Film - BFI Anime Weekend

The BFI’s Anime Weekend returns to BFI Southbank from Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th June...

This much anticipated biennial event boasts an excellent selection of recent work, as well as previews of the best forthcoming anime releases. The weekend celebration will mark Manga Entertainment’s 25th birthday as well as pay tribute to Japanese science fiction writer Satoshi Ito, who died in 2009 aged 34.

The weekend event will mark the anniversary of the biggest names in anime, Manga Entertainment, with a screening of the legendary and eerily prophetic Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995) alongside the franchise’s latest edition Ghost in the Shell: the New Movie (Kazuya Nomura, 2015) returning to the tale in 2029. Ghost in the Shell’s director, Mamoru Oshii, recently directed his first English-language live-action film Garm Wars: The Last Druid (2014), which will also be screened during the weekend.

In honour of the late Satoshi Ito, there will be will be screenings of two adaptions of his sci-fi novels including a preview of Harmony (Michael Arias, Takashi Nakamura, 2015) and Empire of the Corpses (Ryôtarô Makihara, 2015), based on his third book and unfinished fourth book respectively. The screening of Harmony will be followed by a Q&A with director Michael Arias. Arias has had a varied filmmaking career, spanning the worlds of visual effects, computer graphics, and traditional animation; early in his career he worked as a camera assistant on the motion control stages of such effects-heavy films as The Abyss and Total Recall and he later created digital sequences for the likes of David Cronenberg, the Coen Brothers, and Spike Lee. In 2003 Arias produced the Matrix-inspired anthology film The Animatrix, and in 2006 made his feature directing debut with Tekkonkinkreet, which was shown at the 2007 Berlinale and was awarded Japan’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Two films which featured in the BFI London Film Festival last year will preview during the weekend celebration. The latest Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2014), will receive a special family preview. The Oscar-nominated film is an exquisitely hand-drawn treat, and if Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki are to be believed, it is the final Studio Ghibli for the foreseeable future. There will also be a preview of The Boy and the Beast (2015), the latest film from the great Mamoru Hosoda, director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children.


Preview: Harmony Hâmonî + Q&A with director Michael Arias - FRI 3 JUN 18:00 NFT1

Japan 2015. Dirs Michael Arias, Takashi Nakamura. With voices of Miyuki Sawashiro, Reina Ueda, Aya Suzaki. Xxmin. Format and cert tbc. EST. Courtesy of Anime Ltd
Medical advances have brought the world to a safe but oppressive ‘utopian’ state. The world balance finds itself threatened when a sudden crisis erupts. Directors Arias (Animatrix, Tekkonkinkreet) and Nakamura (A Tree of Palme) team up to bring Satoshi Ito’s sci-fi novel to the big screen – one of three Project Itoh works animated in 2015.


Empire of the Corpses Shisha no teikoku - FRI 3 JUN 20:50 NFT1

Japan 2015. Dir Ryôtarô Makihara. With the voices of Yoshimasa Hosoya, Ayumu Murase, Kana Hanazawa. 120min. Format and cert tbc. EST

Our second Project Ito adaptation in this anime weekend is set in a parallel 19th-century Europe where human corpses have been re-animated to provide military muscle and slave labour. In London, John Watson is set upon discovering the missing component – the soul – and restoring humanity to these creatures. Peppered with literary and historical characters throughout, Empire of the Corpses is an intriguing mix of genres.

Boy and the beast

Preview: The Boy and the Beast Bakemono no ko - SAT 4 JUN 15:30 NFT1

Japan 2015. Dir Mamoru Hosoda. With the voices of Kôji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Shôta Sometani. 119min. Digital. EST. PG (suitable for ages 8+). Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL

When Ren runs away he finds a secret entrance to a town of beasts and becomes apprentice to Kumatetsu, a self-centred creature who wants to become the new Beast Lord. This unlikely duo struggle at first, but when Ren leaves, Kumatetsu finds himself in danger and needs his young friend’s help. Hosoda’s follow up to Wolf Children proves he’s an anime force to be reckoned with.

Ghost in the shell

Ghost in the Shell Kôkaku Kidôtai Gosuto In Za Sheru - SAT 4 JUN 18:15 NFT1

Japan 1995. Dir Mamoru Oshii. With the voices of Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ôtsuka, Iemasa Kayumi. 82min. Video. EST. 15

We celebrate the 25th birthday of distributor Manga Entertainment with a screening of this anime classic, itself 21-years-old. Beautifully animated and disturbingly prophetic, Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic tale centring on Public Security Section 9’s hunt for supreme hacker The Puppet Master. This is a world where governments are dependent on computer controlled systems, and cyber terrorists pose the biggest threat to global stability.

Ghost in the Shell new movie

Ghost in the Shell: the New Movie Kôkaku Kidôtai – Shin Gekijôban -  SAT 4 JUN 20:45 NFT1

Japan 2015. Dir Kazuya Nomura. With the voices of Maaya Sakamoto, Ikkyuu Juku, Kenichiro Matsuda. 99min. Video. Cert tbc. EST

In this next edition of the popular franchise, it’s 2029 and Major Motoko Kusanagi returns with Public Security Section 9 to investigate a group of cyborg ex-soldiers who have taken a number of hostages. The assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister leads to a discovery that could implicate some significant adversaries and the movement of hundreds of billions of dollars.


Preview: When Marnie Was There Omoide No Mani - SUN 5 JUN 12:40 NFT1

Japan 2014. Dir Hiromasa Yonebayashi. With the voices of Hailee Steinfeld, Ava Acres, Geena Davis. 103min. Digital. U (suitable for ages 8+). Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL

Anna is a sickly girl who’s sent to live with relatives near the seaside, where she meets Marnie. Marnie claims to live in the mansion across the marsh, which at times seems dilapidated and at other times not... What’s Marnie’s secret? This Oscar®-nominated film from Studio Ghibli is an exquisitely hand-drawn treat.


Garm Wars: The Last Druid - SUN 5 JUN 17:20 NFT3

Japan-Canada 2014. Dir Mamoru Oshii. With Lance Henriksen, Kevin Durand, Melanie St-Pierre. 88min. Video. 12A

A clone war has overtaken the world with three tribes battling for air, land and technology. When one clone finds herself lost and on the run, she falls in with an unlikely group. This visually stunning live-action tale has a cyberpunk aesthetic and is the first English language outing for Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii.

Psycho pass

Psycho-Pass: The Movie Gekijôban Psycho-Pass - SUN 5 JUN 20:00 NFT3

Japan 2015. Dirs Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani. With the voices of Kana Hanazawa, Noriko Hidaka, Unshô Ishizuka. 113min. Format and cert tbc. EST

Inspector Tsunemori has an attempted terrorist attack to deal with and what’s more – her chief suspect is her former partner, who now lives within a dictatorship zone with some very dangerous people. This anime action-adventure will please fans of the TV franchise but is also self-contained: a plus for newcomers to the Psycho-Pass world.

Tickets go on sale 10th May from BFI.

Images and info - BFI
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