Free Japanese Film Screenings in London – Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers

Archipelago Contemporary Japanese Female Filmmakers Banner

Archipelago: Exploring the Landscape of Contemporary Japanese Women Filmmakers’, is a season of free film screenings co-organised by the Japan Information and Cultural Centre (JICC), Japan Foundation and National Film and Television School with the aim of celebrating the diverse and exceptional work by a selection of female directors who have emerged from Japan in the last fifteen years. There are four screenings which are taking place across London from November 22nd.

The four directors at the heart of this season are Naoko Ogigami who was recently in London showing Close-Knit, Miwa Nishikawa, a woman who has a filmography of acerbic stories about dysfunctional families and people, Mami Sunada a documentarian from Tokyo who might be familiar to AUKN readers thanks to her Ghibli documentary, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, and Satoko Yokohama a rising star who makes gentle dramadies with surreal flights of fancy.

All of the screenings are free to attend, you just need to book a place to secure your spot!


Here are the films on offer:

Japanese Embassy in London, Wednesday 22 November 2017

Open 18:00 | Film starts at 18:30 | No admittance after 19:00



Synopsis: Sayoko lives alone in a one-story, traditional Japanese house. However, she is not really alone. Everywhere in the house, there is a cat, another cat, yet another cat… Since her childhood, Sayoko has had a way with cats. She shares her house with them and spends her time, taking care of the family altar for her beloved grandmother, and operating a rent-a-cat business. “Rent-a-…Cat. Rent-a-Cat, cat, cat. Feeling lonely? I’ll lend you a cat.” Every day she walks along the riverside, pulling a two-wheeled cart full of her cats.

Click here to book your free seat. More information from the embassy site can be found here.

Thursday, 30 November | Courthouse Cinema, London | 6:30PM

Bare Essence of Life Ultra Miracle Love Story   

Synopsis: Yojin is an energetic and troublesome young man who has his brain ‘wired differently’. Working with his grandmother on their small organic vegetable farm, Yojin’s eccentric lifestyle changes when he meets Machiko, a primary school teacher who arrives from Tokyo, and he becomes self-destructively determined to win her heart. Satoko Yokohama’s second feature film is impossible to categorise: a bizarre hybrid between comedy and offbeat surrealism, which takes a turn into existential reveries that bend all logic with bold originality.

To book a free place at the screening via Eventbrite, please click here

Friday, 1 December | Courthouse Cinema, London | 6:30PM

Ending Note: Death of a Japanese Salaryman   

Synopsis: Tomoaki Sunada was a typical salary man who worked for more than 40 years in the same company. After retiring, at 67 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live. Typical of his character, he created a list of things to do such as playing with his grandchildren and visiting friends and arranging his own funeral. His daughter captured it all on film as she helped him make an “ending note”, which is a memorandum for the family of the deceased, like a testament without legal force.

To book a free place at the screening via Eventbrite, please click here

Saturday, 2 December | Rich Mix, London | 12:00PM

Wild Berries    


Synopsis: The Akechi family is just an ordinary family, spending simple but peaceful days – kind mother, hardworking father, a daughter with a sense of justice and silly but cheerful grandfather. One day, the roving son returns home after ten years of silence, and that leads to unveil the hidden truth behind Akechi family. Little by little, the family bonds loosen…

To book a free place at the screening via Eventbrite, please click here


Following the screenings, this panel discussion will examine the proliferation of Japanese female filmmakers in the last fifteen years. In a discussion chaired by East Asia selection lead film programmer for the BFI London Film Festival, Kate Taylor, featuring Japanese cinema expert, writer and curator Jasper Sharp; film researcher Alejandra Armendáriz Hernández, and season curator Irene Silvera, the panel will bringing insight into the work of the directors as well as provide a retrospective focus on the part women have played throughout the history of the Japanese film industry. In doing so, framing debate on the current position of women behind the scenes both in Japan and across the globe.

To book your free place via Eventbrite, please click here

More information on the season can be found here.


I'm a long-time anime and Japanese film and culture fan who has lived in the country and is studying Japanese in an effort to become fluent. I write about films, anime, and work on various things.

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