Previously at the ICA - Films
19 Nov 2011
Jonen is a monk undergoing a midlife crisis. Flipping out of control after being invited to espouse his vocation at a "Thinking About the Future" career guidance session at the local high school, his thoughts begin to turn towards his past as the wayward frontman of a riotous punk band, a past that tragically led him to drugs and the brink of suicide. Realising he can't live without music or a stage to perform on, he approaches Genshu, the head of his Buddhist temple, for advice. Against the wishes of his wife Tae, who is concerned for his mental health, and with fierce opposition from the local community, Jonen plans to give a live concert in the small rural town where he lives, in a final attempt at achieving absolution through noise. Based on an original novel of the same name by Sôkyû Genyû, a real-life Buddhist monk, this meditative yet ultimately heart-warming portrait of a lost soul attempting to reconcile his past with his present recalls such films as Yôjirô Takita's 2009 Academy Award-winner Departures and Nobuhiro Yamashita's exuberant Linda, Linda, Linda. Japanese film trivia fans might like to note that cinematographer Ryûtô Kondô shot four of the titles that played at the first Zipangu Fest in 2010 - Live Tape, Annyong Yumika, Pyuupiru 2001-2008 and NN891102 - while Yoshihide Ôtomo, whose soundtrack pays particular attention to depicting the uncontrollable noise inside Jonen, is a well-known experimental musician and composer and is featured in Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz' documentary on noise music We Don't Care About Music Anyway..., also playing at this year's festival.
Born Tokyo, 1980, after graduating from the French Literature department of Rikkyo University, Naoki Katô entered Tokyo University's Graduate School of Film and New Media in 2005 where he studied under filmmakers such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Takeshi Kitano. His graduation project, A Bao a Qu (2007), played at several international film festivals including Nippon Connection in Germany and Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea. Abraxus is his first commercial feature.
Dir. Naoki Kato, Japan 2010, 113mins, Subtitled
Cast: Suneohair, Rie Tomosaka, Manami Honjo, Kaoru Kobayashi