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Friday, June 16, 2006

Behold a make-believe world

Festival celebrates filmmaker Junichi Okuyama

The work of Tokyo-born filmmaker Junichi Okuyama, widely known by his nickname of "Mr. Experimental Film," will be marked at the weeklong "Anarchy Film Festival," from June 16.

News photo
"Le Cinema ," Junichi Okuyama

With the successful export of anime, it is easy to forget that Japan is also home to a thriving experimental film scene, in which Okuyama has been active for 30 years.

The short films of Okuyama (born in 1947) have been screened around the world, including as part of "JPEX: Japanese Experimental Film and Video, 1955 -- Now," a program that toured North America in 2004. The program notes from that festival described Okuyama, among others, as having probed "the possibilities of cinematic representation . . . repetition, sensory overload . . . and delusive madness."

The festival begins at SuperDeluxe in Nishi-Azabu as Volume 4 in that venue's "Filmmakers' Workshop" series. The workshop, subtitled "Let's enjoy Junichi Okuyama's make-believe movies," will show four films from Okuyama that will be screened for the first time. These include the 37-minute "Inpodeyance" from 1968, the 15-minute "Wakka" from 1970 and two new films.

The workshop takes place June 16 (7:30 p.m. start) at SuperDeluxe, B1F, 3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. Tickets are 2,800 yen in advance or 3,300 yen at the door. E-mail info@superdeluxe.com for reservations.

Three Okuyama programs will then be presented at the Theatre Image Forum in Shibuya, June 17-23. The theatre was founded in 1977 and specializes in experimental and world cinema, organizes workshops and retrospectives and, once a year in April, holds its own festival.

The themes for the three programs are "Anarchy" (June 18, 21), "Bright Faced" (June 19, 22) and "Cool Headed" (June 17, 20 and 23). Okuyama will be a guest on June 17, 21 and 23.

The Theatre Image Forum, 2-10-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, is a short walk from JR Shibuya Station's East Exit. Tickets are 1,200 yen at the door per program or 3,000 yen to attend all three programs. For more information, call (03) 5766-0114.

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