Japan Society Presents: Love Letters: Four Films by Shunji Iwai – December 9 to 23, 2022

Japan Society is pleased to announce Appreciate Letters: 4 Films by Shunji Iwai, a weekend series celebrating the defining early performs of filmmaker Shunji Iwai. One particular of the most original talents to emerge from Japan in the &amprsquor90s, Iwai tapped into the dreams and lives of Japan’s youth with his lyrical meditations on the hardships of young adulthood, capturing pivotal and unforgettable moments of life. Balancing well known entertainment with arthouse predilection, Iwai’s exhilarating requires on the youth film offered a a lot-necessary voice for the younger generation, supplying delicate portraits of adolescence, ripe with poetic yearnings of grief, friendship, and young really like. Iwai’s sumptuous visual style, coupled with his affecting and underground appeal, opened a planet of new possibilities in the &amprsquor90s cinescape—marking him as one particular of the most achieved and distinctive filmmakers of his generation.

A primer on the director’s crucial performs, Appreciate Letters launches on December 9th with a screening of Iwai’s breakthrough Appreciate Letter. An international phenomenon (even becoming a cultural touchstone in South Korea with its iconic line “O-genki desu ka?” which means “How are you?”), Iwai&amprsquors achingly evocative and bittersweet debut launched the profession of star Miki Sakai although cementing his trademark visual style, musical inclinations, and poetic leanings. On December 10th, following Appreciate Letter, a double-function pairing of two of the filmmaker’s most endearing and affecting performs will be screened: Fireworks, Should really We See It from the Side or the Bottom? (presented in a new remaster and colour grade) and April Story. Each ruminating on situations of new freedoms, independence, and innocent really like, the two films offer you poignant research of adolescents facing new life alterations and experiences. Concluding the plan is a uncommon, archival 35mm screening of Iwai’s most enduring perform, the transformative All About Lily Chou-Chou. In addition to in-particular person screenings, April Story will be out there to stream across the U.S. at film.japansociety.org from December 9th via December 23rd.

Tickets: $15/$12 students and seniors /$ten Japan Society members.
Buy tickets for all films in the exact same transaction and obtain $two off every single ticket.
On-line Screening: $ten person film rentals with a three-day rental window go on sale December 9. Japan Society members obtain a 20% discount on all tickets through coupon code.

Lineup and other facts are topic to alter. For full data stop by japansociety.org.

All About Lily Chou-Chou

All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.

Appreciate Letter
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 7:00 PM
Dir. Shunji Iwai, 1995, 117 min., DCP, Colour. With Miho Nakayama, Etsushi Toyokawa, Miki Sakai.

Two years just after the tragic loss of her fiancé, heartbroken Hiroko (played by pop idol Miho Nakayama) composes a letter, addressing it to his childhood property. As fate would have it, Hiroko&amprsquors “letter to heaven” is received by a former junior higher classmate (also played by Nakayama) who shares his name, setting into motion a correspondence reveling in the quiet ruminations of the previous. Unapologetic in its soft-concentrate lyricism, Iwai’s function debut brims with flowing emotion, crafting a lovelorn tale of what may well have been. A beautifully constructed melodrama, Appreciate Letter evokes an intoxicating romanticism of lost really like, recollection and grief—all amid a picturesque wintry setting.

Fireworks, Should really We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
Saturday, December ten at five:00 PM
Dir. Shunji Iwai, 1993, 45 min., DCP, Colour. With Megumi Okina, Yuta Yamazaki, Takayuki Sorita.

U.S. Premiere of New Colour Grading &amp Remaster. Initially broadcast as element of a Fuji Television anthology series in 1993, Fireworks, Should really We See It from the Side or Bottom? won the Japan Film Director’s Guild Newcomer Award that year—a uncommon achievement for a tv film. Set in the course of the final day of college as the imminent summer time break brings the guarantee of freedom, adventure, and a a lot-anticipated fireworks show, Iwai’s unabashedly romantic and sentimental slice of life drama captures the day’s events via the eyes of a schoolboy. This shot-on-video function brings forth a deluge of new experiences from youthful wonderment to initial love—delivering an extraordinarily moving depiction of the occurrences of a single, unforgettable summer time day. Screens with April Story.

April Story
Saturday, December ten at five:00 PM
Dir. Shunji Iwai, 1998, 67 min., DCP, Colour. With Takako Matsu, Seiichi Tanabe, Kahori Fujii.

Shy and meek Uzuki (pop star Takako Matsu) moves cross-nation from rural, chilly Hokkaido to bustling Tokyo for college. Documenting the travails of settling down in a new atmosphere that is as equally liberating as it is overwhelming, April Story follows the quiet girl as she navigates the anxieties of generating pals, building a new property for herself, and managing her newfound independence—all for the yearnings of an innocuous crush. Shot in the peak bloom of cherry blossom season, April Story is possibly Iwai’s most earnest depiction of initial really like, completely capturing a snapshot of life’s a lot of wonders and mysteries. Screens in-particular person with Fireworks, Should really We See It from the Side or the Bottom?. Also out there to stream on the net from December 9-23 at film.japansociety.com.

All About Lily Chou-Chou
Saturday, December ten at 7:15 PM
Dir. Shunji Iwai, 2001, 146 min., 35mm, Colour. With Hayato Ichihara, Shugo Oshinari, Ayumi Ito, Yu Aoi.

Archival 35mm Presentation. A portrait of outcasts, Iwai’s turn-of-the-millennium tale is his unmistakable masterpiece, a perform of piercing cruelty and alienation that follows the lives of broken souls grasping for fleeting moments of beauty in a planet of gray. Bullied teen Yuichi (Hayato Ichihara) finds solace solely in the transcendent music of ethereal pop singer Lily Chou-Chou (a fictional idol echoing Faye Wong), operating an on the net web message board devoted to her beneath the alias “Philia.” Yuichi’s college days are filled with continuous harassment and torment, experiencing humiliation and suffering at the hands of a former buddy as he becomes a reluctant participant in acts of blackmail and shoplifting. Weaving Debussy, overexposed cinematography, and the lush anthems of Lily Chou-Chou into his web-age bildungsroman, Iwai delivers a haunting teenage dream of lonely spirits reaching out into the ether.


7 PM &#8211 Appreciate Letter

five PM &#8211 Fireworks, Should really We See It from the Side or the Bottom? / April Story
7:15 PM &#8211 All About Lily Chou-Chou



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