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Toronto Theater to Screen Rare Band of Ninja Anime

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
1967 film is legendary film director Nagisa Oshima's only animated work

The Cinematheque Ontario program will host a special screening of the pioneering 1967 anime film Ninja Bugei-chō (Band of Ninja) in Toronto, Canada on November 15. It is the only anime directed by the experimental filmmaker Nagisa Oshima, who went on to win the best director award at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival for Realm of Senses.

Band of Ninja is an adaptation of Sampei Shirato's 1957 manga about a young boy from a noble family who joins a peasant rebellion to avenge the death of his father. Rather than just using the manga as the basis for the film's plot, Oshima shot pictures of the actual manga pages, added camera pans to give an illusion of movement, and had actors read the dialogue and narration. Versions of the same technique were later used by Gainax director Hideaki Anno in His and Her Circumstances and by other directors in FLCL, another Gainax series.

The English-narrated screening will be held at the Art Gallery of Ontario's Jackson Hall at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at C$10.14 for the general public, and C$5.90 for students, seniors, and Cinematheque Ontario members. It will be part of an Oshima retrospective that will travel to various cities around the United States and Canda. It launched in New York earlier this month with screenings of all 23 of his movies, including 1983's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, which starred David Bowie as a British officer captured by the Japanese army.

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