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Six of the very best new Japanese films are coming to Warwick Arts Centre during February and March 2024 as part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024.

The UK’s largest festival of Japanese cinema, the JFTFP24 opens with the animated Lonely Castle in the Mirror (Saturday 3 - Sunday 4 February).

An adaption of Mizuki Tsujimura's best-selling novel of the same name, Lonely Castle in the Mirror is directed by Keiichi Hara. Bullied student Kokoro is transported into a mysterious castle in an acclaimed urban fairy tale that blends social commentary and magical realism.

Hand (Friday 9 - Sunday 11 February) is the first in a new series of films celebrating the 50th anniversary of an iconic film label established in the early 1970s. Having previously dated middle-aged men, 25-year-old office worker Sawako finds her feelings changing as she begins to date a co-worker closer to her own age.

Set in the aftermath of World War II, Shadow of Fire (Saturday 17 - Sunday 18 February) explores human principles under extreme conditions as a young orphan and destitute woman do what they can to survive in a ruined Tokyo.

Former documentary filmmaker Nao Kubota compellingly contrasts the lives of two women left behind in Thousand and One Nights (Friday 23 - Sunday 25 February), while The Zen Diary (Friday 1 - Sunday 3 March) finds a former monk (and avid cook) confronting love and loss (as well as 'zen cuisine').

The programme concludes with Undercurrent (Saturday 9 - Sunday 10 March). Based on the classic '00s manga by Tetsuya Toyoda, a bathhouse owner hires a private detective to find her missing husband, only to reveal hidden truths.

The selected films are linked by the JFTFP24's central theme: Unforgettable - Memories, Times and Reflections in Japanese Cinema. Memories play a powerful role in the mind. Shaped fluidly by individuals or time, they have been a source of inspiration for many filmmakers, fuelling their creativity to craft colourful stories.

Delving into Japanese cinema, the JFTFP24 explores how memories are employed in the cinematic voices of the filmmakers, from films where memories are a focal point, to works where they play a subliminal role in driving or affecting people’s minds and behaviour. The result is a diverse range of films that provide UK audiences with memorable stories and unforgettable moments.

Alongside the JFTFP24 films, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, will also re-screen Studio Ghibli’s anime smash, The Boy and the Heron (Friday 2 - Thursday 8 February).

For more information on the films, and to book tickets, see: warwickartscentre.co.uk

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