Festival news

Fukushima, Five Years Later - a special section of the 10th edition

08 September 2016
Jellyfish Eyes, dir. Takashi Murakami

Five years ago, Japan suffered a catastrophe which changed the country and became a world-wide symbol of the lurking atomic threat. At this year's Five Flavours, we commemorate those event by presenting three different, unique films.

On March 11, 2011, a strong earthquake near the northeast coast of the Honsiu island caused a massive tsunami. The Fukushima I atomic power plant was damaged, and the radioactive substances were released into the environment on a scale similar to the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion. It was the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the modern history of Japan. Almost 16 thousand people died. Over 2 thousand people were taken by waves, up to 20 meters in height, and are considered lost.

These events led to a reorganization of the Japanese political scene and a radical change in social attitudes. This mature, developed nation began to fear for the future of the country. Everyone in Japan installed the Yurekuru phone app, which warns against earthquakes. Thousands of families decided to relocate, moving to areas safe from natural disasters. The earthquake caused the axis of the Earth to move 10 cm, and the day is now 1,6 milisecond shorter.

The catastrophe and its implications moved many artists, who decided take up the national trauma in their work. The Japanese filmmakers shot dozens of feature films and documentaries about the tsunami, expressing their own experiences, but also helping the audiences deal with the difficult emotions and memories.

The Fukushima, Five Years Later section includes three films, which perfectly illustrate the creativity with which the Japanese artists rework the trauma of Fukushima. We don't want to show the audience the facts and the chronology of events – we are interested in the aura and the impression the filmmakers try to convey in their pictures, using various means and forms. The section is composed of a science-fiction film, an erotic film, and a fantasy animation for teenagers.

The screenings will be accompanied by lectures and meetings, focusing on the topic of a constructive reworking of a trauma by the society.

WHISPERING STAR, DIR. SION SONO
JAPAN 2015

Humanity has been decimated by an unnamed disaster. The forlorn cities are still and quiet, almost like the interstellar spaces traveled by the android courier, Yoko Suzuki, as she delivers packages to the last recipients scattered around the universe.

This time, Sion Sono, beloved by audiences worldwide for his panache in using radical stylistics, drastic narrations, and cross-genre madness, sends us – literally – to whole different planet. Black and white shots, scarce dialogs, contemplation of details, a discreet humor and a subtle narration, with its emotional weight played out in the shades, understatements, the sound of water dripping down from the tap – associations with "Alphaville" or "Stalker" are not a coincidence.

"Whispering Star" was shot partly in the Fukushima region, with the inhabitants of the prefecture, affected by the 2011 catastrophe, acting as extras. According to the tradition rooted in the history of world cinema, Sono uses the science-fiction convention to talk about the present. He also proves that he can be the master of the extravagant extreme, at the same time perfectly using the lyricism.

Whispering Star
Whispering Star, dir. Sion Sono

JELLYFISH EYES, DIR. TAKASHI MURAKAMI
JAPAN 2013

After his father dies in the tsunami, Musashi and his mother move to a new house. The new place and the new school provide the boy with a constant string of challenges, but, quite unexpectedly, a mysterious, pink creature appears in his backpack. Apparently, there are very strange things happening in the city (possibly connected with a group of weird scientists in long, wide coats), but with the new friend at his side, Musashi is ready to face any adversities.

The candy-sweet monsters and the manga convention often appear in the works of Takashi Murakami, one of the most important, most popular contemporary Japanese artists, who managed to introduce the colorful, pop cultural aesthetics into the realm of modern art. In his feature debut, the "Japanese Warhol" uses the convention of a children's film. Associations with "Pokémons" and Steven Spielberg's "E.T." are perfectly justified, but this time the lovely creatures helped Murakami to talk about a difficult subject – how the youngest generation of the Japanese deals with the traumatic experience of Fukushima.

As always, the director nonchalantly crosses the borders between adorable family cinema and a surreal, surprising narration, between a mass product and an artistic video shown in galleries. The film's worldwide promotion featured Pharell Williams and the teenager's virtual idol, singer Hatsune Miko, but the film was shown at the prestigious Art Basel art show and at museum exhibitions.

MY TECHNICOLOR GIRL, DIR. REI SAKAMOTO
JAPAN 2015

Nagano spent the last 40 years in a psychiatric hospital in Fukushima. During the evacuation following the Mach 2011 catastrophe, it turned out there was no reason for his hospitalization. The man returns to reality and dreams of one thing only – meeting a girl he knew in high school, his first and only lover. The contemporary world he discovers does not make it easy for him to achieve his goal, but the women he meets along the way will surprise him on many levels.

This bitter-sweet story, filled with unorthodox humor, was produced by a studio specializing in pinku eiga ("pink" erotic cinema), which hoped to expand to other creative fields, following the crisis in their industry. Despite the low budget, the filmmakers created a simple, original story, combining the unreserved attitude towards sex, and the humanistic approach, characteristic for the Japanese mainstream cinema.

My Technicolor Girl
My Technicolor Girl, dir. Rei Sakamoto

FESTIVAL PASSES

Festival Passes for the 10th Five Flavours Film Festival are already available. This year, they come in two types: Basic Pass (190 PLN) is valid for all film screenings at Five Flavours except for the Gala Opening. Master Pass (270 PLN) is also valid for three Radio Asia concerts, Horror Night (a part of the Appetizers cycle) and the Gala Opening.

The full program of the Festival will be announced on October 24th.

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© Fundacja Sztuki Arteria
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