the programme include a rare 35mm screening of 1959’s The Snow Flurry (Sun 18 Feb). The film follows a woman (Keiko Kishi) who survives a double suicide pact with her lover, living to give birth to his child. Directed by the celebrated Keisuke Kinoshita (The Ballad of Narayama), this skillful melodrama uses non-linear storytelling to critique traditional ideas of family and honour in a story filled with suffering and moral dilemmas.
There are lighter titles in the schedule too, including The Fish Tale (Tue 27 Feb), a quirky coming of age tale adapted from the autobiography of Sakana-kun, a Japanese TV personality well-known for his extensive knowledge of fish. While the satirical slapstick Hit Me Anyone One More Time! (Tue 20 Feb) follows the 127th Prime Minister of Japan as he wakes up following a rock to the head and remembering nothing about his life, resumes his duties with a newfound moral compass.