2013 Hiroshima Peace Film Festival: Opening Program

no 10 blues/goodbye saigonThe biennial Hiroshima Peace Film Festival gets underway on Friday. The focus is not only on issues related to Hiroshima, but throughout Japan and beyond. Plus, two of the three films in the opening program are in English or have subtitles.

Show up and show that there is a demand in Hiroshima for media and culture with foreign language support.

The Hiroshima Peace Film Festival is always an opportunity to see some rarely seen films and they invite some excellent guests to give talks or participate in panel discussions. Unfortunately, in the past, much of the material has been difficult to access for the nihongo-challenged. This year, however, the organizers seem to be making an extra effort to make the festival more “international friendly”. In particular, the opening program on Friday, December 6 has one film in English and another with English subtitles. The third is in an unsubtitled Japanese film, but is likely to be of interest to many people who have lived in Hiroshima for a while.

It would be great to show the organizers that there is a demand in Hiroshima for media and culture with foreign language support, so if you are interested, please try and make it to Senda-machi for one or more of the films on Friday night.

Admission to the first film is free, but there is a charge of ¥1000 per film for the second two. Read more about the Hiroshima Peace Film Festival here.


The festival begins with an international flavor with a screening of Poetry of Resilience

Poetry of Resilience is a 40-minute documentary by Academy Award®-nominated director Katja Esson about six poets who survived some of the worst political atrocities of the 20th century: Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, the Iranian Revolution. By summoning the creative voice of poetry to tell stories of survival and witness, each reclaims humanity and dignity in the wake of some of history’s most dehumanizing circumstances. With grace and humor, the film explores language as an internal means of survival—for the poet and the readers of poems.

Poetry of Resilience (2011, 53min)

The second film returns us to the host city. Hiroshima 1966 is set, as the title suggests, in Hiroshima in the middle of it’s post-war recovery period. It’s a time when Hiroshima’s identity as a “City of Peace” is emerging and the war in Vietnam looms large.

hiroshima 1966

Director Kousei Shirai was Chief Assistant Director on Alain Renais’ 1959 Hiroshima, Mon amour. The film is in Japanese without subtitles, but I hear that it provides a fantastic look at the Hiroshima of almost 50 years ago.

Hiroshima 1966 (1966, 77min)

  • Japanese only
  • Director & Screenplay: Kousei Shirai
  • Cast: Yuko Mochizuku, Go Kato, Noriko Matsumoto, Michie Terada
  • Starts: 18:15
  • Admission: ¥1000 per film

The final film on opening night is a real cinematic curiosity. Shot on location in the midst of Vietnam War, Number 10 Blues/Goodbye Saigon is a story of love and violence in Saigon 1975 towards the end of the Vietnam War. Production was shelved before completion and it wasn’t released until last year after being rediscovered in the vaults of Japan’s National Film Center.

This was director Norio Osada’s – who worked as a scriptwriter with Fukasaku Kinji (the man behind the Yakuza Papers series of films that forever associated Hiroshima dialect with the criminal underworld) in the 1970s and 1980s- feature film debut. Shot all over Vietnam under real combat conditions between December 1974 and April 1975, it was always meant to be a B-movie, but the story of its production alone makes it worth the ¥1000 entrance fee. And it has English subtitles!

Number 10 Blues/Goodbye Saigon (2013, 97min)

  • Japanese with English Subtitles
  • Starts: 19:50
  • Admission: ¥1000 each film

Venue information

Higashi-Senda campus, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima City (not Saijo in Higashi-hiroshima!)

Kyoyo Kougi shitsu (Joint-use Lecture Room) on the ground floor (Lecture Room on the North-west corner; located on the opposite end of Library in the main building)

Access: http://www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/en/top/access/senda/
Campus Map: http://www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/add_html/access/en/senda.html


Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.