The Japanese Film Week 2017 – Taste of Life –
Sun. 26 February – Thurs. 2 March 2017
Artistic Creativity Centre – Cairo Opera House Grounds – Zamalek – Cairo
The Japan Foundation Cairo Office is pleased to present its annual Film Week. This year we have a special lineup of recent films all featuring the culinary culture of Japan, in addition to their moving and funny stories.
Schedule: Schedule for Japanese Film Week 2017
Akanezora – Beyond the Crimson Sky
2007/ 120 min.
Director: Masaki Hamamoto
Cast: Masaaki Uchino as Eikichi/ Denzo, Miki Nakatani as Ofumi, Renji Ishibashi as Seibei, Shima Iwashita as Oshino
Akanezora takes a story about a craftsman dedicated to making a popular Japanese staple food “tofu”, which perhaps best represents the dietary culture of Japan, and sets his tale in colorful locale among the lively people of mid-18th century Edo (present day Tokyo) to create a touching human drama.
A young man named Eikichi comes from Kyoto to Edo to open a tofu shop in a friendly neighborhood. He meets a feisty local girl, Ofumi, who befriends him as he sets up his shop. They eventually get married and have children while trying to overcome the difficulties stemming from cultural differences between the two ancient capitals, Kyoto and Edo, including the preferred taste of tofu itself. Soon, the children grow up and have to bear the brunt of other tofu-shop owners’ animosity towards his family for his father’s refusal to comply with Edo’s ways of running a business.
This film is based on an award-winning novel, and is basically a story about family – the ties that bind husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and the quirks of fate that threaten to pull them apart.
A Drop of the Grapevine
2014/ 117 min.
Director: Yukiko Mishima
Cast: Yo Oizumi as Ao, Yuko Ando as Erica, Shota Sometani as Roku
A gentle story with hidden emotional depths about family dynamics, as well as the relations between friends.
Ao, who left home against his family’s wishes to pursue a career in music returns to his father’s farm after an infection damages his hearing where he tirelessly works on growing “black diamonds”, the grapes used to make Pinot Noir wine, while his younger brother Roku tends to the wheat field inherited from their father. One day, a woman named Erica appears. She is an enthusiastic cook with an appetite for good wine and a deep secret who blows a breath of fresh air through the quiet existence of Ao and Roku.
The film is set in Hokkaido and was actually filmed there, in the beautiful Sorachi area. The products of Hokkaido feature hugely in this film; the filmmaker focused on the crafts, utensils and particularly the food of Hokkaido. Watching this film is an opportunity to learn about one of the most special areas of Japan.
2014/ 95 min.
Director: Naoki Segi
Cast: Ai Takahashi as Ayane, Ken Kaito as Tomoya, Kenjiro Ishimaru as Kosuke
There are countless karaage* shops in Usa City, Oita Prefecture which has been dubbed “the United States of Karaage.”
After 5 years away, Ayane returns to her hometown with step-daughter Shirley, the Afro-American child of the man she ran away with. Ayane’s family is surprised to see her and hesitant to take her back, especially her father Kosuke.
Ayane’s family runs a karaage shop but over the years the number of loyal customers has declined drastically.
Meanwhile, a former lunchbox shop, flips brands and embraces a world-wide fried chicken franchise which becomes extremely popular and begins to threaten the local delicacy. Soon after, Ayane’s father Kosuke has a heart attack and is hospitalized. Ayane becomes determined to take over the family business despite hating karaage. In preparation for the up-coming annual “Karaage Carnival” Ayane tries various recipes to improve her family’s chicken. Meanwhile, a mysterious American guy arrives in Usa…
*Karaage: A Japanese cooking technique in which various foods – most often chicken – are deep fried in oil.
2014/ 111 min.
Director: Keisuke Yoshida
Cast: Kento Nakajima as Yugo, Alice Hirose as Aki, Tomohiro Ichikawa as Ichiro
Not your typical teen film about love, adventure or superheroes, this could be considered a new form of film: the rustic teen flick.
City boy Yugo enrolls in an agricultural high school in Hokkaido to escape the high expectations and stress of a cosmopolitan education hoping to find an escape and a nice dorm room. However, with 4 am wakeup calls, daily 20 kilometer jogs and farm chores including cleaning up after animals, he finds he is in over his head, especially once he starts clashing with the other students who, unlike him, all harbor clear goals for the future. All in all, this is the perfect setting for a discouraged and aimless youth to embark on a journey of self-discovery through toil, friendship and young romance.
It is based on a bestselling manga (comic book) which has been translated into many languages including Spanish, Italian, Polish, Thai, Korean, etc.
This film won an award for Best Screenplay at the 36th Yokohama Film Festival in 2015.
There is no Lid on the Sea
2015/ 84 min.
Director: Keisuku Toyoshima
Cast: Akiko Kikuchi as Mari, Azusa Mine as Hajime, Yukichi Kobayashi as Osamu
This film is based on the novel by acclaimed writer Banana Yoshimoto, which in turn was inspired by a song for the musician Hara Masumi.
Mari is tired of the pressures of life in the big city (Tokyo) and decides to move back to the small town of Nishiizu where she grew up to open a shop selling flavored snow cones. The simple flavors of her cold desserts soothe the emotional wounds of her customers and Mari comes to term with herself through spending time with Hajime, a young woman with a scarred face.