Now Showing Aug 18

How to Train Your Dragon, Le Grande Bleu and other listings

Now Showing Aug 18

This summer, one form of entertainment which is grabbing the attention of children and adults alike is dinosaurs; among other exhibition, the ‘Kyoryuten’ dinosaur exhibition finished its run at Mitsukoshi’s main store in Nihonbashi. From three and a half billion year-old primal life forms to giant mammals like the mastodon, rare exhibits of prehistoric creatures and even a lifelike, moving model of a triceratops were all on display. Also, instead of their usual summer Sky Aquarium, this year the Mori Arts Centre Gallery (on the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hill’s Mori Tower) is holding ‘The Dawn of the Dinosaurs – Dinosaur Museum in the Sky’. The combination of sky-high views of Tokyo and displays of dinosaur skeletons is an interesting one, and when you need a rest, you can stop off at the dinosaur bar. On the big screen another kind of dinosaur – a dragon – in fact, is catching the eye of movie-goers. It’s in the film ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, a fantasy adventure about the friendship that springs up when ‘boy meets dragon’ – and it’s brought to us by the same team that produced hits ‘Shrek’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda’.

This film is set far away across the sea on the Island of Berk, where a war between the Viking inhabitants and the dragons has been unfolding for many years. One day an apprentice Viking, called Hiccup, discovers a young dragon which he names Toothless. Toothless has been injured and can’t fly anymore. They are born enemies: a Viking and a dragon. Although they start off mutually wary of each other, before long the distance between them closes and a secret friendship develops.

The story is based on the children’s book by British author Cressida Cowell, and co-directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who created the Disney animated feature ‘Lilo & Stitch’. The dragons that have been created by the pair (who are said to be big fans of director Hayao Miyazaki) appeaar very dragon-like – they have horns on their heads, and rich colouring and textures give them a very cool look. In particular, there is great elegance in the way Toothless flies. The movement seems based more on mammals, like a panther or a cat, rather than a reptile. Actually, Toothless was modelled on a cat belonging to a member of the production staff, and perhaps that is why he can express things so charmingly, despite being a dragon.

How to Train Your Dragon

USA, 2010
Japanese title: Hikku to Dragon
Opened: Aug 7
Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Cast: Gerard Butler, America Fererra
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Japan

Le Grande Bleu Version Longue

A chance to catch a digitally re-mastered, even more vivid version of the 1988 film many people regard as the starting point for hit-maker Luc Besson. The performances from actors like Rosanna Arquette and Jean Reno are also worth a look.

France/Italy/USA, 1988
Japanese title: Grande Bleu Kanzenban Digital Restore Version
Opened: Aug 7
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno
Distributor: Kadokawa Pictures

No One Knows About Persian Cats

This film about young musicians marks the first time Iranian ‘Turtles Can Fly’ director Bahman Ghobadi has filmed in the big city of Tehran. In fact, it’s notable as being the first time he has made a film away from the Kurdish regions where he grew up.

Iran, 2009
Japanese title: Perusha Neko wo Daremo Shiranai
Opened: Aug 7
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Cast: Negar Shaghaghi, Ashkan Koshanejad
Distributor: Moviola


This biographical film documents the turbulent life of the artist Séraphine Louis, who rose to prominence in 20th century France. Séraphine is played by talented Belgian actress Yolande Moreau.

France/Belgium/Germany, 2008
Japanese title: Serafine no Niwa
Opened: Aug 7
Director: Martin Provost
Cast: Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur, Anne Bennet
Distributor: Alcine Terran

Nihon de Ichiban Nagai Natsu (The Longest Summer in Japan)

This film is based around round-table talks about the Second World War that took place between a group of people including politicians, government officials and former soldiers. Each person recounted their experience of the war from their own viewpoint.

Japan, 2010
Opened: Aug 7
Director: Hitoshi Kurauchi
Cast: Katsumi Kimura, Mansaku Ikeda, Modoriko Kimura, Takashi Yuasa, Ichiya Nakamura, Kenta Aoshima
Distributor: Amazon Laterna

By Misawo Kasuya
Translated by Virginia Okno
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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