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Eiga-sai film festival marks 100 years of Czech-Japanese formal relations

The 13th edition of the Eiga-sai has Japanese films that embrace the motto “Never give up!”

The Eiga-sai Film Festival will be held in January 20–26 to kick off year of cultural events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Czech-Japanese relations and also highlight the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The 13th edition of the festival offers not only contemporary feature films and documentaries but also cultural events and exhibitions. Films will be shown with Czech and English subtitles.

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The main motto of this year’s festival is inspired by the Czech Olympic runner Emil Zatopek’s creed “Never give up!” (Když nemůžeš, tak přidej!), selected in the context of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The motto applies to many of the films, in which characters strive to show their best in the face of difficulties.

The festival opens with It’s A Beautiful Life (Barvy života), a 2012 film about three elderly women in a rural area who start a food garnish business in an effort to attract people back to live in the area. It is based on a true story.

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The romantic drama The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (Noční obloha je vždy nejmodřejší) charts the relationship of a construction worker and a waitress. It is based on a book of poetry by Tahi Saihate.

The documentary Bon Uta: A Song From Home (Bon uta: píseň domova) shows residents who cannot return to their homes in the Fukushima area. They go to Hawaii to stage their traditional festival of song and dance.

A middle-aged man’s happy family life is thrown into turmoil when his wife starts to expect a baby in Dear Etranger (Máme dceru). This sets off a some domestic drama with his step-daughters. It won a special prize of the jury at the Montreal Film Festival.

Different vignettes with previously unknown actors comprise Three Stories of Love (Milenci), written and directed by Ryōsuke Hashiguchi. It won several awards at the 37th Yokohama Film Festival.

A woman with cancer tries to reconnect with her husband and daughter in Her Love Boils Bathwater (Láska na bodu varu). The film was submitted for Oscar consideration, but was not nominated.

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A popular morning show from the 1980s has been given feature film treatment in 2013’s Oshin (Ošin). The story takes place in the early 1900s, with a young girl from a poor family as the focus.

On the January 25 cultural day, visitors can visit free family-oriented workshops on calligraphy, origami, and the shogi game and be able to taste Japanese cuisine, cookies and tea. There will also be kyogen theatrical comedy, taiko drums and Japanese dance. On January 26 there will be a performance by the Okinawan drummers and dancers.

Documentary clips on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a children’s animated film called Rudolph and Gottalot and a documentary on storytelling called His Master’s Voice will also be shown.

An exhibition in Lucerna Cafe will show Czechoslovak gymnast Věra Čáslavská,who participated in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and later sacrificed her career by protesting against the USSR at the 1968 Olympics. There are also photos of dried flowers.

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For more information, visit the festival website or Facebook page.

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