Signals: first international focus on Sai Yoichi

39th International Film Festival Rotterdam
27 January – 7 February, 2010

PRESS RELEASE November 26, 2009

Rotterdam's Signals section includes first international focus on Sai Yoichi

As part of its main Signals section, the International Film Festival Rotterdam honors Japanese filmmaker Sai Yoichi with a tribute program that includes many of his works including his latest, brilliant ninja action movie KAMUI.
Furthermore, Signals presents the thematic program ‘After Victory’ with recent war films as well as seven works by legendary master of the postwar Japanese cinema Yoshida Kiju.

Tribute to Sai Yoichi
The International Film Festival Rotterdam honors filmmaker, writer and actor Sai Yoichi with his first international focus program.
Korean-Japanese filmmaker Sai Yoichi (1949, Nagano) started his career as an assistant director for Oshima Nagisa and Murakawa Toru. He was awarded as Best Newcomer at the Mainichi Film Competition for his directorial debut THE MOSQUITO ON THE TENTH FLOOR (1983). After completing several films for Kadokawa Pictures and several television projects, his multi-cultural comedy ALL UNDER THE MOON (1993) brought him fame and multiple awards. His later films include prison movie DOING TIME (2002), box office hit QUILL (2004), immigrant family drama BLOOD AND BONES featuring Beat Takeshi (2004) and SOO (2007). In his latest film KAMUI, a ninja movie adapted from the legendary sixties manga by Shirato Sanpei, Sai brilliantly mixes action and fantasy, featuring young Japanese star actor Matsuyama Ken'ichi as the hero.
Sai Yoichi will be attending IFFR 2010 to introduce the screenings of his films. The focus program has been programmed by Tony Rayns in collaboration with Aihara Hiromi.

After Victory
‘After Victory’, the thematic program presented as part of Signals, makes a catalogue of how to deal with war in cinema and what war does to us, as individuals as well as culturally.
The program of about 16 recent films includes an essay-like art video like WHERE IS WHERE (2009) by Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland) on the Algerian war, an oral history-project like JAPANESE DEVILS (2001) by Matsui Minoru (Japan) about war crimes committed by the Japanese army, a fresco’esk massive production like NANKING NANKING by Lu Chuan (2009), a documentation-based ‘re-enactment’ as a social experiment like AVOIR VINGT ANS DANS LES AURÈS by René Vautier (1972), an allegorical zombie-western like SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD by George A. Romero (2009), a vast and raw documentary about war as an essence of our culture like WARHEADS by Romuald Karmakar (1992) and Golden Lion winner LEBANON by Samuel Maoz (2009), who will attend the festival.
’After Victory’ is programmed by Olaf Möller.

Yoshida Kiju
As an overture to a Yoshida Kiju retrospective organized by the Filmmuseum Amsterdam and the Filmmuseet Oslo, the IFFR presents within its returning Regained section seven works by this eminent master of the modern Japanese art film. These include AFFAIR AT AKITSU (1962), an intense ‘anti-melodrama’ about unrequited love and postwar disillusion and his famous EROS AND MASSACRE (1969), a daring analysis of art and revolution in modern Japan that shifts back and forth between the 1920s and the 1960s.
Yoshida Kiju (1933, Fukui; also known as Yoshida Yoshishige) burst upon the film scene at the start of the 1960s as part of the Japanese New Wave. Notwithstanding the killing pace of making – mostly independent - as many as 16 films between 1960 and 1973, Yoshida created a completely unique oeuvre, characterized by formal rigor, philosophical depth and profound beauty. After a thirteen year break in which he made more than hundred documentaries, he returned to feature filmmaking with three gripping works on the themes of euthanasia, patriarchy, and – in his latest film THE WOMEN IN THE MIRROR (2002) – the atomic bomb.
Yoshida will attend the festival together with the famous actress Okada Mariko, also his wife and the star in many of his films. The Yoshida retrospective is programmed by Dick Stegewerns.

The 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam opens January 27th 2010 with Park Chan-ok's PAJU. The main festival sections are Bright Future (first and second time filmmakers including the Tiger Awards Competitions for feature length and short films), Spectrum (recent works of established filmmakers) and Signals (a series of thematic programs).
Within the festival period, the 27th CineMart takes place from January 31 to February 3, 2010. The full festival program is available on from January 21.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam thanks the Japan Foundation and the National Film Center in Tokyo for their kind support of the Japanese selections in the festival.

(end of press release)

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