The best movie events right now
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
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
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
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.
Tokyo's best cinemas
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.