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Japan Society Presents Two Anime Films in 35mm for November/December Monthly Classics

Nov. 17 – Isao Takahata Tribute with My Neighbors the Yamadas Dec. 7 – Satoshi Kon's Holiday-Perfect Tokyo Godfathers

New York, NY – Japan Society's last Monthly Classics screenings of 2018 present two feature animation films that demonstrate their respective late director's mastery of imagination.

My Neighbors the Yamadas is screening as a part of Anime NYC's tribute event, "Remembering Isao Takahata – Co- Founder of Studio Ghibli" on November 17 at 2:15PM, and is co-presented with The Japan Foundation. The screening will be introduced by Dr. Kathryn Hemmann, Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at George Mason University, who will be sharing her insight at the panel as well. The Atlantic's David Sims wrote that the 1999 classic is “a charming work, presented as a series of whimsical vignettes poking fun at the family unit.”

Tokyo Godfathers is no ordinary family anime film. “Like all Satoshi Kon movies, this is replete with memorable characters, dynamic visuals, and a real sense of humanity, but Tokyo Godfathers shines a light on a part of Japan that often goes unseen and ignored: the downtrodden and disenfranchised. And in that, Kon show us, there can be true beauty,” wrote Dan Casey of The Nerdist . This is the fourth Film K-On! directed, which won Best Animation Film at the 58 th Mainichi Film Awards, and an Excellence Prize at the 2003 Japan Media Arts Festival, as well as several other awards in Europe.

Admission to Monthly Classics screenings is $14, $11 for seniors and students, and $5 for Japan Society members.

My Neighbors the Yamadas (Hohokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun)
Saturday, November 17 at 7 pm
1999, 104 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Isao Takahata.

In remembrance of Isao Takahata (1935-2018), a key figure in the history of Japanese animation and co-founder of Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, Japan Society presents a commemorative screening of the influential director's penultimate animated feature. Derived from a popular newspaper cartoon strip about an average middle-class Japanese family, Yamadas mines the comedy and unexpected profundity of life's everyday moments through a series of memorable vignettes rendered in a minimalist, watercolor-like style. Ghibli's first fully digital animated feature and a precursor to Takahata's acclaimed final film The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013), this largely underrated gem is ripe for rediscovery.

Tokyo Godfathers (Tokyo Goddofazazu)
Friday, December 7 at 7 pm
2003, 92 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Satoshi Kon.

While rummaging through trash heaps on Christmas Eve, three homeless companions -- a middle-aged alcoholic, a transgender ex-drag queen and a hot-tempered teen runaway -- stumble upon an abandoned newborn. Determined to find the child's mother, the trio search Tokyo's sprawling streets, buildings and back alleys, helped along by a series of coincidental encounters that gradually reveal the truth of their traumatic pasts. Imbued with deep empathy for its down-and-out yet lively characters, this atypical holiday comedy by celebrated animation director Satoshi Kon (Paprika) highlights the redemptive power of love and family (chosen or otherwise) amidst life on the fringes of society.

Japan Society's Film Programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, Masu Hiroshi Masuyama, James Read Levy, Laurel Gonsalves, David S. Howe, Dr. Tatsuji Namba, Mr. and Mrs. Omar H. Al-Farisi, Geoff Matters, and Michael Romano.

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