University of Pittsburgh
September 16, 2004

Film Series Sequel Is As Diverse As It Is Original

Part II of Pitt's 2004 Japanese Film Series gets underway Sept. 24 with Pittsburgh premiere of Hotel Hibiscus
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Pitt's 2004 Japanese Film Series last spring delivered a film for most every cinematic taste: action, romance, and comedy. The conclusion of the series, taking place Sept. 24, Oct. 1, and Oct. 8, in Carnegie Mellon University's McConomy Auditorium, University Center, promises audiences the same variety. Whether one desires an introduction to the customs and culture of Okinawa or a glimpse into the life of a kabuki stuntman turned woodblock artist, audiences will find the fulfillment of these desires at Pitt's 2004 Japanese Film Series—Part II. The free public screenings, which include the Pittsburgh premieres of Hotel Hibiscus

Sept. 24 and Sharaku Oct. 8, begin at 7 p.m.

The conclusion of the 2004 Japanese Film Series includes:

Hotel Hibiscus (2002), directed by Yuji Nakae and starring Honami Kurashita, Kikiko Yo, Seijin Noborikawa, and Masao Teruya, will be shown Sept. 24. This heartwarming Okinawan film depicts the adventures of an energetic nine-year-old girl, Mieko, whose "multicultural" family runs Hotel Hibiscus, a small bed and breakfast in Okinawa. The film is 92 minutes long and has English subtitles.

Twilight Samurai (2003), an Oscar nominee for that year's Best Foreign Language Film, will be shown Oct. 1. The film was directed by Yoji Yamada and stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Min Tanaka, and Tetsuro Tamba. Lasting 130 minutes, the film tells the story of Iguchi Seibei, a samurai at the bottom of his clan's status tree, who, after the death of his wife, is focused on caring for his two daughters and ailing mother. During a power struggle within his clan, Seibei is forced to challenge the clan's top one-handed swordsman. This film also has English subtitles.

The series concludes with the Pittsburgh premiere of Sharaku (1995), a film about an injured kabuki stuntman whose talents as a woodblock artist are discovered while he is traveling with a company of actors. Set in the 16th century, the film depicts an artist's struggle against power and money. Directed by Masahiro Shinoda, the film stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Shima Iwashita, Tomijuro Nakamura, and Yasosuke Bando. It lasts 116 minutes and has English subtitles.

The 2004 Japanese Film Series is being organized by Pitt's Asian Studies Center (ASC) within the University Center for International Studies, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Modern Languages and Modern Languages Student Advisory Council. Funding for the series has been provided by ASC, with a National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Toshiba International Foundation, and Pitt's Japan Iron and Steel Federation/Mitsubishi Endowment.