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Nippon Connection: Japanese Spring Is Coming To Frankfurt!


The 12th Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection will run May 2-6, 2012, Frankfurt am Main


In just a few days, it will be "YOUKOSO!", and the Students' House at Bockenheim Campus in Frankfurt will become the center venue of an international film festival. From May 2-6, the Japanese film festival Nippon Connection will welcome cinema enthusiasts and friends of Japanese culture from Germany, Europe and the whole world in Frankfurt for the twelfth time. Be it samurai flick, anime or social study: with 142 short and feature films, among which you can find 42 world and 14 international premieres, Nippon Connection presents an exciting film program. More than 30 film-makers and artists from Japan will introduce their works personally at the festival. For the eighth time, the NIPPON CINEMA AWARD, donated by Bankhaus Metzler, will go to the favorite of the audience, while an international jury will select the winner of the NIPPON VISIONS AWARD, for whom the Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy will sponsor a subtitling for the next film project. Many cultural events complement the film program and invite you to discover, enjoy, participate or simply relax. 


The memories of the disaster of March 11, 2011 are still there - films, lectures and exhibits with various artistic approaches are dedicated to the trauma and the changes that the triple disaster has brought about. This year's retrospective "Visual Resistance: Protest Culture in Japanese Documentary Film" takes a closer look at the protest culture in Japan and draws comparisons to recent events. 


The festival will be opened on Wednesday, May 2, at 7:15 p.m. by the touching drama POSTCARD, this year's Oscar nominee from Japan. Director Kaneto SHINDO, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, looks back to the era of the Second World War. With formal perfection and the courage to include drama and emotions, he tells the story of soldier Keita, who visits a fallen comrade's wife and is confronted with her personal tragedy. SHINDO's brilliance and acuteness in examining the structures of institutional power have lost none of their strength. 


The festival's star guest is undoubtedly director and actor Shinya TSUKAMOTO (TETSUO) presenting his drama KOTOKO, which already received an award at the Venice Film Festival. The variety of the film program in the sections NIPPON CINEMA and NIPPON VISIONS includes outstanding works from different genres. Documentary essays can be found along comedies filled with typical Japanese humor: Philippe Grandrieux offers an aesthetic discourse on the tensions between ideas and reality in his experimental documentary IT MAY BE THAT BEAUTY HAS STRENGTHENED OUR RESOLVE - MASAO ADACHI, based on the thoughts and works of left-wing radical intellectual Masao ADACHI. In contrast, Yu IRIE combines the stories of a number of people with the fortune of cult band Shinsei Kamattechan in a humorous and original music comedy.


Four documentaries will outline the perspectives and attitudes of Japanese society toward last year's disaster. Thus, the German audience will have the opportunity to learn about the ways in which Japanese people deal with the terrible events. As an example, Masaki KOBAYASHI's film FUKUSHIMA HULA GIRLS tells the story of the dancers at the Hawaiian Spa Resort in Fukushima prefecture and their efforts to reopen the resort after the earthquake and the nuclear disaster. The triple disaster that began on March 11, 2011 has had a deep impact on film and culture in general. Lectures held in cooperation with the Department of Japanese Studies at Frankfurt University will analyze the post-Fukushima era. A photo exhibit of German and Japanese artists (JAPAN : SHIFTED) as well as a photo installation (Silent Pictures - Tohoku 3/11) will provide an insight into the consequences of the events. In his very own personal way, German author and film-maker Jörg Buttgereit has also taken up this subject: his radio play "The Beast of Fukushima", which will be performed live at the festival, combines sober documentary and fantastic monster legends.


The NIPPON CULTURE section invites you to experience various forms of expression and diverse aspects of Japanese culture. One highlight will be the "Benshi Brilliance!" event, which brings you an almost forgotten art: film narrator (Japanese: benshi) Ichiro KATAOKA from Tokyo will accompany the silent film JIROKICHI THE RAT with an expressive combination of narration and pantomime. Music will be provided by the band OTOWAZA, which will also perform at a special concert presenting their versions of western pop songs played on traditional Japanese instruments.  


Strolling around the festival site, visitors can admire the live painting event of exceptional artist Kozue KODAMA, test their reflexes in our video games arcade, discover their hidden talents at karaoke, buy exotic Japanese merchandise, or simply relax at the tea lounge or with a shiatsu massage.


With NIPPON KIDS, the festival also offers a special program section for our little visitors between the age of 6 and 12 years. There is much to discover: origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, Japanese games, or the inventive preparation of tasty Japanese bento lunch boxes. Those who like to take a look behind the scenes can learn more about film-making at our animation film workshop, but there is also a special film program for children.


After a long festival day, there is still time to party. On Friday, May 4, starting at 11:00 p.m., electro act Gothika will present their excessive live performance, and the outlandish Cybergoth-DJ SiSeN will turn the festival center into a Tokyo-Decadence event. At the legendary festival party on Saturday, May 5, DJs HITO and ODD will provide another highlight, starting at 10:30 p.m. with the support of VJ team and pole dancer MAKI.  




The Japanese film festival Nippon Connection is organized on a voluntary basis by a 50-member team of the non-profit Nippon Connection registered association. Again, around 16,000 visitors are expected this year.


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