ICJS Event: Japanese Cinema Eclectics - Curated by Donald Richie

A Multi-part Series Devoted to Unexplored Tangents of the Japanese Film

Film: Distance

Written, Directed and Edited by Hirokazu Kore’eda, with Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Yui Natsukawa, Yusuke Iseya, Kenichi Endo and Arata. 132mins. (2001)

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
7:00 p.m. open (8:00 p.m. start)
SuperDeluxe (Access)
Open to general public. ¥1,500 at door (valid for one day/one screening)
Donald Richie
* Introduction and Q&A by Donald Richie in English (Film in Japanese with English subtitles)
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About the Film

It is the third anniversary of the poisoning of the Tokyo water system (123 dead, 8000 made ill) by a group called The Ark of Truth. We follow a small group of people to the distant scene where the members later committed suicide. These, we think, are family of the victims, but they are not. They are family members of the perpetrators. Based on the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo gas attacks in Tokyo, this film (by the director of Maboroshi, After life, and Nobody Knows) attempts to comprehend an event that is incomprehensible. We do not know when our right to worship, to believe, crosses into blind acceptance and insanity. Through images of the puzzling present and unreliable flashbacks of the past we endure this dark, dense, and disturbing chronicle in order to come to terms with – finally – ourselves.

About Donald Richie

Donald Richie, former Curator of Film at the New York Museum of Modern Art, is the author of many books on Japanese cinema, including his most recent, One Hundred Years of Japanese Film. He has also written widely on many other aspects of this country where he has spent most of his life, including the classic travel book, The Inland Sea, and his latest, Botandoro.

About ICJS
The Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.