Movies

Find the best special screenings, movie events and film fun in Tokyo

Take a behind-the-scenes look at Noma's spell in Tokyo
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Take a behind-the-scenes look at Noma's spell in Tokyo

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The best cinemas in Tokyo
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The best cinemas in Tokyo

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The best movie events right now

His Own Selection: Mamoru Oshii
Film

His Own Selection: Mamoru Oshii

Shining the spotlight on Japanese directors active from the 1980s onward, the National Film Centre's 'His Own Selection' programme welcomes Mamoru Oshii for its fifth edition. Born in Tokyo in 1951, Oshii started his career as a storyboard artist making anime for TV before breaking big with the Urusei Yatsura series and, in 1983, directing his first feature-length film (Urusei Yatsura: Only You). After working on Patlabor with the Headgear group that also included the likes of Kazunori Ito, Oshii came out with Ghost in the Shell (1995) – and the rest is history. This two-week feature includes a total of 20 Ishii films – see the full programme and schedule here (in Japanese only).

Kenji Mizoguchi & Yasuzo Masumura Film Festival
Film

Kenji Mizoguchi & Yasuzo Masumura Film Festival

Shinjuku's Kadokawa Cinema rolls out a tasty classics programme for winter, featuring filmmaking titans Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasuzo Masumura – and more specifically, flicks by the duo that focus on women as protagonists. Mizoguchi highlights include epoch-making ghost story Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and brothel tale Street of Shame (1956), which was to become its director's last work, while the Masumura films range from debut piece Kisses (Kuchizuke, 1957) to 1967's Chijin no Ai, which is based on the renowned Junichiro Tanizaki novel known as 'Naomi' in English. The full programme and schedule details (in Japanese only) can be viewed here.

Martin Scorsese and Shusaku Endo Programme
Film

Martin Scorsese and Shusaku Endo Programme

Silence is Martin Scorsese's passion project. Based on a novel by one of Japan’s most respected writers, Shusaku Endo, it is reportedly a film the Goodfellas auteur has been wanting to make for years. Celebrating the January 21 release of the flick, which follows two idealistic young Portuguese priests who set sail to Japan in 1640 on a mission to find their mentor – who is rumoured to have betrayed his faith under torture – Waseda Shochiku puts on this four-film programme highlighting both Scorsese and Endo. In addition to the former's Gangs of New York (2002) and Taxi Driver (1976), you can look forward to Kei Kumai's The Sea and Poison (1986), based on an Endo novel that touches on the Japanese military's wartime medical experiments, and Masahiro Shinoda's 1971 version of Silence. The full schedule can be viewed here (in Japanese only).

My French Film Festival Screenings
Film

My French Film Festival Screenings

Aiming to showcase the young generation of French filmmakers and enable 'internet users all over the whole to share their love of French cinema', the online-only My French Film Festival has reached its seventh edition and is going very strong – as evidenced by the star directors (Michel Gondry, Nicolas Winding Refn) who have been popping up on the festival jury in recent years. Showcasing Gallic cinema with subtitles in ten languages, including English and Japanese, it now takes a step into the physical world with three days of screenings at the Institut Français. See films like Robin Campillo's acclaimed Eastern Boys (2013) and animated shorts Sunday Lunch and M seeking W – the full programme is here.

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Tokyo's best cinemas

Cinema Novecento
Cinemas

Cinema Novecento

It's a rare occasion indeed when a new small-scale movie theatre opens in the Tokyo area, but that was exactly what happened in February 2015 in Yokohama: Novecento, located in the western part of the city, has a mere 28 seats and screens only 35mm and 16mm films. Old-school cinema fanatics will love the down-to-earth vibe, which makes it easy to strike up conversation with the staff and fellow movie fans, while the associated restaurant ('trattoria') is nice for getting snacks and drinks before or after the movie. The programme here ranges from time-honoured classics to short, privately distributed features, while the space also hosts talks and events like rakugo (traditional comic storytelling) performances. To top it all off, loyal film enthusiasts can try their hand at the projectionist's job during the regular workshops.

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Uplink
Cinemas

Uplink

Showing a fascinating mix of movies, particularly indie productions from both Japan and abroad with lots of experimental and short work thrown in as well, Uplink also holds events like talks and live performances.

Shin-Bungeiza
Cinemas

Shin-Bungeiza

A legendary repertory house in Ikebukuro showing a wide range of films, from Japanese classics to Hollywood no-brainers. The all-night screenings on Saturday nights are particularly popular.

Waseda Shochiku
Cinemas

Waseda Shochiku

Catch a double bill at one of the city's oldest cinemas (over 50 years and counting). Films are shown in a variety of languages, with Hollywood flicks featuring as highly as Japanese movies, all presented on classic 35mm prints. There are only double bills on offer, so set aside an afternoon and make the most of it.

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