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Japanese Films at HIFF Spring Showcase 2014!

What Spring Showcase would be complete without some of the hottest new films from Japan? HIFF’s got you covered this spring with six fantastic Japanese titles, and of course there is something for everyone.

Love samurai action? Family drama? Futuristic anime sci-fi? We’ve got all of the above at Spring Showcase 2014, so check out these six must-see titles!


LITTLE HOUSE pic 1The latest from master filmmaker Yoji Yamada, THE LITTLE HOUSE is a touching tale of love, life and loss in pre-war Japan. One of our premiere Spring Showcase titles; bring your tissues, as this film is bound to bring you to tears. Featuring a stunning performance by both lead actresses Haru Kuroki (THE GREAT PASSAGE, HIFF 2013) and Takako Matsu (THE HIDDEN BLADE, HIFF 2004; CONFESSIONS, HIFF 2010), Yoji Yamada (TWILIGHT SAMURAI, HIFF 2002; THE HIDDEN BLADE, HIFF 2004; LOVE AND HONOUR, HIFF 2006; KABEI; OUR MOTHER, HIFF 2008; ABOUT HER BROTHER, HIFF 2010; TOKYO FAMILY, HIFF 2013) unfolds this beautiful story of one family as only a master of drama could. Yamada is a long-time favorite of HIFF and HIFF-fans, and we are honored to have his latest work in our spring festival.

This film is screened as part of our Cinema Hawaii program in partnership with the Hawaii Theatre Center.

Monday, April 07 7:00 PM Hawaii Theatre Center
Thursday, April 10 3:15 PM Dole Cannery Theaters



ASK THIS OF RIKYU pic 4Based on the novel by Ken’ichi Yamamoto, ASK THIS OF RIKYU is an epic tale of power, jealousy, and tea. Following the tale of tea master Rikyu, this historical film deftly combines thrilling drama and intrigue with the story of the evolution of the Japanese tea ceremony. Skillfully directed by Mitsutoshi Tanaka (CASTLE UNDER FIERY SKIES) and featuring a break-out performance by Ebizo Ichikawa (HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI) as Rikyu, ASK THIS OF RIKYU was one of the biggest hits of 2013 in Japan, receiving 9 nominations for this year’s Japanese Academy Awards. I am very excited to have this film as part of the Spring Showcase 2014 line-up!

Saturday, April 05 6:30 PM Dole Cannery Theaters
Sunday, April 06 2:30 PM Dole Cannery Theaters



TENSHIN pic 2The true story of the ‘father’ of Japanese modern art, TENSHIN is the sprawling, lush biopic of artist Tenshin Okakura. This riveting drama will draw you in with it’s beautiful portrayal of one of the most influential Japanese artists of all time. Director and screenwriter Katsuya Matsumura skillfully brings to life the story of Tenshin, marking a new direction for this filmmaker, known for his thriller/genre films. While veteran actor Shidou Nakamura (LEONIE, HIFF 2010; NINJA KIDS!!!, HIFF 2011; RED CLIFF, HIFF 2009) gives a stunning performance as Tenshin. TENSHIN is a story of going against the grain and breaking the mold and is sure to leave you inspired.

Sunday, April 06 3:15 PM Dole Cannery Theaters
Tuesday, April 08 3:30 PM Dole Cannery Theaters
Wednesday, April 09 6:15 PM Dole Cannery Theaters



GHOST IN A SHELL pic 1The highly anticipated GHOST IN THE SHELL: ARISE series is here! The latest addition to the GHOST IN THE SHELL franchise, the ARISE series does not disappoint. HIFF is thrilled to present the first two episodes of the series on the big screen! The screening will include BORDER 1: GHOST PAIN, and BORDER 2: GHOST WHISPER. A prequel to the previous GHOST IN THE SHELL incarnations, ARISE takes place one year after World War IV. When a bomb strikes Newport City, expert hacker and cyborg Motoko Kusanagi is on the case… The new series is co-directed by master animator Kasuchika Kise whose incredible body of work includes lead animator/animation director for GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995), GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE (2004), and GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX 2nd GIG (2006), so needless to say the animation is top notch.

Thursday, April 10 9:00 PM Dole Cannery Theaters



UNFORGIVEN pic 3A Japanese remake of the classic Clint Eastwood film of the same name, UNFORGIVEN brings the Oscar-winning western to 19th century Japan. Cross-pollinating the western and chambara genres, director Lee Sang-il (HULA GIRLS, HIFF 2006) has adapted the Eastwood masterpiece while adding his own unique flare to the David Webb Peoples’ screenplay, and the result is fantastic. While actor Ken Watanabe (MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, INCEPTION) tackles the lead role with grace and style in a truly impressive performance. Also featuring seasoned actor Akira Emoto (ASK THIS OF RIKYU, HIFF 2014) and Yuya Yagira (NOBODY KNOWS, HIFF 2004) in supporting roles, UNFORGIVEN is a Spring Showcase must-see.

Sunday, April 06 6:00 PM Dole Cannery Theaters
Tuesday, April 08 9:00 PM Dole Cannery Theaters



BUSHIDO pic 1A thrilling samurai drama, BUSHIDO is a tale of espionage, betrayal, and justice in Tokugawa era Japan. Taking place in 1735 the film follows the Inaba clan as they struggle against the reign of the Tokugawa shogunate, which threatens their very livelihood. Featuring a fantastic ensemble cast and exciting swordplay action, this big screen film will delight fans of the classic samurai genre. Just released in Japan, we are very excited to present the United States premiere of BUSHIDO to our HIFF audience!

Friday, April 04 6:00 PM Dole Cannery Theaters
Saturday, April 05 3:00 PM Dole Cannery Theaters

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