Tickets are now on sale for JAEFF 2019: Nation!  

This year’s festival will be held at the Barbican Centre, Close-Up Film Centre and MetFilm School from Friday 20 September through Sunday 22 September. JAEFF 2019: Nation will see five feature-length films screened alongside seven short-form films. We will again be hosting a panel discussion at the Barbican, and are very excited to announce a free filmmakers’ workshop at the MetFilm School.

Friday 20 September 201 – Barbican Cinema 3 – 6pm

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
USA 1985, Dir Paul Schrader, 120 mins, Digital presentation
Patriotism (Yūkoku)
Japan 1966, Dir Yukio Mishima and Domoto Masaki, 28 mins, Digital presentation

Reimagined in vibrant, expressionist colour, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters marries an author to his fiction—a vivid middle where man and myth collide. Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata) is considered to be one of Japan’s most important novelists, and via Paul and Leonard Schrader’s unique framing, is psychoanalytically deconstructed to show not only how strong a storyteller he was, but how compellingly a biopic of this scope is able to capture the essence of personhood. Beginning on the last day of Mishima’s life as he brazenly tries to reinstate the Emperor of Japan, Schrader’s film weaves in and out of reality, trying to connect the dots of the author’s past, his novels and the ultimately-fatal acts of the supposed present.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is preceded by Yukio Mishima’s own poetically-violent explorations into love, honour and death, Patriotism.

Saturday 21 September 2019 – MetFilm School – 11am

Filmmakers’ workshop
Filmmakers from JAEFFs past and present, representatives of funding bodies, curators and programmers will discuss their creative processes, support networks and distribution channels available for young filmmakers.
This is a free event open to anyone interested in short film (but with some focus on Japanese artists and experimental form). Places are limited, so registration is essential.

Saturday 21 September 2019 – Close-Up Cinema – 5.40pm

Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974
Japan 1974, Dir Kazuo Hara, 98 min, Digital presentation
+ Dialogue
Japan 2018, Dir Yuka Sato, 17 min, Digital presentation

A stunning and perverse glimpse into life after a relationship, Kazuo Hara pushes uncomfortable boundaries in ways no documentarian has ever dared. Following Miyuki after the dissolution of their relationship, Hara decides that filming his lost love’s new life in Okinawa is the best way to stay connected. Through candid vignettes with ill-synched audio, a voyeuristic, dreamlike portrait emerges of Miyuki at the hub of a burgeoning leftist community. Landing somewhere in the ether between one man’s destructive coping strategy, a record of fringe 1970’s culture, and the thought-provoking nature of what remains after love ends, Extreme Private Eros is an introspective artistic enterprise and a riveting piece of documentary filmmaking.
Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 is paired here with Yuka Sato’s Dialogue, where, emerging from a period of withdrawal, a social recluse or ‘hikikomori’ relates her inner experiences against the backdrop of an illuminated, restless urban environment that never sleeps.

Saturday 21 September 2019- Close-Up Cinema – 8.30pm

Fighting Elegy 
Japan 1966, Dir Seijun Suzuki, 86 min, Digital presentation
How Can You Know Where to Go If You Do Not Know Where You Have Been 
Japan 2017, Dir Mizuki Toriya, 6 min, Digital presentation
Bright Beyond Bearing
USA 2017, Dir Monika Uchiyama, 4 min, Digital presentation
UK/Japan 2019, Dir Chiemi Shimada, 12 min, Digital presentation

Shooting with audacious confidence, Seijun Suzuki ensnares us in an inane satire—precisely the kind of madness this bizarre masterpiece seeks to destroy. High-schooler Kiroku is in love with the rigidly-Catholic daughter of his boarding family, but society and religion do not allow him to exercise his more-base desires. Overflowing with teenage angst, he finds relief in violent outbursts: discovering that with each one comes mixed results. Displaying Suzuki’s trademark mockery, Fighting Elegy meets society’s continual moralistic failings head on, showing the objective absurdity civilisation creates, while at the same time allowing us a chance to laugh without considering the part we each play in this ongoing farce.
Fighting Elegy is paired here with three short films which explore the past through personal stories narrated by female relatives of the filmmakers: Mizuki Toriya’s How Can You Know Where to Go If You Do Not Know Where You Have Been, Monika Uchiyama’s Bright Beyond Bearing and Chiemi Shimada’s Chiyo.

Sunday 22 September 2019 – Barbican Cinema 3 – 1.45pm

Panel Discussion: Screening the Nation
This panel discussion event brings together historians and academics to contextualise and explore the films and themes of the festival.

This year, Japanese cinema sociologist Dolores Martinez (SOAS), Yukio Mishima biographer Damian Flanagan, and Kate Taylor-Jones (University of Sheffield)—whose work encompasses postcolonial moments in Japanese cinema and representations of girlhood—will discuss social experiences and subjects presented in the festival. Post-war identity formation will be compared to a contemporary Japan which, like much of the world, is currently experiencing social alienation and a virulent strain of populist politics.
This is a free event open to anyone. Places are limited, so registration is essential.

Sunday 22 September 2019 – Barbican Cinema 3 – 3.30pm

Pigs and Battleships 
Japan 1961, Dir Shohei Imamura, 108 min, 35mm presentation
Japan/UK 2019, Dir Ryushi Lindsay, 11 min, Digital presentation

The film that launched Shohei Imamura’s career, Pigs and Battleships is an agile, whip-smart mockery of a greed-driven, post-occupation Japan. Much of the director’s breakout film concerns itself with the activities of a gang operating in Yokosuka. With piercing, CinemaScope shots, Pigs and Battleships explores the real-world consequences of American control, and its continued military presence in Japan. Imamura’s gangsters, by their very nature, are involved in every aspect of life in the impoverished town, allowing the director to wryly follow along; peering into doorways and down alleyways to give us a cinematic time capsule of 1960s Japan. Exploring high and low, Imamura’s film captures the very essence of the city—pig shit and all.
Pigs and Battleships is paired with Ryushi Lindsay’s Kokutai, an exploration of fascist aesthetics in high school baseball.

Sunday 22 September 2019 – Barbican Cinema 3 – 6.00pm

Death by Hanging
Japan 1968, Dir Nagisa Oshima, 118 min, Digital presentation
The Educational System of an Empire
Japan 2016, Dir Hikaru Fujii, 21 min, Digital presentation

In his usual fashion, Nagisa Oshima faces a derisive issue head on, making a farce out of a (still) ongoing human rights issue—capital punishment. R is a Korean who has, ostensibly, committed a crime worthy of death. In a circling overhead shot, Oshima’s film captures the “house” of death where inmates will drink their last tea and breathe their last breath. But after hanging for over 20 minutes, R’s body won’t accept death. Shot in “real” time, Death by Hanging pits bureaucracy, ethics and spirituality against one another as the executioners debate re-hanging an already hanged man. Satire dressed in all the trappings of high drama comforts us in the midst of such a taboo subject without blunting the edge of our inborn criticality.
Death by Hanging is paired here with Hikaru Fujii’s The Educational System of an Empire where a group of young South Koreans are asked to re-enact the tyrannical actions of colonial Japan upon the nation of Korea.

This screening will be followed by a drinks reception in the foyer of the Barbican from 8.30 – 10.15pm. All are welcome.

Tickets are officially on sale now, Barbican multi-buy discount can be applied HERE, and individual event tickets can be purchased at any of the corresponding links in the programme below. Note: the filmmakers’ workshop and panel discussion are free to attend, but due to high demand, we require booking in advance via Eventbrite or the Barbican, respectively.

On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"