Eigasai 2021

Eigasai 2021

24.9. - 26.9. at Lucerna Cinema


A year and a half has passed since the last edition of the Eigasai Festival. What happened during that time is something nobody expected, wanted, or was able to imagine in their wildest dreams. It hit our country, Japan, and the world over. Despite the lingering uncertainty, we started preparations for the 14th edition of the festival, which we are hereby presenting to you. We believe that this year’s format, albeit slightly streamlined, will be a small step on the way back towards both Japanese cinema and cultural events the way we know and love them.

Everyone has their rituals. They help us to avoid forgetting our mobile handset or keys at home, get our job done well and generally make it through the day. Most of us likely do not even realise we follow such rituals. They also show in the way we make tea or coffee, and in the way we salute one another. When the entire society follows such rules, order is created. Japan is known for its system of written and unwritten rules. Thanks to them, the Japanese have been able to live within confined space as well as to tackle natural disasters and other unexpected developments. If someone steps outside the system, they end up on the edge. Taking the next step can cause an innovative change or evoke strong displeasure. We decided to take a similar risk and organise the traditional spring-time Eigasai Festival in the autumn, while the entire world is still somewhat on the edge.

On the verge between dream and reality – this is where the characters find themselves in the Randen anthology of stories about a mysterious train that only operates after midnight. What are the passengers to expect when the conductors are a fox and a badger? Where will the train take them, and how will these mythical guides play with their destinies?

Both Japan and the Czech Republic face similar issues despite their geographical and cultural differences. Both countries struggle with an ageing population, rebellious youth, protection of individual privacy, impending disasters and seeking motivation for the young generation. Five contemporary directors of Ten Years offer us their vision of Japan in 2028: a dystopic Japan on the edge of moral values. If it is good for the society, is it really good for an individual too? Produced by the Academy Award-winning director Hirokazu Koreeda (After the Storm 2016, Shoplifters 2018), this film will show us a future that is somewhat different from what we can imagine.

Student love and shared dreams seldom come to fruition. The protagonists of The Modern Lovers are no exception. When they meet again years later, they are each living their own different lives. What brings them together is their memories and physical attraction. On the edge between love and indulging in their sexual fantasies, they come to grips with reality and thwarted ambitions.

The Kyogen Theatre troupe will play the comedy The Snail. This play is currently the most often staged Kyogen show in Japan and generally ranks among the very best that Kyogen can offer audiences both in Japan and all over the world. Even though the Kyogen genre’s humour is quite a lot “on the edge”, it has survived a long six centuries and is currently on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. How this happened will be revealed in the subsequent multimedia talk and peek behind the scenes, both Czech and Japanese.

EISAA will play the traditional taiko drums to make your hearts and the entire Lucerna cinema resonate, drumming you to the edge of positive emotions.

We hope you will enjoy the films. Hopefully, you will also be pleased to hear that we are currently working on another full-scope edition of the festival scheduled for February 2022.

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Eigasai21: RANDEN

“Take a ride through the memory of our city on board a spirit tram tonight”, says this feature film’s slogan. It is a playful film within a film with the plot unravelling in Kyoto, near the romantic Randen single-track line, which is just 7 kilometres long. It connects the old northwest part of Kyoto with monasteries from the boarding station at Shijo Ómiya through the Tenjin River (Tenjigawa eki) station to the Togetsukyo Bridge terminal underneath the Thunder Hill (Arashiyama). The ancient “spirit line” from 1910, on which the reincarnate fox and badger characters ride after midnight and trap people into oblivion, frames episodes from the lives of several strange individuals, directed by a student film crew between dreaming and reality. In parallel, we watch a reclusive writer (Arata Iura) who lost his wife (Satoko Abe) on the line, a budding love affair between a shy local girl (Ayaka Onishi) and a free-spirit film star from Tokyo (Hiroto Kanai), a young man obsessed with filming the various models of vintage tram cars (Kenta Ishida) and his persistent admirer (Tamaki Kubose). A kind coffeehouse owner, who films everyday life in the area and brings together old local patrons and young crazy film directors during his screenings, brings unexpected excitement to a conservative neighbourhood and plays the role of destiny. The film captures a nostalgic atmosphere of old times and the mindset of the citizens in this quarter, so rife with glorious past, along the Randen line in Japan’s former capital. (c) Migrant Birds / Omuro / Kyoto University of Art and Design Show more

2D CS/ES 12
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Eigasai21: Behind the sceene of The Kyogen Theatre + Eisaa drummers

Behind the sceene of The Kyogen Theatre with The Snail Even though the Kyogen theatre comedy genre originated in distant Japan more than 650 years ago, it has been entertaining audiences in the Czech Republic excellently for the past 20 years. Therefore, it is time to offer Czech viewers a more detailed look behind the scenes – both Czech and Japanese scenes, that is. We believe that it will allow you to enjoy the show even more. How did the Kyogen comedy come about? How has it changed over the course of six centuries? What is the function of the various acting schools, and what does it mean to be born into an actors’ family? Is the costume a true reflection of medieval Japanese fashion, or does it just serve as one of the tools that help the actors make the audience smile? You will get to know the answers to these and more questions right after the end of this talk, which is about 50 minutes long and includes both video and live examples. The genre will be introduced with the play entitled Kagyu (The Snail). This play is currently the most often staged Kyogen show in Japan. Confusing man for a snail and the subsequent developments of the plot, which appears quite insane at a glance, may be the best illustration of the genius humour of this genre, which viewers of all ages will enjoy. The play has an interesting history to it as well. It was initially exclusively on the repertoire of the Izumi school, which shared this gem with other families later on. Today’s performance, “Backstage with The Snail”, will offer you a glance of Kyogen in a popular form, yet with depth that was previously the domain of academic institutions. 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. Show more

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Eigasai21: TEN YEARS

The anthological dystopia about Japan in 2028 is a continuation of Ten Years, a project produced in Hong Kong by Andrew Choi who, back in 2015, envisioned Hong Kong in 2025 as a megalopolis ruled by the Chinese communist doctrine. The Japanese take of the futuristic vision of a country ten years into the future does not accentuate the political theme; instead, helmed by the Oscar-winning director Hirokazu Koreeda as the producer, five young directors focus on the transformation of Japanese society, easily abusable due to the submissive Japanese mentality and the ubiquitous digitisation. In Plan 75, Chie Hayakawa points to demography – elderlies over 75 years of age are offered mass euthanasia with a view to solving the economic problem of the ageing population. In Mischievous Alliance, director Yúsuke Kinoshita watches a group of five rebellious children in a school governed by Promise, a digital system that sends painful impulses to their brains in response to any display of disobedience of the school regulations. Still, the children rebel and, along with a horse to be slaughtered, they flee at night into hitherto unknown “wild” nature of the forest. There, the horse meets its natural death and the children get to experience a completely new emotion of fear of the wilderness along with the feeling of freedom. The famous Jun Kunimura plays the school’s old janitor, a lone surviving “human” element in the film. In Data, director Megumi Tsuno takes viewers to a modest household of a widowed father whose daughter obtains a “digital inheritance” record for her mother and, along with a young administrator of the digital legacy, uses old video recordings to form her relationship to her deceased mother, her secret true father, her kind official father, and the young data administrator. Despite the digital evidence, people still have the right to keep their privacy secret. Akiyo Fujimura’s That Invisible Air segment covers the environmental theme – the depressing situation in a dark underground city where people hide from the radiation after the explosion of a nuclear power plant. In the brutal environs underground, we witness the friendship of two little girls who wish to see the sunlight and feel the invisible touch of the wind. They eventually succeed to experience the sensations, albeit at the cost of irradiation. Director Kei Ishikawa’s vision of a future war of intercontinental missiles works with the submissiveness of an official played by the popular Taiga Nakano and the authenticity of Hana Kino. “Ask what you can do you for your beautiful country”, says a poster with a flag and an aircraft contour against a starry sky, which the Ministry of Defence uses to draft young men to the military forces. All the segments of the film are probes into the submissive Japanese mentality, which can evolve into a future that will threaten mankind. (c)2018 “Ten Years Japan” Film Partners Show more

2D CS/ES 15
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Film is not suitable for viewers under 18 years of age An unusually open film about the frustration with erotic and marital relations and unfulfilled life ambitions, The Modern Lovers (Tokyo no koibito) is referred to as “indie”, or independent, experimental film by Japanese critics. With psychological precision, it captures three days in the life of Tetsuo. A young married man and a rural official, he leaves for Tokyo to meet the love of his student years when he wanted to be a filmmaker. They experience an erotic explosion in a spa, but he does not tell her that he is expecting a baby with his wife. She, Marina, is married too – and she is startled by how much alive their love affair is and how well the erotic “chemistry” with her past lover works. The memories of their unfulfilled love affair and their student dreams of filmmaker careers lead both characters to the realisation that they deceive themselves, causing them to experience an existential crisis. The director has shocked viewers with sadomasochistic scenes – the film is not recommended for viewers aged below 18. The film is accompanied by an original soundtrack of songs by the Tokyo 60 Watts Band, selected personally by the director who is also a musician. He dedicated the soundtrack to all “predestined lovers”. (c)2019 SALU-PARADISE/MOOSIC LAB Show more

2D CS/ES 18

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