Sacramento Japanese Film Festival This Weekend

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Left: “13 Assassins.” Right: “The Knot.”

SACRAMENTO — The ninth annual Sacramento Japanese Film Festival will be present seven movies from July 12 to 14 at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St. in downtown Sacramento. The schedule is as follows:

• “Haru’s Journey” (2010), directed by Masahiro Kobayashi, on Friday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tadao, a cantankerous grandfather (77-year-old movie legend Tatsuya Nakadai), and his teenage granddaughter, Haru (Eri Tokunaga), take to the road to find a new life and home with one of the old man’s siblings.

“Haru’s Journey.”

• “Every Night Dreams” (1933), directed by Mikio Naruse, on Saturday, July 13, at 12:45 p.m. In this silent film, a single mother, Omitsu (Sumiko Kurishima), works hard in a waterfront Tokyo bar to ensure a better future for her young son. Her husband, Mizuhara (Tatsuo Saito), who abandoned the family for three years, returns. He wants to be a better father and husband, but has difficulties finding a job in Depression-era Japan.

• “A Letter to Momo” (2011), directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, on July 13 at 2:20 p.m. Momo and her mother leave Tokyo for a small island after Momo’s father’s accidental death. Because her last words to her father before he died were in an argument over a broken promise, Momo is burdened by guilt. Winner of 2012 Asian Pacific Screen Award for best animated feature.

• “The Knot” (2010), directed by Yuichi Onuma, on July 13 at 4:45 p.m. Asako (Mukku Akazawa) is married to a company man; Keisuke (Junichi  Kawamoto) is co-owner of a laundry shop with his wife. Fourteen years ago, Asako was a student and Keisuke was a junior high school teacher who took advantage of her. Conflicts from the past arise when their paths cross.

• “13 Assassins” (2010), directed by Takashi Miike, on July 13 at 8 p.m. It’s 1844 during the last days of feudal Japan. Master swordsman and samurai Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yaskusho) is appointed to kill Lord Naritsuga (Goro Inagaki), a sociopath and half-brother to the ruling shogun. Shimada chooses 11 samurai and one wanna-be to join forces with him. Winner of four Japanese Academy Awards.

• “Key of Life” (2012), directed by Kenji Uchida, on Sunday, July 14, at 1:30 p.m. After a botched suicide attempt, talentless actor Sakurai (Masato Sakai) goes to a bathhouse to clean up. Hired killer Kondo (Teruki Kagawa) slips on a bar of soap at the same bathhouse and suffers amnesia, giving Sakurai the opportunity to switch identities. Winner of best screenplay award at 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival.

• “Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful” (2012), directed by Yuriko Gamo Romer, on July 14 at 4 p.m. Born in 1913 in Tokyo, Keiko Fukuda was the granddaughter of a Meiji era samurai and juijitsu master. Her grandfather was the sensei of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. Kano, in turn, was the teacher of Fukuda, the first and only woman awarded the highest honor in judo – 10th-degree black belt. Her choices were hard; she chose judo over marriage and persevered on her life path. After World War II, she moved to San Francisco and founded a judo dojo. Winner of jury award for best documentary at 2013 International Festival of Sports Movies.

Tickets are $10 each; all-festival pass is $35. For more information, call the Crest box office at (916) 442-5184 or visit www.sacjapanesefilmfestival.net. Tickets are also available through www.tickets.com or by calling (800) 225-2277.

Sponsored by Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church (www.sacjumc.com). 

Left: “Every Night Dreams.” Right: “A Letter to Momo.”

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