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It’s Japanarchy in the UK all over again when the 2nd Annual Zipangu Fest opens its doors to lovers of all things Japanese cinema. The fest will run November 18th through November 24th in London, and besides a nice, eccentric list of shorts, documentaries, and experimental films, the fest also promises special engagements of “timely environmental films and a rarely seen 1930s ghost story”.
In the aftermath of this year’s tragedy in north-eastern Japan, the issues surrounding nuclear energy have resurfaced and Zipangu Fest will show two documentaries on the subject. Hitomi Kamanaka’s Ashes to Honey and Rokkasho Rhapsody will be screened as part of the festival’s Nuclear Reactions programme, along with Hiroshima Nagasaki Download – a documentary road trip in which two college friends interview atomic bomb survivors living in North America.
On the same theme, Zipangu Fest is proud to present a rare screening of the 1959 docudrama Lucky Dragon No. 5. Directed by one of post-war Japan’s most important independent film makers, Kaneto Shindō, the film tells the story of the Bikini Atoll hydrogen bomb catastrophe that exposed a Japanese fishing boat crew to radioactive fallout. While this incident gave rise to Japan’s famous movie monster Godzilla, fewer people know about Shindō’s treatment of it.
Another rare screening in the form of a 1930s ghost story, The Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen, will form part of the Zipangu Retro section. Subtitled especially for Zipangu Fest and never seen before in the UK, this 1938 gem is one of Japan’s few surviving pre-war horror films.
J-Horror meets J-pop in Shirome, a mockumentary that involves director Koji Shiraishi luring pre-pubescent idol band Momoiro Clover into a supposedly haunted abandoned school – the result lies somewhere between the Blair Witch Project and the X-Factor. Shirome is part of the previously announced Sounds of Zipangu section, which will open the festival with the stunning new film KanZeOn. A fictional companion piece to KanZeOn, Abraxas, tells the story of a punk musician turned Buddhist monk and it was a surprise hit at the 2011 Sundance Festival.
Zipangu Fest’s Beyond Anime: The Outer Limits programme will present some of the most interesting Japanese indie animations from recent years, and in case you missed our previous announcement – experimental films by Takashi Makino and others will be showcased at the ICA and at a benefit night at Dalston’s Café Oto.
The full festival line-up below:
Friday 18 November 2011
6:30pm – KanZeOn
8:30pm – KanZeOn Party
8:45pm – Shirome
Saturday 19 November 2011
1:45pm – Hiroshima Nagasaki Download + The Student Wrestler
3:00pm – Lucky Dragon No.5
4:00pm – Beyond Anime: The Outer Limits
6:00pm – Abraxas
8:30pm – Enter the Cosmos: Takashi Makino Special
Sunday 20 November 2011
2:00pm – Lucky Dragon No.5
3:00pm – The Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen
5:00pm – We Don’t Care About Music Anyway…
7:00pm – Ashes to Honey
Tuesday 22 November 2011
7:30pm – Nippon Re-Read: Radical Fragments and Abstractions from Japan I & II + Cat Soup feat. Bo Ningen
Wednesday 23 November 2011
6:15pm – Rokkasho Rhapsody
8:45pm – Beyond Anime: The Outer Limits
Thursday 24 November 2011
6:15pm – Ashes to Honey
8:45pm – The Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen
Head to the fest’s Official Site for more information, showtimes, and tickets.