2016 FILMS

Sugiura Chiune

sunday, March 20, 1:30PM

Sugihara Chiune (139 min) (2015)
杉原千畝 スギハラチウネ
Persona Non Grata

Persona Non Grata tells the story of Chiune Sugihara, the courageous Japan diplomat who defied his government and issued visas in 1940 to over 6,000 Jews, saving them from certain death in Nazi concentration camps. For his actions, he was dismissed from the Foreign Ministry after the war and lived in obscurity.


Flying Colors: How a Teen Girl Went from Academic Absurdity to an Elite University in One Amazing Year

MONDAY, March 21, 7PM

Biri Gyaru (117 min) (2015)
Flying Colors: How a Teen Girl Went from Academic Absurdity to an Elite University in One Amazing Year

Nominated for four Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, Biri Gyaru / Flying Colors is based on the true story of Sayaka, a high school sophomore whose academic level is equivalent to that of a fourth-year elementary student. She doesn't know north from south, or even that the earth is round. Then a meeting with the teacher at a “cram school” leads to her taking on the seemingly impossible goal of gaining entrance to the prestigious Keio University.


Zakuro Zaka no Adauchi

TUESDAY, March 24, 7PM

Zakuro Zaka no Adauchi (119 min) (2014)
Snow on the Blades

Zakuro Zaka no Adauchi tells the story of Shimura Kingo, the personal bodyguard to Ii Naosuke, the Chief Minister of the Tokugawa Shogunate. After he fails to prevent his master’s assassination at the hands of rebels opposed to Japan’s opening to the West, Kingo embarks on a 13-year journey to avenge the murder. Even as Japan changes around him, Kingo continues to cling to the spirit and values of the samurai.

By 1873 only one of the assassins, Sabashi Jubei, remains alive. Ironically, on the very day that Kingo learns of Jubei’s whereabouts, the Meiji Government promulgates a law banning avenge killings. But no law can prevent Kingo’s determination to fulfill his sacred duty. After 13 years, Shimura Kingo and Sabashi Jubei meet again -- on the Pomegranate Incline (Zakuro Zaka).


Boku wa Bosan

Wednesday, March 23, 7pm

Boku wa Bosan (99 min) (2015)
I am a Monk

At times light-hearted and other times serious, this heart-warming film provides a rare look inside the everyday lives of Japanese monks. With the sudden death of his grandfather, a 24-year old bookstore clerk, Koen Shirakata, becomes an Abbot of Eifukuji, the 57th of 88 temples on the Shikoku pilgrimage route. Although he was born and raised in this temple, stepping into the Buddhist world as a monk is a much deeper experience than Koen ever imagined.

Even as he worries about his new relationship with worshippers of the temple, Koen conducts weddings and funerals, and also acts as the “face” of the community. As he observes people’s lives and deaths, it is a natural part of the job to ponder the meaning of life and death.


初めて見る坊さん専用グッズや、個性豊かな僧侶との出会いにワクワクしたり、檀家の人たちとの関係に悩んだり。お葬式や結婚式で人々の人生の節目を見守るのはもちろん、地域の“顔”としての役割もある。職業柄、人の生死に立ち合うことで“生きるとは何か? 死ぬとは何か?”と考えたりもする。坊さんとしての道を歩み始めたばかりの光円に何ができるのか。何が伝えられるのか。光円は試行錯誤を繰り返しながら、人としても成長していく……。

Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi

THURSDAY, March 24, 7PM

Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi
The Emperor in August

Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi has been nominated for eleven Japanese Academy Prizes, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. It provides a “behind-the-scenes” look at the tensions within the Japanese Government as the senior leadership, including the Emperor, debated whether to accept the Potsdam Declaration and surrender. Even after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Emperor’s Cabinet remained split. Some were prepared to continue the fight, even if it meant the destruction of Japan.

That is when the Emperor did the “unthinkable” and broke the impasse by expressing his own views. “Continuing the war, destroying civilization, and bringing sorrow on humanity is not my wish. Whatever may happen to my person, I desire to save the lives of my people.”

Despite the Emperor’s decision, a group of young Army officers, determined to fight to the end, mount a coup d’etat against the Imperial Palace to prevent the broadcast of the Emperor’s speech announcing Japan’s surrender….