Imported 35mm Print. Up-and-coming model Yu (Riho Makise) finds her career aspirations abruptly cut off after being run over in a car accident, waking up shortly afterwards in the sweet hereafter. Tricking a heavenly emissary to send her back to earth, Yu returns to a world where she cannot come into contact with those who know of her demise, which includes her lecherous producer who is attempting to cover up news of her death. Befriending lowly salaryman Fumio (Kiichi Nakai), Yu is given a new lease on life as she finds happiness living—not as a campaign idol but as an ordinary teenage girl. Capturing Tokyo at the tail-end of Japan’s Bubble era, Somai’s charming pop fantasy is a lighthearted reflection on the transience of life and the simple pleasures of human connection and existence.
Dir. Shinji Somai, 1990, 109 min., 35mm, in Japanese with live English subtitles. With Riho Makise, Kiichi Nakai, Tsurube Shofukutei.
Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.
$15 Nonmembers / $10 Members
Part of the Globus Film Series: Rites of Passage
April 28—May 13, 2023
Rites of Passage showcases the work of Shinji Somai, an iconic Japanese director who remains largely unrecognized in the West. A pioneering filmmaker in the 1980s—a period sometimes described as Japanese cinema’s lost decade—Somai has had a persistent influence on filmmakers that followed, including Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Encompassing a mix of genre and stylistic conventions from independent art dramas to idol vehicles, Somai’s films are tied together by his potent depictions of the turbulence and volatility of youth growing up in an increasingly chaotic world.
Image: Tokyo Heaven © 1990 “Tokyo Joku Irasshaimase” Film Partners.
Rites of Passage: The Films of Shinji Somai is supported, in part, by a generous gift from The Globus Family.
Special Thanks to Bret Berg (AGFA); Ed McCarry (Cinema Guild); Miki Zeze (Kadokawa); Alo Joekalda (The National Film Archive of Japan); Mami Furukawa and Umi Yamamoto (Nikkatsu); Aya Takagawa (Shochiku).
Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Film programs are generously supported by ORIX Corporation USA, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and endowment support from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, David Toberisky, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Laurel Gonsalves, and David S. Howe. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.
- May 13, 2023
- 7:30 pm
- In-Person Event
- Reserved Tickets
- $15 Nonmembers
- $10 Members
- $12 Students/Seniors
- $10 Person with Disability