Yamaoka Retrospective at Independent Film Showcase

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The 16th annual IFS (Independent Filmmakers Showcase) Film Festival will take place from March 27 to April 8 in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

Showcasing an extensive collection of undiscovered and independent films from around the world, alongside work from some of Hollywood’s best-known independent directors, the festival features 110 films from 16 countries, providing a unique opportunity for exposure and recognition by film studios, production houses and distribution outlets.

“Plane Megadolce”

One of this year’s highlights is a retrospective of seven feature films spanning the career of Japanese director Nobu Yamaoka, a master at using smaller budgets to create thrillingly intellectual spectacles. The schedule is as follows:

• “Planet Megadolce” (2012) on Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, and Saturday, April 6, at 8:45 p.m. at Belle Varadeo Studios, 217 Bellevue Ave., Los Angeles. This film premiered at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and soon became a must-see in the Los Angeles film scene. If David Lynch had nightmares about time travel at the end of the world, they would look like this. Follow a physicist’s assistant who discovers a duplicate Earth that is getting closer each day. Screens with the short film “Cosmoplis.”

• “Fix” (2005) on Friday, March 29, at 10:15 p.m. and Saturday, April 6, at 3:30 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. This film also has sci-fi elements, following a man living an easy life until visited by messages and strange incidents. Are there more than two men who look exactly like him? Corpses of enigmatic beings appear.

• “Pickled Punk” (1993) on Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and at Belle Varado Studios. Yamaoka takes viewers into a peculiar inner space using a bizarre tempo that never synchronizes with the images. A poetic story analyzing destructive behaviors caused by extreme self-consciousness, this controversial film of philosophical abstrusity brought debates over its merits at various film festivals around the world, including the Berlin Film Festival.

“Fix”

• “Zeki, Florian and Kelly!” (1997) on Friday, April 5, at 9:30 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. This early feature follows Riko, a suicide-obsessed young woman, who meets up with an angry young man whose dream is to blot out all of existence. Together, they join up with other would-be terrorists on a special delivery to a location in Tokyo.

• “Pigs Inferno” (2000) on Friday, April 5, at 11 p.m. and Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. A man escapes to the past to meet the future’s cruel revenge in this film about the musical poetry of darkness. IFS says this and other works show that Yamaoka “is an undiscovered master of lo-fi spectacle and transcendent analysis.”

• “Sorano” on Saturday, April 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. This is a documentary film analyzing “Tori,” the first film directed by noted actor Tadanobu Asano. But instead of looking at the hows and whys of filmmaking, it asks the deeper question of why human beings even make art.

• “Children Who Won’t Die” (2011) on Saturday, April 6, at 9:15 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. Preceded at 8:45 p.m. by a Q&A session with the director. Can architecture save your life? This documentary follows the artists who designed and constructed an unconventional residence called the Reversible Destiny Lofts. The nine-unit building has undulating floors and rounded walls that are designed to engage the body, promote exercise and halt the aging process. Follow the residents and creators as they embark upon a journey to live forever.

Other Japan-related films:

• “Lives Interrupted” (U.S.), directed by Bruce Schwartz, on Wednesday, March 27, at 6:45 p.m. at Laemmle Music Hall. Congress issued a commendation for this documentary, which examines the lives and deaths of two film students from Japan who attended Marymount College and lost their lives in a carjacking in 1994. The boys’ friends, colleagues and families are interviewed to set their shortened lives into perspective and analyze societal violence. (Voted best documentary in the festival.)

• “Memory Sculptor” (Japan), directed by Ken Ochiai, on Saturday, March 30, at 5:30 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. Part of Short Program 1 — Action/Fantasy. The wife of a wealthy man hires memory-erasing agents to erase her husband’s memory of the young lover with whom he is having an affair, but she soon realizes that the woman will stop at nothing to keep the man’s love for her alive.

• “Tokyo = Fukushima” (U.K.), directed by Jordan Baseman, on Sunday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. Part of Shorts Program 1 — Drama Shorts. A film of the city of Tokyo six months after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in time-lapse, stop-frame animation that depicts Tokyo as throbbing with life and (nuclear) electricity despite the crisis and constant radioactive threat. Recorded over a two-month period, using a Bolex Super 16mm wind-up camera on the streets of Tokyo, the experimental film acts as a love letter to an anxious friend.

• “Revenge Flame of Hayabusa” (U.S.), directed by Petong Sakulchai, on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. at Belle Varado Studios. Part of Shorts Program 1 — Sci-Fi/Action. A yakuza gets released from prison and discovers that his boss and crew have been gunned down by an enemy gang. He decides to seek revenge upon the people who destroyed his family and begins a suicide mission to bring back the honor to his gang.

For more information, visit www.ifsfilm.com/.

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