Cinematic gems from Japan

movie & TV March 17, 2017 11:27

By The Nation

Technology is the theme of this month’s film programme being presented by Japan Foundation Bangkok.

Showing tonight (March 17) at 6.30 is Kei Kumai’s “Darkness in the Light” based on the true story of the trial by media of an innocent man in the Matumoto sarin poisoning case. It’s centred on Toshio Kanbe, a middle-aged salaryman living with his family in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, who wakes up one morning in the summer of 1994 to find himself the prime suspect in the biggest mass-murder case of the decade. Someone, somehow, released clouds of poison gas that killed seven and sickened nearly 600 in his apartment building and neighbourhood. Though Kanbe and his wife were both victims, the police quickly tag him as the perpetrator. Using information supplied by the local cops, the national media spread the story that agricultural chemicals found in Kanbe's possession had been mixed to create the deadly gas clouds and that Kanbe was the probable mixer.

    Shinkai Makoto’s “Children Who Chase the Lost Voice” will screen on March 24, also at 6.30. The main character is Asuna who one day hears a mysterious song on her crystal radio, a memento of her father. On the way to her favourite mountain, she is attacked by a strange beast and is saved by Shun who comes from a faraway land. The two begin to open their hearts to each other, but Shun suddenly disappears.    

The March 31 screening is Shinkai Makoto’s “The Place Promised in Our Early Day”, in which post-World War II Japan has been divided and is occupied by two rival powers. Hokkaido has been annexed by the “Union” while Honshu and the other southern islands have come under US occupation. Three children, Hiroki, Takuya and Sayurim who live in Aomori, the closest province in Honshu to Hokkaido, become fascinated by the gigantic yet mysterious tower that they see across the Tsugaru Strait, promising that one day they will build and fly an aircraft to the tower to unravel its mystery. However, their project is abandoned after Sayuri's sudden disappearance. Three years later, Hiroki finds out that Sayuri has been in a coma for the past three years, a state that is somehow linked to the secrets of the Union.

 All films are in Japanese with Thai subtitles. Admission is free.