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FILM SERIES

LOVE LETTERS

Four Films by Shunji Iwai

DECEMBER 9—23, 2022

One of the most original talents to emerge from Japan in the ’90s, director Shunji Iwai tapped into the dreams and lives of Japan’s youth with his lyrical meditations on the hardships of young adulthood, capturing pivotal and unforgettable moments of life. Balancing popular entertainment with arthouse predilection, Iwai’s exhilarating takes on the youth film provided a much-needed voice for the younger generation, offering delicate portraits of adolescence, ripe with poetic yearnings of grief, friendship and young love. Iwai’s sumptuous visual style coupled with his affecting and underground appeal opened a world of new possibilities in the ’90s cinescape—marking him as one of the most accomplished and unique filmmakers of his generation.

One of the most original talents to emerge from Japan in the ’90s, director Shunji Iwai tapped into the dreams and lives of Japan’s youth with his lyrical meditations on the hardships of young adulthood, capturing pivotal and unforgettable moments of life. Balancing popular entertainment with arthouse predilection, Iwai’s exhilarating takes on the youth film provided a much-needed voice for the younger generation, offering delicate portraits of adolescence, ripe with poetic yearnings of grief, friendship and young love. Iwai’s sumptuous visual style coupled with his affecting and underground appeal opened a world of new possibilities in the ’90s cinescape—marking him as one of the most accomplished and unique filmmakers of his generation.

IN-PERSON SCREENINGS
Tickets: $15 / 10 members

Series Pass: Purchase Tickets for all films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket.

ONLINE SCREENINGS
Rentals
: $10

Members: 20% off via promo code
Not a member? Join today!

Members: 20% off via promo code
Not a member? Join today!

IN-PERSON SCREENINGS

DRAMA

Love Letter

Friday, December 9 at 7 pm

Two years after the death of her fiancé, a heartbroken woman begins a letter correspondence with her deceased lover’s classmate who has the same name as him.

1995. 117 min. Directed by Shunji Iwai.

Drama, Coming of Age

Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? / April Story

Saturday, December 10 at 5 pm

A pairing of two endearing films by Iwai: his award-winning made-for-TV breakthrough set over the course of a single summer’s day and a touching portrait of a young girl’s move to college.

1993 & 1998. 112 min total. Directed by Shunji Iwai.

Drama, Coming of Age

All About Lily Chou-Chou

Saturday, December 10 at 7:15 pm

Rare Archival 35mm Presentation. Iwai’s most enduring work focuses on the lives of teenage outcasts in the internet age.

2001. 146 min. Directed by Shunji Iwai.
ONLINE SCREENING

Films listed below stream online December 9—23 at film.japansociety.org.

Drama, Coming of Age

April Story

A young girl’s move to bustling Tokyo opens up a world of new possibilities and freedoms as she starts college.

1998. 67 min. Directed by Shunji Iwai. 

Image: LOVE LETTER © Fuji Television Network All Rights reserved.

Special Thanks to Akira Yamashita and Yunfei Nie (Pony Canyon), Asuka Hayashi (Rockwell Eyes), Mark Johnson (Harvard Film Archive), Maxwell Wolkin (Film Movement).

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and Shiseido Americas. 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.