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April 28-29, 2006

Otaku Cinema Slam!!

This new series presents a rich variety of recent Japanese films and videos that introduce themes related to the notion of otaku, roughly translated as "geek culture" or "pop culture fanaticism." Genres include family drama, artistic animation and fantasy.

This series was made possible through consultation from the Japan Society, New York, who produced and organized the original film series under the title Otaku Cinema Slam!! in Spring 2005. This series is co-presented with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University and the Japan Society of Boston. 

Program notes courtesy of the Japan Society, New York

April 28 (Friday) 7 pm

Quartet for Two (Rendan)

Directed by Naoto Takenaka
Japan 2001, color, 104 min.
With Naoto Takenaka, Yuki Amami, Keika Fukitsuka, Yuta Minowa
Japanese with English subtitles

A very contemporary family drama, this film is a sensitive portrayal of two young children as they adjust to the breakup of their parents' marriage. In a complete reversal of the stereotypical household, Shotaro is a timid, stingy house-husband, while tall and strikingly beautiful Minako is a career woman who enjoys her job and her love affairs. Takenaka, a multi-talented director/actor/TV personality, co-stars with Yuki Amami, a former Takarazuka male impersonator.

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April 28 (Friday) 9 pm

Gamera 3: Revenge of the Iris (Gamera 3: Jashin Irisu kakusei)

Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Japan 1999, color, 110 min.
With Shinobu Nakayama, Ai Maeda, Ayako Fujitani
Japanese with English subtitles

Gamera Three (known to Japanese fans as G3) concludes the history of the turtle monster film series begun in 1965. A counterattack against Gamera, whose character has oscillated between a destructive monster and a guardian of the earth, comes in the form of a powerful flying monster with multiple tentacles named Iris, who hatches from an egg found at an ancient religious site and is nurtured by Ayana.

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April 29 (Saturday) 7 pm

The World of Yamamura Animation

Directed by Koji Yamamura
Japan 1987-2005, color
Japanese with English subtitles

By combining several different media, such as modeling clay, three dimensional figures, photographs and drawings, Koji Yamamura creates hand-crafted analog visuals that are pleasing and playful, but somewhat surreal. This selection of 10 short animations includes Aquatic (1987), Japanese-English Pictionary (1988), Perspektivenbox--Researcher's Search (1990), Karo & Piyobupt (1993), Kids Castle (1995), Your Choice! (1999), Mt. Head (2002), which was nominated for the 75th Academy Awards Short Films' Animation Category, and Yamamura's latest work, The Old Crocodile (2005).

Kizuna, Parts 1 & 2

Directed by Rin Hiroo
Japan 1994, color, 60 min.
Japanese with English subtitles

These two episodes of the anime adaptation of one of the bestselling Yaoi comics depict a love triangle between Ranmaru Samejima, Kei Enjoji and Kai Sagano, as well as a tangled family drama between two brothers, Kei and Kai. Yaoi is a cultic subculture genre of manga with a theme of male to male romantic love that is primarily read by women, but also has a strong presence in the Comicket(comic market) estimated to draw one million fans in Japan.

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