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Friday, Jan. 16, 2009

Silent cinema to appeal to foreigners

Staff writer

Four Japanese silent movies produced in the 1930s will be shown in Tokyo on Jan. 28.

News photo
Rat boy: Denjiro Okochi as Jirokichi in "Oatsurae Jirokichi Koshi" ("Jirokichi the Rat") MATSUDA EIGASHA, DIGITAL MEME

One of the movies, titled "Oatsurae Jirokichi Koshi," or "Jirokichi the Rat," was produced in 1931. The movie was directed by Daisuke Ito and starred Denjiro Okochi. Jirokichi, played by Okochi, is nicknamed Rat Boy because he is a thief. However, in the movie, our hero strives to help the weak and defeat evil. The film is considered a masterpiece, and will be screened with English subtitles.

"Komori" ("The Bat") is a 10-minute 1930 animated movie. The film, which will be shown with Korean subtitles, is based on the tale of a bat who refuses to choose sides in a conflict between birds and beasts. When the two sides make peace, the bat is forced into the world of the night as a punishment for his refusal to join in the conflict.

"Sanko to Tako: Hyakumanryo Chinsodo" ("Sanko and the Octopus: A Fight Over a Fortune") is an animated movie made in 1933. It is a comedy about a lazy fisherman named Sanko who goes in search of a treasure ship with his friend, Mr. Kuma. The movie will be screened with English subtitles.

The 1936 animation "Hinomaru Taro: Musha Shugyo no Maki" ("Taro's Early Training Days"), in which a man tries to rescue a princess from a villain, will be screened with Chinese subtitles.

The screening is sponsored by Digital Meme and the nonprofit organization Heart Connections. Digital Meme restores classic Japanese films, while Heart Connections is an organization that supports foreign students studying in Japan.

"A Screening of Japanese Silent Film and Anime with Foreign Language Subtitles" will be held from 7 p.m. (doors open 6:30 p.m.) at Akasaka Civic Hall on the third floor of the Akasaka Civic Center in Tokyo. The center is a 10-minute walk from Exit A of Akasaka Mitsuke Station on the Ginza and Marunouchi lines; and a 10-minute walk from Exit 4 of Aoyama Icchome Station on the Ginza Hanzomon and Oedo lines. Admission is ¥1,000. For reservations and more information, call Heart Connections at (03) 3472-2775 or Digital Meme at (03) 5467-4729.

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