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Changing Scenery: Japan to Hyde Park

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 5, 2008 4:15PM

2008_2japanfilm.jpg It wasn't so terribly long ago that in order to watch any sort of semi-obscure Japanese cinema you'd have to be prepared to invest in a region-free DVD player and sit through discs with dubious subtitles (when they were subtitled at all). Even a filmmaker like Kurosawa wasn't immune. Luckily for cinephiles the situation has really changed, and access to Asian cinema in general is better than ever.

If only our access to Hyde Park was better! Nevertheless it'll be worth the trek to U of C's Doc Films for the Japan Foundation Midwest Film Festival, which runs from February 8-10. This year's theme of "The Changing Scenery of Japan” highlights five films about the country's young people. We haven't seen any of the titles on the program, although the crowd-pleasing Water Boys has quite the reputation. A comedy about a ragtag bunch of geeks on a male synchronized swimming team (!) brings back some fond memories of a certain Martin Short SNL sketch. Other titles include stories about multi-racial tension (All Under The Moon), dysfunctional families (Hanging Garden) and high school rock bands (Linda Linda Linda, with a soundtrack by James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins).

The best thing? Admission to all five films is absolutely free.

Still from "Linda Linda Linda" via cinemastrikesback