» TOKYO FILMeX Competition

» Special Screenings

» Special Program (1) Filmmaker in Focus: KAWASHIMA Yuzo

» Special Program (2) Filmmaker in Focus: SOMAI Shinji

» Tonda Couple / Tonda Kappuru
» Sailor Suit and Machine Gun / Sera-fuku to Kikanju
» P. P. Rider / Shonben Raida
» The Catch / Gyoei no Mure
» Typhoon Club / Taifu Kurabu
» Love Hotel / Rabu Hoteru
» Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu / Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu
» Luminous Woman / Hikaru Onna
» Tokyo Heaven / Tokyo Joku Irasshaimase
» Moving / Ohikkoshi
» The Friends / Natsu no Niwa - The Friends
» Wait and See / Ah, Haru
» Kaza Hana / Kaza-Hana

» Special Program (3) Nicholas RAY 1911-2011

» Jury / Awards

» Entry Form / Regulations

» Talent Campus Tokyo

Special Program (2) Filmmaker in Focus: SOMAI Shinji

Presented by Somai Gumi, Shochiku and TOKYO FILMeX
with the cooperation of National Film Center, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

SOMAI Shinji Biography

Born in 1948 in Morioka City, Iwate. Dropped out of Chuo University's Faculty of Literture in 1972, and joined Nikkatsu Studio as an assistant director on a contract basis. Later went freelance, and worked as an assistant director to filmmakers such as HASEGAWA Kazuhiko and TERAYAMA Shuji. Made his directorial debut with "Tonda Couple" in 1980. His second effort "Sailor Suit and Machine Gun" (81) was a huge hit and one of the year's leading Japanese films. These two works were both commercial films starring YAKUSHIMARU Hiroko, but his unique style characterized by bold camerawork with heavy use of long takes and exacting direction of his actors caused a sensation among cinephiles. Participated in the establishment of Directors Company in 1982 at the request of HASEGAWA Kazuhiko. Subsequently directed such celebrated films such as "The Catch" (83), "P.P. Rider" (85) and "Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu" (85). His sole Nikkatsu Roman Porno softcore erotic film "Love Hotel" (85) was also greeted with high acclaim. That same year, his "Typhoon Club" won the Young Cinema Grand Prize at the first Tokyo International Film Festival, and was lauded by juror Bernardo BERTOLUCCI. It was also released in other countries including France and the United States, generating overseas recognition of SOMAI's talents. In 1993, his "Moving" was screened in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section. "Wait and See" (1998) was selected for the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival, and won the FIPRESCI Award. It was also ranked first in Kinema Junpo magazine's best ten list for that year. In 2001, his "Kaza Hana" was screened in the Berlin International Film Festival's Forum section. Later that year he began preparations for his next film, but died suddenly of lung cancer on September 9th at the age of 53. SOMAI's 13 works continue to provide inspiration to many filmmakers.

Films by SOMAI Shinji

Tonda Couple / Tonda Kappuru

Tonda Couple / Tonda Kappuru
1980 / 121 min.
©1980 TOHO

Based on YANAGISAWA Kimio's popular manga, this tale of a high school boy and girl who end up sharing a house after a real estate agent's mistake perfectly evokes the pain and joy of adolescence. SOMAI's directorial debut.

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun / Sera-fuku to Kikanju

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun / Sera-fuku to Kikanju
1981 / 112 min.
©1981 角川映画

A turn of fate sees a high school girl become a yakuza boss in this phenomenal hit film, noted for its unique directorial style that expands the boundaries of so-called "idol films."

P. P. Rider / Shonben Raida

P. P. Rider / Shonben Raida
1983 / 118 min.
©1983 キティフィルム

Two boys and a girl attempt to rescue the class bully after he is kidnapped. A miraculous road movie in which the children's hesitation and dynamism captured in long takes utilizing mobile camerawork leave an indelible impression.

The Catch / Gyoei no Mure

The Catch / Gyoei no Mure
*English Subtitle
1983 / 140 min.
©1983 Shochiku

A robust drama set on the Shimokita Peninsula portraying the love-hate relationship of a lifelong tuna fisherman, his daughter, and her boyfriend who aspires to be a fisherman. The play-acted sparks flying among the actors will overwhelm the viewer.

Typhoon Club / Taifu Kurabu

Typhoon Club / Taifu Kurabu
1985 / 115 min.

A masterpiece which overlaps the distorted emergence of teenagers' unfocused anxiety and desires with the arrival of a typhoon. A junior high school and busy streets battered by violent winds at night are portrayed as the scenes of a rite of passage.

Love Hotel / Rabu Hoteru

Love Hotel / Rabu Hoteru
1985 / 88 min.
©1985 Nikkatsu

Love story depicting the complicated lives of a man and a woman who have both hit rock bottom. The first "Roman Porno" work by SOMAI after serving as assistant director at Nikkatsu.

Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu / Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu

Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu / Yuki no Dansho - Jonetsu
1985 / 100 min.
©1985 TOHO

A depiction of an orphaned girl's journey to adolescence. Although released as an "idol film," an extraordinary tension fills the screen during its numerous long takes. Its stunning opening combines several episodes in a single take.

Luminous Woman / Hikaru Onna

Luminous Woman / Hikaru Onna
1987 / 118 min.
©1987 ヤングシネマ'85共同事業体/角川映画

An unconventional love story of a burly man who travels to Tokyo to find his fiancée, and a nightclub diva who has lost the ability to sing. The vivid contrast between its scenes shot in Hokkaido during winter and on studio sets is arresting.

Tokyo Heaven / Tokyo Joku Irasshaimase

Tokyo Heaven / Tokyo Joku Irasshaimase
1990 / 109 min.
©1990 Shochiku

An up-and-coming model falls victim to an unforeseen accident and is unable to accept her own demise. She deceives Death and returns to the real world, but.... The sight of a young girl relishing a brief life will leave an unforgettable impression.

Moving / Ohikkoshi

Moving / Ohikkoshi
*English Subtitle
1993 / 118 min.
©1993 讀賣テレビ

A highly accomplished masterwork capturing the moment when a young girl caught between her parents on the brink of divorce bids farewell to her inner child, one of SOMAI's most characteristic motifs. Screened in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section in 1993.

The Friends / Natsu no Niwa - The Friends

The Friends / Natsu no Niwa - The Friends
*English Subtitle
1994 / 113 min.
©1994 讀賣テレビ

Three boys begin spying on the home of an elderly man out of an interest in death, but they eventually develop a rapport, and come into contact with his life... A coming-of-age tale that takes place over the course of one summer.

Wait and See / Ah, Haru

Wait and See / Ah, Haru
*English Subtitle
1998 / 100 min.
©1998 トラム/松竹/衛星劇場

The deceased father of a man who has led the good life suddenly appears before him. A family drama depicting a man reexamining his life and his family amid the repercussions of controversy.

Kaza Hana / Kaza-Hana

Kaza Hana / Kaza-Hana
2001 / 116 min.

A road movie in which a sex worker, who has left her daughter behind in her hometown, ends up traveling through Hokkaido to see her with a young bureaucrat suspended from work over his alcohol-fueled misadventures. SOMAI's final film.

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