Japanese film festival at Showroom

japanese filmsARTSBEAT FILM: This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Japan Foundation’s touring film programme which arrives at the Showroom Cinema, in Sheffield, on Friday 8 February.

The programme showcases a series of works from directors both well-known and lesser-known, all sharing the same aspiration to reinterpret, reinvent or relive moments of times gone by.

Each film is set in a different period of Japanese history, covering huge swathes of history through a variety of genres, taking audiences on a journey through ancient Japanese architecture to 1960s radical politics to 1990s pop culture nostalgia.

The season at the Showroom kicks off with special guest Isshin Inudo, the director of murder-mystery, Zero Focus, who will take part in a Q&A after the screening of the film.

The Showroom will also screen two Japanese children’s films, Ninja Kids!!! and Mai Mai Miracle.

As part of the Saturday Club scheme, the films will be preceded by a craft activity – children will have the opportunity to make Samurai swords, helmets and fish lanterns.

The Showroom’s line-up of films is as follows:

Zero Focus (18) – with director Q&A, Friday 8 February, 5.30pm. Isshin Inudo’s gripping Hitchcockian murder-mystery set in the beautiful location of post war Kanazawa features an all-star female cast in an adaptation of the celebrated crime novel by Seicho Matsumoto. Director Isshin Inudo will take questions after the screening.

Ninja Kids!!! (PG, )Saturday 9 February, 1pm. From the bonkers brain of director Takashi Miike comes a new kid’s film about a feuding ninja school.

Hula Girls (18), Sunday 10 February, 8pm. Based on a true story, Hula Girls is a heart-warming comedy about coal miners’ daughters who took a once-in-a-lifetime chance to escape their monotonous lives, only to become unwitting heroes to the whole of Japan.

Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (18), Monday 11 February, 6.15pm. Yasuo Baba’s 2007 time-travel comedy is a hilarious satire of bubble-era Japan, filled with nostalgic gags, retro fashion and music, guaranteed to lift your spirits and cast away any recession blues!

The Blossoming of Etsuko Kamiya (18), Tuesday 12 February, 6.15pm. A tragic yet quaint love story set in Kagoshima as the Second World War drew to a close. Like many of Kuroki’s works, it concerns the trauma and unalterable influence of the Second World War of those who lived through it.

Castle Under Fiery Skies (18), Thursday 14 February, 5.30pm. This film introduces a fascinating insight into the world of traditional Japanese architecture. Mitsutoshi Tanaka’s well-crafted spin on the period drama genre is a heart-warming tale of one ordinary man’s skill and determination.

Rebirth (18), Friday 15 February, 5.45pm. Based on the popular novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, Izuru Narushima’s acclaimed drama questioning nature over nurture scooped an astounding 11 awards at the 2012 Japanese Academy Awards 2012, including best film and best director.

Mai Mai Miracle (PG), Saturday 16 February, 1pm. A beautifully rendered, fantastical animated epic from Japan. This is a lovely tale of friendship and imagination will entrance children and adults alike.

Kaidan Horror Classics (18), Saturday 16 February, 6pm. Three haunting stories written by Japanese literary masters, reinterpreted and revived by some of Japan’s greatest directors, Kaidan Horror Classics is a collection of beautiful yet terrifying tales of the darkness of the human heart.

United Red Army (18), Sunday 17 February, 3pm. Wakamatsu’s story draws extensively from his own experience with radical politics, based on interviews conducted with surviving Red Army members, and provides a fascinating insight into a brutal and bloody history that has almost already been forgotten.

Tickets can be booked at the Showroom box office, 0114 275 7727, or online: http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/japanfoundation. If you buy three tickets for the season and get one free.