17th Japan-Filmfest Hamburg
The 17th JFFH: In the Shadow of the Yakuza
- Focus: Japan’s Criminal Underworld
- More than 80 film productions in Hamburg’s festival cinemas
- Current masterpieces by Takashi Miike and Sion Sono
- We’re expanding our successful anime selection
The 17th Japan-Filmfest Hamburg (JFFH) swings open its gates from June 8 – 12, 2016. As in previous years, Nihon Media e.V. will exhibit an exciting variety of Japanese film productions in the Metropolis, 3001 and Studio cinemas.
The Festival Opener
Eiichiro Hasumi’s high-speed terrorism thriller Mozu – The Movie sets off a colourful and diverse 17th JFFH. This European premiere will be celebrated on June 8th at the Metropolis cinema.
In the Shadow of the Yakuza – the 17th JFFH presents the diversity of Japanese gangster film
Parallel to American gangster and mafia epics, the Yakuza film formed early on in Japan. Directors like Seijun Suzuki, Kinji Fukasaku and Masahiro Shinoda represent the genre’s golden age. Contemporary cinema by directors like Takeshi Kitano and Takeshi Miike would be inconceivable without its existence.
Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, making the bizarre archaic rituals in an underworld marked by violence and subordination even more fascinating to cinema-goers. Ostracism of organized criminals is pervasive in Japanese society. And it’s precisely the tragic protagonists of this shadow world who provide filmmakers with the opportunity to show individuals exploding the tight corset of societal norms. It’s no coincidence that the dissolution of strict hierarchies and the rebellion of a young generation of gangsters are central motifs of most Yakuza films. Confrontations typically end in an excess of on-screen violence.
Though Yakuza cinema has always been present at JFFH, we have neglected to focus on this particularly varied genre – until now. In 2016, we present a whole series of current productions, providing viewers with a small impression of the abyss that is Japan’s criminal underworld, and its on-screen representation. Naturally we can’t exclude the most recent works of filmmakers who represent the Yakuza genre more than any others: director legend Takeshi Kitano (Outrage Beyond), cinematic berserker Takashi Miike (Yakuza Apocalypse) and Sion Sono, infamous for pushing the envelope of acceptability (Shinjuku Swan, Tokyo Tribe, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Tag). Seven of their latest films can be experienced at the 17th JFFH.
Our successful anime selection expands
Following last year’s hugely successful anime focus, the 17th JFFH will be giving Japanese animation its deserved space once again. The mesmerizing worlds conceived by Japanese animation studios are covering the full range of genres: from dystopic science-fiction, epic historical or fantasy drama to breathtaking action and fervent romance.
Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There, the tentatively final masterpiece by Studio Ghibli is accompanied by another noteworthy highlight, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. The documentation, which provides unique insights into the work of Japanese animation magicians Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, might be considered obligatory viewing by fans of legendary Studio Ghibli.
Furthermore, we are especially happy to present Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai, the latest creation of award-winning director Keiichi Hara. The historical portrait relates the largely unknown story of Hokusai’s gifted daughter, whose father is one of the internationally most well-known Japanese artists.