Section: Spotlight on Japan

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NINUFABUSHI MIIATI (GUIDED BY THE NORTH STAR)

Told through watercolor illustrations and a traditional Okinawan folk song, “Ninufabushi Miiati” follows an emigrant’s journey from Okinawa to Argentina in the early 1900s. This project was an international collaboration by four descendants of Uchinaanchu (Okinawan) immigrants in Argentina and the United States.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY

In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s triptych of short films, coincidence and chance encounters interrupt the fragile reality of waking life. Alternately playful, comedic, and cynical, WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY plumbs the theatrical depths hidden beneath simple stories: an unexpected love triangle, an attempt to seduce and blackmail a professor, and a meeting between two old friends. …

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ZOKKI

A grandfather has, by his count, 230 confessions to share with his granddaughter. A loner wanders into a fishing town and finds himself getting mixed up with a violent sea crew. A nerdy high school student befriends a weird classmate who is obsessed with his sister … who does not actually exist. An unemployed father …

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THE LAST GOZE

Becoming blind as an infant at the dawn of the 20th century, Haru had little in the way of opportunity as a young girl in Japan. With her father passed and her mother ill, Haru’s best option is to become a “goze” – a traveling singer and storyteller respected by many of the common folk. …

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ONE SUMMER STORY

High school student Minami has a happy life with her mom and stepdad, enjoys swimming and her favorite anime Buffalo Koteko the Magical Plasterer. She’s never met her biological father, but hasn’t been too bothered about that. However, when she receives a mysterious handwritten talisman in the mail it sets off a chain of events …

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SHRIEKING IN THE RAIN

In the summer of 1988, video production for home rentals were at their highest demand. And at one film studio, a rookie female director of a new film is pushing her production to the brink. Frequently melting down and isolating herself from everyone, giving vague and contradictory directions, and insisting on dozens of takes per …

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MIRACLE CITY KOZA

In 1970s Koza, Okinawa during the American occupation, American GIs streamed into town en route to Vietnam, and live music clubs raked in enough nightly cash to build a house. Koza brimmed with money, riots, and rock n’ roll music. 50 years later, the excitement is long gone, and plans to develop the area into …

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NINJA GIRL

Miu (Saki Fukuda) works as a city servant who cares for her dying grandfather (Shohei Uno), a prominent opposer to the Immigrant Elimination Ordinance. A family friend named Koji (Arata Iura) commits suicide after admitting his role in concocting fraudulence to help push the act through. Miu takes it upon herself to make things right …

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OFFICE ROYALE

The ‘battle royale’ of Office Ladies is here! Naoko Tanaka (Nao) is an ordinary office lady, who witnesses the endless violence between the warring OL factions within her place of employment. Each faction is run by an office lady who has proven themself to be successful in both battle and the business field. While most …

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