The best movie events right now
Films mysterious, grotesque and erotic hog the spotlight at Asagaya's Laputa throughout spring and early summer. See Japanese gothic horror, splatter blasts and the like over 13 weeks – the programme includes highlights such as Kinji Fukasaku's Black Lizard (1968), starring a young Akihiro Miwa, pulp horror gross-out Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968) and Nobuhiko Obayashi's feature debut House (1977), famed for its intentionally laughable special effects. Should be a good one for friends of cult Japanese cinema, who'll want to check out the full programme here.
Seijun Suzuki Retrospective
Look back at the roller coaster ride of a career enjoyed by cult filmmaker Seijun Suzuki, who passed away in February at the age of 93, with this two-week retrospective at the Shin-Bungeiza. Focusing particularly on the Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill director's early- and mid-career productions, the programme includes flicks such as vaguely surrealistic short drama Love Letter (1958), yakuza action blast Tattooed Life (1965), 'Taisho Roman' thriller Zigeunerweisen (1980) and 1991's Yumeji, a sensual, absurdist ghost story spun around the character and work of real-life painter and poet Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934). An excellent opportunity to acquaint yourself with some of Suzuki's more obscure work, the programme can be perused in more detailed form here (in Japanese only).
Zushi Beach Film Festival
How about enjoying a quality indie flick while the last rays of the sun are still visible on the horizon? Head down south for ten days of movies on the beach, complemented by gigs, workshops, a bazaar, yoga and spontaneous parties. Things kick off on April 28 with a screening of Forrest Gump (1994), while April 30 is Sports Day and May 8 sees a programme of skateboard films. May 2 should be another good one, with radio DJ Peter Barakan stopping by to introduce Amy (2015), Asif Kapadia's documentary about the life and death of Amy Winehouse. The full schedule can be checked out here.
Rediscovering the Beauty of Film and Film Technique
Set to re-open in May, the National Film Centre has been sorely missed among Tokyo's cinephiles during its two-month closure. But film buffs suffering from withdrawal symptoms will surely be happy to hear about the newly polished centre's first post-renovation programme, which is a true love letter to film: celebrating the Motion Picture and Television Engineering Society of Japan's 70th anniversary, it shines a light on the tech – from cinematography to post-production – behind classic Japanese movies. You can also look forward to a screenings programme of memorable films such as a remastered version of 1983 sci-fi adventure Toki o Kakeru Shojo, starring ’80s idol Tomoyo Harada, Nikkatsu's Jazz Musume Tanjo (1957) with Chiemi Eri and Yujiro Ishihara, and Typhoon Over Nagasaki (1957) by French director Yves Ciampi. The full programme is, once again, only available in Japanese.
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.