TORONTO, May 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The Toronto Japanese Film Festival (June 7-21) will show audiences two very different films with a striking common theme as Japanese "heroes" face their deaths in a clear-eyed and honorable manner appropriate to both the 17th and 21st centuries. One is Takashi Miike's Harakiri: Death of a Samurai, the other, Mami Sunada's Ending Note: Death of a Japanese Salaryman.
While North Americans see their film heroes as challenging fate, for the Japanese the hero is one who can accept fate; sacrificing for the group; moving towards compromise and restored harmony. At the same time, Japanese filmmakers tend to avoid clear-cut "bad guys" - providing a sense of perspective for all characters. This is most famously demonstrated in Kurosawa's classic "Rashomon" but is common in many Japanese films.
"Fatalism and perservence (gaman) are fundamental to the Japanese psyche and exemplified through the expression "shikata ga nai" (nothing can be done)," said James Heron, Festival Director. "Their collectivist society is an acceptance of fate reflected in their stoicism, patience, mutual respect and concern. The world marveled at the Japanese reaction after the tsunami disaster last year; what we were watching was the Japanese 'at their most Japanese'. We saw this in the internment of Japanese Canadians 70 years ago and you will find a thread of that through the films in the festival, especially in the closing film, the North American premiere of Shunji Iwai's Friends after 3.11."
Festival website: www.torontojff.com.
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