THE CHRYSANTHEMUM AND THE GUILLOTINE
Director: Takahisa Zeze
Genre: Drama, History
The magnitude 7.9 Great Kanto Earthquake killed nearly 150,000, and threw Japan’s nerve center of Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto plain into chaos. From this chaos came some of the early steps leading to the militarism of the following decades and in contrast a flowering of local culture. One such flowering, little-known today, was the emergence of a nation-wide circuit of lady sumo wrestlers. This fictional story revolves around the encounter of one of these women, whose professional circuit centered on rural villages, with a young anarchist dreaming of a classless society, in a realistic portrayal that invokes the rough and ready power of the common people in a romantic drama with a satiric edge. The film was presented at the Göteborg Film Festival 2019 and the Busan International Film Festival 2018. It won the Tokyo Gemstone Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018, and it was nominated to the Best Film and won the awards to the Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best New Actress and Best New Actor at the Kinema Junpo Awards 2019.
Born in 1960 in Tochigi, Japan, Takahisa Zeze is a writer and director who began making independent films as a student at Kyoto University. Upon graduation, he joined Shishi Productions, made his debut as a director in 1989 with the ‘pink’ soft-porn “Good Luck Japan” and through the early 1990s established himself as one of the nation’s top four ‘potentates of porn’. During this time he also wrote a number of scripts under a variety of pseudonyms. Since then he has been active in both television documentaries and feature films, with his epic “Heaven’s Story” winning the critics’ Netpac Award at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival.
Thursday 7th November