Japanese Cinema to Guest at Locarno: Kitaro, Plus Two Shochiku Rarities

61st Locarno Film Festival

6-16  8  2008

Japanese cinema to guest at Locarno: Kitaro, plus two Shochiku rarities The 61st Locarno International Film Festival will be dedicating a special event to Kitaro, a cult figure in Japanese animation, well-known to manga enthusiasts of all ages.

The Festival audience will be offered a chance to see two full-length live action features, both adaptations from a manga series created in 1959 which brought modern popularity for the yokai, the mysterious creatures of Japanese folklore that include the now famous Kitaro. Gegege no Kitaro (Kitaro, 2007) will screen at Locarno on the crest of a wave of box-office success in its home market, while the recent sequel Gegege no Kitaro Sennen Noroi Uta (Kitaro and the Millennium Curse, 2008) will be receiving its international premiere. The two Shochiku- produced films were directed by Katsuhide Motoki.

Festival-goers will be able to follow the further adventures of Kitaro and his pals in two key episodes from the animated TV series produced by Toei Animation, shown in the original Japanese with subtitles: Hakaba Kitaro and Gegege no Kitaro (26', 2007).

Moreover, the audience at Locarno will enjoy an exclusive opportunity to discover two rare gems which have been found among Shochiku's archive treasures. First off, the short feature Kumo to tulip (The Spider and the Tulip, 15'), made in 1943 by one of the founding fathers of Japanese animation, Kenzo Masaoka. This is one of the few films in the genre made during the Second World War. It will screen in tandem with Momotaro, umi no shinpei (Momotaro, Sacred Sailors, 74') by Mitsuyo Seo, a stunning full-length animated feature made in 1945 for propaganda purposes with funds from the Japanese Naval Ministry.

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