Roland Domenig's message
The three films of the selection have three features in common: they are debut feature films, their protagonists are children, and all three were released in the 1980s before the bubble economy took off. Another key-word is transition: the adolescent protagonists struggle on their road from childhood to adulthood, and so do the young filmmakers on their plunge into professional careers. Also, a re-evaluation of this transitional period in Japanese cinema at the junction of the final disintegration of the old studio system and the entrance of TV media networks into film production is long overdue.


Roland Domenig selection:

Dreamy Fifteen 翔んだカップル
Yûsuke comes from Kyûshû to Tôkyô to enroll in a prestigious high school. Due to a mistake by the realtor Yûsuke finds himself sharing the house of his uncle, who is away on business, with his classmate, the beautiful Kei. Fearing expulsion from school if their co-habitation were discovered, they eventually develop a romantic relationship and begin to enjoy the predicament they’ve got into. Based on a manga by Kimio Yanagisawa, Dreamy Fifteen was a big commercial success not least because of up-and-coming idol star Yakushimaru Hiroko in one of her first leading roles. (Roland Domenig)


Muddy River 泥の河
Kôhei Oguri’s highly acclaimed film debut, based on a novel by Teru Miyamoto, focuses on the friendship of two boys in Ôsaka in the 1950s. Although Nobuo is told by his parents not to go near the barge that is anchored close by his parents’ restaurant, Nobuo befriends Kiichi, who lives on the barge with his younger sister and his mother, who receives customers on the boat to earn their living. But is their friendship likely to last? With only five films to his credit so far Oguri has nonetheless left a distinctive mark on Japanese cinema. (Roland Domenig)

1950年代の大阪を舞台にふたりの少年の友情を描いた宮本輝の小説を原作とする、小栗康平の高く評価された監督デビュー作。信雄は自宅の食堂の近くに停泊した船に近づくことを両親から禁じられていたが、その船で妹と母と暮らす喜一と友だちになる。喜一の母は生活のためにその船で客をとっていた。彼らの友情は続くのだろうか? 小栗は今のところ五本の作品しか作っていないが、にもかかわらず日本映画に特別な痕跡を残している。(ローランド・ドメーニグ)

Gondola ゴンドラ
Solitary latch-key child Kagari encounters Ryô, a young window cleaner, who helps the girl bring her hurt pet bird to a vet. When the bird dies the following day, the girl runs away from home and Ryô takes her on a journey to his home village in Aomori. The sensitive depiction of the solitude and burgeoning friendship of the unequal protagonists makes Gondola a prime example of Japanese independent cinema of the 1980s. Although the film was invited to several international film festivals, director Chishô Itô could not continue his career in filmmaking. Gondola remains his only feature film. (Roland Domenig)