Archive for the ‘Cinemas in Japan’ Category


35mm Greatness in Tokyo

April 25, 2014

Anyone who loves seeing movies from 35 mm film prints is in for an epic treat in Tokyo in May (2014). As a result of an unbelievable amount of coincidences, there’s an incredible set of Japanese classics and cult films screening in different theatres around the same time (though without subtitles of course). Most of them play in large retrospectives, so you if you stay for longer time you can catch tons of movies.

However, even if you were like me and could only drop by for one extended weekend, you’ve still got more Japanese 40 classics to choose from in a dozen theaters. May 15th – May 18 (Friday-Sunday) especially is good time. I’ve listed below only what’s playing during that time.


Laputa (Day Show): Screenwriter Koji Tanada Retrospective

The Defensive Power of Aikido (Shigero Ozawa, 1975) (35mm)

Silk Hat Boss (Norifumi Suzuki, 1970) (35mm)

Ikasama bakuchi (Shigero Ozawa, 1968) (35mm)

Shimaizaka (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1985) (35mm)

Onimasa (Hideo Gosha, 1982) (35mm)

Otoko no shobu: niou no irezumi (Norifumi Suzuki, 1967) (35mm)


Laputa (Morning Show): Ishiro Honda Drama Retrospective

– People of Tokyo, Goodbye (Ishiro Honda, 1956) (35mm)

– An Echo Calls You (Ishiro Honda, 1959) (35mm)


Laputa (Late Show): Meika Seri Retrospective

Wet Lust: 21 Strippers (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1974) (35mm)

Man and Woman Behind the Fusuma Screen: Enduring Skin (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1974) (35mm)


Pole Pole: Special Screening

Woods are Wet: Woman Hell (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1973) (35mm)

The Embryo Hunts in Secret (Koji Wakamatsu, 1966) (35mm) (Guest: Masao Adachi)


Kineka Omori (Normal Distribution)

No. 10 Blues – Goodbye Saigon (1975) (format unknown)

Cinema Vera: Director Yoshitaro Nomura Retrospective

Tokyo Bay (Yoshitaro Nomura, 1962) (35mm)

Hakuchû dodo (Yoshitaro Nomura, 1968) (35mm)


Cinema Vera: Actor Shin Kishida Retrospective

Utamaro’s World (Akio Jissoji, 1977) (35mm)

Demon Spies (Takashi Tsuboshima, 1974) (35mm)


Theater Shinjuku: Pia Film Festival Presents

Japanese 8mm 16mm Films from 1970’s & 1980’s (format unknown)


Cine Qualite: Karikore 2014

– Horrors of Malformed Men (Teruo Ishii, 1969) (35mm)


National Film Center: The Birth and Development of Japanese Color Film

Yuhi to kenju (Kiyoshi Saeki, 1956) (35mm)

Hokkaido no hanran (Kunio Watanabe, 1956) (35mm)

Bridge of Japan (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) (35mm)

The Taira Clan (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1955) (35mm)

Hadashi no seishun (Senkichi Taniguchi, 1956) (35mm)

River of the Night (Kôzaburô Yoshimura, 1956) (35mm)

Meguro Cinema: Shunji Iwai Series

Love Letter (Shunji Iwai, 1995) (35mm)

Swallowtail Butterfly (Shunji Iwai, 1996) (35mm)

All About Lily Chou Chou (Shunji Iwai, 2001) (35mm)

Hana and Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2004) (35mm)


Shin Bungeiza: Yuzo Kawashima retrospective

Ojosan shacho (Yuzo Kawashima, 1953) (35mm)

Burden of Love (Yuzo Kawashima, 1955) (35mm)

Suzaki Paradise Red Light (Yuzo Kawashima, 1956) (35mm)

Noren (Yuzo Kawashima, 1958) (35mm)

Onna wa nido umareru (Yuzo Kawashima, 1961) (35mm)

The Graceful Brute (Yuzo Kawashima, 1962) (35mm)


Jinbocho: Screen Beauties Retrospective

Mukashi no uta (Tamizo Ishida, 1939) (35mm)

Sincerity (Mikio Naruse, 1939) (35mm)

Hideko, the Bus Conductor (Mikio Naruse, 1941) (35mm)

A Broken Drum (Keinosuke Kinoshita, 1949) (35mm)

Till We Meet Again(Tadashi Imai, 1950) (35mm)

Aijo (Kiyoshi Horiike, 1956) (35mm)

Garasu no naka no shôjo (Mitsuo Wakasugi, 1960) (35mm)

Tears on the Lion’s Mane (Masahiro Shinoda, 1962) (35mm)


Of course, if you come earlier or stay longer there’s dozens of more films playing in the same retrospectives, like many Kinji Fukasaku yakuza films, more roman pornos, more Ishiro Honda films, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House, many Sogo Ishii films, or this Keizo Kanie set that closes on May 15th.


Shimbashi Bunka: Keizo Kanie Memorial Screenings

– Tattoeed Flower Vase (Masaru Konuma, 1976) (35mm)

– Rape (Yasuraru Hasebe, 1976) (35mm)

– Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Chusei Sone, 1979) (35mm)


Some day in the future I’ll try to write something about the coolest cinemas in Tokyo. I’m not based in Tokyo so my experience is limited, but I can immediately recommend Laputa Asagaya, which is the most atmosheric small theater playing nothing but retrospectives, and with certain reservations, Shimbashi Bunka’s Roman Gekijo, which plays a lot of Nikkatsu pink in triple features and gives you the old school pink cinema exprerience with all its dirtiness. You’ll feel like taking a shower after you leave the theater, and that’s not even related to what was going on on the screen…!


For an excellent resource on cinemas in Tokyo area that show non-mainstream films and old movies, see this great Japanese website.