Eigasai 2020

Eigasai 2020
20.1. - 26.1. at Lucerna cinema

Never Give Up!

We all face the limits of our physical and mental strength sometimes. When that happens, we have two options: we can give up, or clench the teeth and try harder. The 13th edition of the Eigasai Festival brings a selection of films from The Japan Foundation in which leading characters endure ill fate. Both Czechs and the Japanese are arduous nations. In 2020, we are celebrating 100 years since the beginning of official relationships between our two nations. We have gone a long way together. Over the years, we have found a lot that we have in common and, hopefully, some understanding as well. We believe with all our heart that the strength, perseverance, determination, strong will and trust in oneself as depicted in the stories of the characters featured in this year’s festival films may inspire you in your own lives.

Let us start in the Tokushima prefecture where the wives of the local farmers have to convince them as they start selling decorative leaves. However crazy that may sound, you cannot but keep your fingers crossed for them as they search for their Beautiful Life. The young generation of the Japanese are losing both illusions and trust in the future. A construction worker, a nurse and a street musician all have a chance to make it to the top. However, you can see who of them will actually make it in The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue. How does a stepchild you have been bringing up for almost all her life suddenly get the urge to know her biological father at all costs? Your little girl suddenly turns into a stranger. This is what the protagonist of Dear Etranger has to cope with. Various forms of loss or estrangement of someone you love are the theme of Three Stories of Love. Fate can be really cruel sometimes, such as when you know what it has in store for you. Then, you have to keep the family together like in Her Love Boils Bathwater. This year, we are bringing just two history films. A child is the hero in both of them. Being a child does not mean being weak. A child has a dream and an adult has experience. A master and a student tell stories from the times of the samurais in the rakugo genre in His Master’s Voice. Being born a girl in Japan in the early 20th century was definitely not easy. To safeguard rice – the basic commodity at the time – and thus survival for her family, little Oshin has to become adult at just seven years of age (Oshin). Every one of us got lost at one point or another. But what do you do if you are a kitten in a completely foreign town? Animated tomcats Rudolf and Gottalot join their cat forces and get to understand the meaning of home. We are also bringing the European premiere of a unique documentary Bon Uta: Song from Home. The citizens of Futaba, a town in the evacuated Fukushima area, are only allowed to take back memories from their homes in the aftermath of the destructive disaster of 2011. They must leave everything else behind. The view of derelict gardens and crumbling houses brings tears to their eyes. Only the legacy remains – your home stays home in your heart, in a song, in keeping a tradition alive. The Olympic Games, which are approaching in 2020, evoke a sense of positive energy, pride and belonging. Just remember Nagano 1998. Yet, Věra Čáslavská was and still remains our inspiration, a honorary member of the Czech-Japan Association, an icon of her era and the Olympic winner from Tokio in 1964. We would like to pay homage to her by screening Věra 68. She is the very personification of our festival’s motto, which sounds somewhat like a prayer in Japanese: When you fall down seven times, get up the eighth time. In Czech, we dared paraphrase Czechoslovak Olympian Emil Zátopek. We sincerely hope that this year’s films will motivate you to never give up.

 

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Eigasai: It's Beautiful life

Directed by Osamu Minorikawa (1972), It's a Beautiful Life is an excellent probe into the life of a small town community living in a distant mountain area in the Tokushima prefecture in Shikoku. The place where the three heroines live is struggling with the hot issues of the current Japanese society – rural depopulation and ageing. Led by Eda, an enthusiastic young man (Yūta Hiraoka), the three elderly ladies decide to act and sell colourful leaves and herbs (tsumamono) used as elegant garnishing of meals. The journey towards their business success, which is intended to attract young people back to their small town, has to tackle many seemingly insurmountable obstacles including conflicts in their own families. The human drama with a light tone is based on a theme by Noriko Nishiguchi, itself based on a true story of elderly ladies determined to do something meaningful at the end of their lives. It was one of 2012’s most frequented Japanese films, especially in the Tokushima prefecture. Show more

2D CS/ES U
2DCS/ES

20. 1. Monday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always The Densest Shade of Blue

The poetic-philosophic film by young and progressive director Yūya Ishii who has previously intrigued western viewers at the Berlinale and other global festivals with films such as The Great Passage, the winner of the Japan Film Academy Award for the Best Director in 2013, is a coming-of-age story of teenagers in modern-day Tokyo who do not fit in the classic Japanese society. Ishii has created a fresh and dynamic story of human relationships, economic pressures, professional challenges, perseverance and the role of chance in the life of young people. Shinji is a construction worker who works on the site being prepared for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, and Mika is a nurse and bartender. It might appear to be a film about losers on the verge of society, but their story is powerful and they eventually find their place in their own micro-world. The film uses interesting, dynamic edits contrasting with slow motion segments and is underscored by an original sound design that takes the viewer to today’s Tokyo in an enthralling way. Show more

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21. 1. Tuesday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: Bon Uta: A song from home

A long five years after the disastrous earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the citizens of one of the affected cities – Futaba – still cannot come back home and have to stay in temporary dwellings around. They find some consolation in the opportunity to participate in organising the traditional Bon Odori festival in Hawaii and present the modern-day Fukushima form of Bon Odori in Hawaii. In fact, the tradition of dancing and singing as part of the Obon festival came to Hawaii from the area of today’s Fukushima province one hundred years ago. The themes are losing one’s roots in a disaster-stricken area, reconnecting with the roots of Japanese settlers in Hawai 100 years later to the sound of taiko drums and singing. Director Yūji Nakae (who won awards for Nabbie’s Love (1999) and Pineapple Tours (1992) lets his film ask a crucial question: how much is a person united with the region of their childhood, and what happens to them if they lose the “landscape of their soul” – i.e., their intrinsic identity? While technically a documentary, the film cuts immensely deep. The fact that there real people instead of actors, presenting the true stories of their lives, makes the film’s message extremely powerful and straightforward. Director Nakae worked on it for more than three years. The film can offer Czech viewers answers to any questions they might as when it comes to living in Fukushima before and after the disaster. Show more

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22. 1. Wednesday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: Dear Etranger

The family drama was made on the basis of a 1996 novel of the same name written by Kiyoshi Shigematsu. The hero, Makoto (Tadanobu Asano), lives with his wife Nanae (Rena Tanaka) and two stepdaughters, Kaori and Eri, from the wife’s previous marriage. He also sees his own daughter, Saori who lives with his previous wife. Unlike many Japanese, he spends all his leisure time with his family and daughters, living a happy life. Problems appear when he and Nane expect another child. At first, Makoto is worried about how Saori will approach this, though in reality, it is Kaori, the elder of his two stepdaughters, who is affected the most. She causes strong tension in the family, rejects Makoto and desires to meet her biological father. At the same time, Makoto is demoted from an office job to a position in a warehouse in an attempt to make him give up and leave the firm. Makoto is not giving up, however – neither at work nor at home. Director Yukiko Mishima won many national and international awards for her film, including a special prize of the jury at the Montreal Film Festival. Show more

2D CS/ES U
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23. 1. Thursday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: Three Stories of Love

The director of HUSH! (2001) Ryōsuke Hashiguchi is returning to Eigasai with his Lovers. Prematurely widowed construction worker Atsushi with miraculous sense of hearing is crushed by grief and his desperate struggle with the legal system. He sees his beloved wife everywhere, drowning in depression, and cannot see a way out. Toko, a housewife, lives in a house with her mother-in-law and her son. She obeys their rules, surviving in boredom and drabness. What will happen if someone interesting comes along? How will this disrupt the everyday routine? And how will it end? Successful lawyer Shinomiya keeps his sexual preference secret. Then he loses his beloved friend. How will he, a lawyer who deals mostly with divorces and emotionally charged cases, cope with his own feelings? Unknown actors in leading roles appear authentic and the screenplay, penned by the director himself, realistically depicts the loss of everyday values that we take for granted until we lose them. Show more

2D CS/ES 12
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24. 1. Friday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: Rudolf the Black Cat

Rudolf is a little kitten. To him, his mistress Rie is a goddess and his home is the entire world – he can only see beyond its limits from the rooftop. One day, Rudolf follows his mistress and runs out of the safe garden right into a street full of scary things. By coincidence, he jumps into a supply van only to wake up in the middle of a foreign city. There he meets Gottalot the stray cat who shows him how to live in the street and get along. Rudolf learns how to read and finds out his home is 400 km away. With the help of Gottalot and other cat friends, he makes a plan to get back to Rie. Made on the basis of a successful book, the film is more than just a magical story for children. It depicts everyday life in the streets of Gifu, the power of friendship, the need for home and a sense of belonging and the determination to follow one’s goal, whatever it is. And it shows that whether you have one name or many, what matters most is being true to yourself. Show more

2D CS/ES U
2DCS/ES

25. 1. Saturday

100,00 13:00
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Eigasai: Waidako yosa-yosa, Kyögen, Yosakoi dance

Wadaiko Yosa-Yosa Wadaiko are large Japanese drums played during all popular Japanese feasts. This is a form of collective ecstasy following hard work. Wadaiko is not a domain of professional musicians – it is a living tradition passed from one generation to the next. It can awake strength in man and nature and helps those who are lost regain determination. Wadaiko Yosa-Yosa formed in Prague in 2005 as the Taiko-Club of the Czech-Japan Association. Jana Votrubová, the group’s art director, took both traditional and specialisation courses at the Taiko Centre in Kyoto during her two-year stay in Japan. In addition, she got very familiar with the traditional environment and took part in many popular feasts. Kyogen Kyogen Czech focuses primarily on studying and staging Japanese kyogen farce plays in Czech. In a way, this is a globally unique project of long-term cultural collaboration between Czech and Japanese theatre artists. DK is a singular theatre troupe active outside Japan that has focused systematically on this traditional art genre. The troupe was founded thanks to the initiative of Czech playwright, director and mime Hubert Krejčí, Japan scholar Ondřej Hýbl, and the leading representative of the Okura traditional Kyoto school, Master Shime Shigeyama. In 2016 DK received the highly prestigious Saikasho award from the Nogami Noh Theatre Institute of the Tokyo University. Yosakoi Praha The Yosakoi dance troupe formed in Prague in April 2018. Its dancing style originally hails from the city of Kochi. Over time, many various groups have formed all over Japan, each of them having a specific style and approach to dancing. Last year, three members of the troupe were appointed Yosakoi ambassadors to the city of Kochi. Show more

U

25. 1. Saturday

100,00 15:00
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Eigasai: Her Love Boils Bathwater

An excellent intimate family drama, Her Love Boils Bathwater by Ryōta Nakano poignantly depicts one phenomenon of the current era – the complexity of disintegrating and randomly patched-up marriages, secret relationships, adopted children, relationships between stepsiblings and the strength of parents who find themselves in complex situations in life, trying to find order in the new family constellations. In this case, the strong person in the family is the mother, the heroine Futaba (Rie Miyazawa) tackling an extremely difficult situation: unlike her husband Kazuhiro who suddenly disappears, she continues caring for her adolescent daughter and trying to give her maximum support, only to find that she has cancer and has only months left to live. The family relationships are suddenly turned upside down, many unexpected turns ensue and the story resolves in a bittersweet happy ending. Rie Miyazawa received the Best Acting Performance Award from the Japan Film Academy in 2016 for her excellent portrayal of a strong mother who never gives up. Show more

2D CS/ES U
2DCS/ES

25. 1. Saturday

100,00 18:00
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Eigasai: EISA - drum show

Ryūkyūkoku Matsuri Daiko is a type of dance stemming from the ancient tradition of eisā (Okinawan drumming) that features a remarkable style of high kicks, karate movements and synchronised choreography. Young people in Okinawa meet at the summer eisā feast to honour their ancestors. Using drums of various sizes, they sing and dance and pray to the dead for good health and prosperity. The dancing is filled with positive energy and joy. Show more

U

26. 1. Sunday

100,00 13:00
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Eigasai: His Master's Voice

Taihei Hayashiya is an excellent contemporary narrator of the rakugo genre. In the film Mō Ichido, a character of the same name takes us to the samurai city of Edo where the characters from many stories encounter their storytellers. Women and men, samurais and servants, an innkeeper and her guests, parents and children, neighbours and noodle vendors. These characters serve as a source of inspiration and slight parody for rakugo. A storyteller cannot faithfully mimic eating hot noodles without having actually tried them. This is what Sadakichi, a little boy determined to become a storyteller, experiences in the film. Will he convince his audience? The rakugo genre has been in existence unchanged for several centuries. Throughout the entire story, the narrator is sitting down and may only use a fan, a handkerchief and the viewer’s imagination. Turning the body to the right or left, he changes the characters, voices and style of communication. This is certainly not easy, and the relationship between a master and his student forms a lifelong bond. Show more

2D CS/ES U
2DCS/ES

26. 1. Sunday

100,00 14:30
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Eigasai: Věra 68

Věra Čáslavská was not only a laureate of the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Neck Ribbon (2010) and the honorary chairperson of the Czech-Japan Association – she was a symbol of the Czech Republic for the Japanese. She won 140 medals during her career, including seven gold and four silver Olympic medals in gymnastics. Her success made her the most successful Czech sportswoman of all times. Having won the Olympics in Mexico in 1968 she became the best athlete in the world as well as the second most popular woman on the planet. She was a consultant to President Václav Havel after 1989. Her private life was fraught with a family tragedy, following which she retired from public life for a long 16 years. Director Olga Sommerová’s sensitive documentary captures Věra Čáslavská’s life on the backdrop of Czechoslovak history. We are presenting Věra 68 in the context of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020 and the 100th anniversary of official Czech-Japan relationships. “Whoever takes a risk and faces the world with courage is in for a great reward. The reward is self-respect.” Věra Čáslavská, Life on the Olympus Show more

2D CV U
2DCV

26. 1. Sunday

100,00 16:30
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Eigasai: Oshin

Oshin is a film remake of a Japanese TV series of the same name that was based on an original script by Sugako Hahashida and broadcast on NHK from 1983 to 1984. The show with 297 episodes is of the asadora (morning show) genre – every business day, one 15-minute episode is aired so that everyone can see it before leaving for work. It was one of the most successful shows of this type ever. It was massively successful in Japan as well as all over Asia and South America. Directed by Shin Togashi, the film Oshin is set in 1907 and depicts the childhood of the heroine, rural girl Oshin (Kokone Hamada). Due to her family’s poverty, Oshin is sold to a rich family of timber merchants as a servant. She has to endure a lot of hardships and humiliation from the main servant. When falsely accused of stealing money, Oshin flees into frigid winter weather to reunite with her family but almost freezes to death on the way. She is saved by a military deserter who is hiding in the forest. He is kind to her and teaches her to read, but Oshin eventually witnesses him being captured and, following a brief stay with her parents, is sold as a servant again. Oshin realises that the mother is the cornerstone of the family, often sacrificing everything she has for its sake. Such is the destiny of women in society. Oshin too will grow up one day and foster a family, the same as her mother, grandmother and all the women before them did. Show more

2D CS/ES U
2DCS/ES

26. 1. Sunday

100,00 19:00
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