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Friday, Nov. 11, 2005

Tokyo FILMeX hits the spot

International festival highlights emerging filmmakers, rarely seen classics

Thirty-four films selected for their originality and creativity will be showcased in the sixth annual Tokyo FILMeX running Nov. 19-27.

Opening the festival is Hou Hsiao Hsien's "Three Times," the story of three love stories spanning 20th century and contemporary Taiwan, showing Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at Tokyo International Forum.

Then, starting Nov. 20, nine films will be presented in competition, including Masahiro Kobayashi's "Bashing" (Nov. 20, 4 p.m.), selected for the main competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which tells the story of Yuko (Fusako Urabe), who undergoes a media "bashing" on her return home to Japan after being taken hostage in the Middle East.

Highlights of the seven films shown in the festival's "special screenings" include "Sound Barrier" (Nov. 23, 9:15 p.m. and Nov. 25, 6:40 p.m.) by New York-based Iranian independent filmmaker Amir Naderi and Amos Gitai's "Free Zone" (Nov. 25, 1 p.m. and Nov. 26, 4:10 p.m.). "Free Zone" stars Natalie Portman, as a young American who flees home after a spat with her Israeli fiance, and Hanna Laslo, winner of the Best Actress Award at Cannes. All competition films and special screenings will be shown with English subtitles.

The special program aims to shed light on films that marked major turning points in film history but have rarely been screened in Japan. This year, Tokyo FILMeX introduces films from Switzerland from the 1920s-1940s in its "Swiss Treasures" program in addition to "Nobuo Nakagawa, Retrospective at his Centenary."

Director Nakagawa (1905-84) is well-known for his horror masterpieces such as "The Ghost Story of Yotsuya" (Nov. 22, 7 p.m. and Nov. 25, 1 p.m.)

This retrospective concentrates on Nakagawa's immediate post World War II films that also includes his literary adaptations, period films and love stories. All 12 films in the retrospective will be shown with English subtitles.

Tokyo FILMeX 2005 takes places Nov. 19-27 at Yurakucho Asahi Hall, 11F Yurakucho Mullion, near Exit C4 Ginza Subway Station; Cine Quanon Yurakucho, 8F, Bic Camera, in front of JR Yurakucho Station; National Film Center, Cinema 1, 2F, Kyobashi 3-7-6 Chuo Ward, near Kyobashi Subway Station Exit 1; and Tokyo International Forum Hall C in Yurakucho. Prices of tickets vary from 800-1,500 yen, available from Ticket PIA.

For the complete schedule in English or Japanese, see www.filmex.net

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