El próximo 26 de octubre comienza en Kioto, Japón, una nueva edición del Kyoto Historia International Film Festival, evento que pone en valor el cine de época, creando diferentes programas no solo de cine histórico actual, sino de intensa recuperación de clásicos del cine japonés -quizás su apartado más interesante-. Desde que descubrí su existencia este festival se ha convertido en esa meca a la que debería acudir al menos una vez en la vida, dada mi pasión por el cine clásico japonés y las maravillas que llegan a recuperar de los archivos de la Toei -y no solo de la Toei-. Pero mientras tanto solo podemos hacernos eco de su programación, que este año pone el foco en el cine de animación recuperando autenticas maravillas, además de diferentes producciones en sus espacios temáticos. A continuación repasamos algunas de las más destacadas.

Especial Kyoto Animation

Un programa estructurado en tres partes para poner en valor la animación realizada en Kyoto: los pasos del grupo de Kenzo Masaoka en los primeros días del anime, los directores de Toei Studios Kyoto que causaron sensación durante el crecimiento de la posguerra y las producciones de Kyoto Animation aclamadas por el público.

Parte 1 – Kyoto Animation works

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Japón, 2009
General director: Tatuya Ishihara
Director: Yasuhiro Takemoto
Cast: Aya Hirano,Tomokazu Sugita、Minori Chihara

The film follows the television anime series that started in 2006. Superb proficiency, even in line with the television series, in portraying time travel and parallel worlds, both without relying on special effects but through thorough planning and direction. The cinematic approach is outstanding, contrasting the dynamic and macro references of time, and the internal gentle and micro references of the confusion and desires that sprout in Yuki Nagato, who in the television series was positioned as a function-motivated inorganic character as an interface of the Data Integration Thought Entity.

Japón, 2011
Director: Naoko Yamada
Cast: Aki Toyosaki, Yoko Hikasa, Satomi Sato

Rock music club with a total of five members, what will the four graduating members leave behind for the last remaining girl? An excellent coming-of-age film incorporating restless episodes from their graduation trip to London. The loose ordinary days of the rock music club girls – nothing drastic but always emotional, full of worries, conflicting and exchanging thoughts with each other – never ending improvement. Accurately depicts the teenager’s heart by carefully portraying emotions that arise in the girls’ everyday life.

Tamako Love Story
Japón, 2014
Director: Naoko Yamada
Cast: Aya Suzaki, Atsushi Tamaru, Yuki Kaneko

Tamako, the daughter of a mochi store is a third-year in high school. Education, employment and love – her mind slowly begins to waver. A complete original of Kyoto Animation by the creators of “Keion!”. The film carefully depicts the gradually changing life of a girl, weighing down under the influence of gravity, and her moving emotions and sensitivities. Awkward episodes revolving around a first love are added as the finishing touches of ups and downs for a coming-of-age masterpiece.

Sound! Euphonium the Movie -Welcome to Kitauji High School Concert Band-
Japón, 2016
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Cast: Tomoyo Kurosawa, Ayaka Asai, Moe Toyota

The protagonist enters wind ensemble club after being asked by her friend. She steps into the world of wind music without much thought, longing to be like her sister who plays the euphonium. Exposed to the powerful emotions of friends and members, her image towards the euphonium gradually shows a change. Friendship and rivalry, selfish hopes and despair, respect and doubt towards seniors, battle between talent and effort, accepting loss – the girls find an irreplaceable something through their serious struggles. Many challenges to animation such as hand-drawn instruments vibrating, and synchronisation between finger movement and sound appear on the film.

Parte 2 – Los primeros días del anime

Entotsuya Perô
Japón, 1930
Director: Yoshitsugu Tanaka

Pero leads his country to victory with an egg that produces soldiers. He triumphantly returns home, only to see debris, corpses and new gravestones from the window on his way. An independent silhouette animation of roughly 20 thousand frames by Doeisha, an amateur group of ten students mainly from Doshisha University. They managed an independent screening organisation named “Kodomo Cinema” to screen the film in other areas. Doeisha was later acquired by JO Studio in Uzumasa to produce commercial animation films.

Kumo to chûrippu
Japón, 1943
Director: Kenzo Masaoka

Kenzo Masaoka, known as the father of Japanese animation, founded the Masaoka Film Research Lab to create anime in Kitano Shiyakawa after training in film at Makino Film Productions and Nikkatsu Uzumasa. This musical-style animation was the first ever full cel-animation in Japan, spanning over 16 minutes and 20 thousand frames. The smooth and dynamic movement of the charming characters are a monument to Japanese anime. He later founded Nihon Douga with Sanae Yamamoto, which was then renamed Toei Douga (now Toei Animation).

Momotarô: Umi no shinpei
Japón, 1945
Director: Mitsuyo Seo

The paratrooper dog, monkey and pheasant head towards Onigashima under the command of General Momotaro. Japan’s first ever feature-length animation film by Mitsuyo Seo, who also directed and animated the “Norakuro” series (1935-) and learnt under Kenzo Masaoka. Not only is the direction and animation immaculate, but remembering that this was created during war, the special effects and techniques, the use of multiplane shooting and transmitted light, are also remarkable.

Parte 3 – Como la cultura del cine de época cambio el anime japonés

The White Snake Enchantress
Japón, 1958
Director: Taiji Yabushita
Cast: Hisaya Morishige, Mariko Miyagi

The first feature-length colour animation film in Japan. Based on the Chinese folktale depicting an unrequited love between a boy and spirit of a white snake; it aims for the imagination and detailed expression of animation. The digitally revived colours are vivid. The primary members of Toei Douga become the core of Japanese animation. The audience, and creators too, were enchanted by the movement of animals and street performers, not just the story. A memorial film with youthfulness brimming in the pencil lines.

The Adventure of The Little Samurai
Japón, 1959
Director: Taiji Yabushita
Cast: Teruo Miyazaki, Hiroko Sakuramachi, Katuo Nakamura

Awarded the Golden Lion of San Marco (Grand Prize) at the Venice International Film Festival Children’s Film category. There is a strong will to tell a story through animation here. The lines depicting the course of Sasuke, living with animals in the forest, and his growth from training ninjutsu, to defeating Princess Yasha are full of life. The sparks of the young animators’ imagination are evident in the great salamander, slime, Princess Yasha portrayed as a skull, and comical characters. Another must-see point is that Jidaigeki staff were appointed to choreograph the sword action and dance, adopting movements from Jidaigeki.

Doggie March
Japón, 1963
Director: Daisaku Shirakawa
Cast: Ayako Hori, Hideo Kinoshita, Kou Nishimura

The film presents a simple story using the movement and characterisation specific to anime. The puppy Rock seeks revenge, with fellow dogs of the town, on Killer the tiger who murdered Rock’s mother who protected the forest. Original scenario by Osamu Tezuka. The personified mole and shrinking tail of the fox are expressions unique to anime. Dogs and birds exchanging information, and the sewage being networked under the manhole excite the imagination of children.

The Little Mermaid
Japón, 1975
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Cast: Fumie Kashiyama, Taro Shigaki, Mariko Miyagi

Princess Marina, the youngest daughter of mermaids is an active girl with a beautiful voice. One night, she sees the prince on a glamorous boat, and falls in love. She exchanges her beautiful voice for a potion from the witch to turn human, and heads for the shore. A creation by Tomoharu Katsumata, assistant director to Masahiro Makino at Toei Studios Kyoto, who then moved to Toei Douga to direct the television anime “Devilman” and “Mazinger Z”. The film was animated by Reiko Okuyama. A full out effort by Toei Douga, with European locations for the 100th year commemoration for Andersen and as a sponsor film for the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa.

Historica Focus – Toei Douga Festival

Programa de anime clásico de época que comparte producciones con el especial principal del festival, a The White Snake Enchantress, The Adventure of The Little Samurai y Doggie March se añaden las siguientes producciones.

Little Norse Prince Valiant
Japón, 1968
Director: Isao Takahata
Cast: Hisako Okata, Mikijiro Hira, Etsuko Ichihara

The story is outstandingly extensive. The number of characters, the detail put into them and how they are connected, all exceed “the anime film”. Horus a young boy who tries to save his village from being dominated by the devil, and Hilda a young girl takes advantage of the contradicting villagers. Horus ends up being banished from the village, but… During production, first-time director Isao Takahata encourages his animators to take initiative, Hayao Miyazaki who was then an in-between artist took part in story-making. The heroine Hilda defines anime history with her complex personality.

Puss’n Boots
Japón, 1969
Director: Kimiro Yabuki
Cast: Susumu Ishikawa, Toshiko Fujita

Save Princess Rosa from the villain Lucifer! Pero, running away from assassins, heads towards the castle with Pierre who was kicked out by his malicious brothers. A masterpiece with an excellent story, action and characters. Songs, optimistic hero, clumsy villain; the assassin trio, the mouse family of thieves and Lucifer are also classic characters. The final chase-up at Lucifer’s castle with the tower, draw-bridge, stairs and cogwheel link to the castle of Cagliostro.

Historica Focus – Lone Wolf and Cub Festival

4 de las 6 adaptaciones cinematográficas de la obra de Kazuo Koike, protagonizadas por Tomisaburo Wakayama y dirigidas por Kenji Misumi.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Japón, 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Yunosuke Ito

Ogami Itto is hired by the Awa-han to stop Yagyu’s plans of hindering the indigo dye business. Under Yagyu Retsudo’s orders, the Akashi Yagyu (Kayo Matsuo) and female assassins fight off killers from Edo. Itto and Daigoro escape from Akashi Yagyu’s bizzare attacks on their journey. Echigo Lion, daikon-girl, human clamming at the shore with the boat burned down – a startling film made of only action scene ideas, but each and every one is fascinating.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
Japón, 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo

Ogami Itto is hired by the Awa-han to stop Yagyu’s plans of hindering the indigo dye business. Under Yagyu Retsudo’s orders, the Akashi Yagyu (Kayo Matsuo) and female assassins fight off killers from Edo. Itto and Daigoro escape from Akashi Yagyu’s bizzare attacks on their journey. Echigo Lion, daikon-girl, human clamming at the shore with the boat burned down – a startling film made of only action scene ideas, but each and every one is fascinating.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to hades
Japón, 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Yuko Hama, Go Kato

Itto undergoes the “buri-buri” (lit. angry) torture by Torizo (Yuko Hama) for saving a girl who was sold to prostitution. Itto, hired to kill the Lord who deceived Torizo’s father that used to be an official, heads towards the riverside with Daigoro as bait, where hundreds of arms await him. Itto’ greatest weakpoint is Daigoro, as planned by original artist Kazuo Oike; at the moment of desperation, Daigoro becomes the greatest weapon – a breath-taking catharsis.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
Japón, 1973
Director: Kenji Misumi
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Michiyo Yasuda

The high priest (Hideji Ootaki) who exposed Kuroda-han’s secret, was part of the Kurokuwa-clan living under the order of Yagyu. Itto goes after the priest’s troop that is carrying a secret letter to Edo. He tears through the bottom of the boat crossing the river, and shows off his sword skills underwater. Fifth of the series with effort put into balancing the story and action. Daigoro’s courage after being captivated mistaken for a pickpocket, brings a whole new perspective.

Historica World

La sección internacional del Historica contiene algunas producciones interesantes procedentes de Asia.

Mystery of the Night
Filipinas, 2019
Director: Adolfo Alix Jr.
Cast: Solenn Heussaff, Benjamin Alves, Gina Alajar

1900, colonial Philippines under the oppression of Spanish tyranny. A pregnant woman accused of insanity is left in the woods by men under a priest’s order. The new born girl is raised by the spirits of the woods, and one day falls in love with a man from the town. However, the man had a family. Betrayed, the girl leaves the woods, seeking revenge in deep despair. The bizarreness of the woman in the woods contrasted with the high-class man living in town. One of the most prolific directors of modern Filipino film, appraised by many international film festivals including Cannes and Toronto depicts powerfully the history of the country through a cruel allegory of a man and woman.

India, 2018
Director: Rahi Anil Barve・Adesh Prasad
Cast: Sohum Shah, Harish Khanna, Ronjini Chakraborty

Colonial India in the 19th century. Greedy Vinayak who lives in the poor village Tumbbad succeeds in finding out the whereabouts of a cursed treasure from his great-grandmother who has been chained up for centuries. Vinayak grows up to hold his own family, but becomes possessed by wealth, and gradually escalates. What is the greatest secret that he finally finds out? A highly entertaining film unrestricted by genre with strange shapes and settings incorporating Indian mythology and folktales.

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