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HIROSHIMA

Festival brings old films out of storage

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

Every year, nearly 100 of the films produced in Japan are said to “go into storage.”

Such films — even those featuring big-name actors — are never screened at theaters, or they disappear after a very short run with no budget prepared by producers for turning them into DVDs.

The annual Okuradashi Film Festival, which takes place this weekend in four venues in the cities of Onomichi and Fukuyama in Hiroshima Prefecture, was started in 2011 to shine the spotlight on those little-known films. The word okuradashi means “taking out of storage.”

Fifteen works are included in this year’s program, nine of which have been selected for the “competition” category. A panel of judges will choose one winner and that film will then be officially screened again at a later date in Hiroshima and Tokyo. The six films not in the competition category have been screened before, but as limited releases.

Two notable films were made around 30 years ago and have never been screened in public theaters. One of these is “Kuchita Teoshiguruma” (“Rotten Wheelbarrow”), a 1984 film that tackles the themes of dementia and euthanasia, and features actors Rentaro Mikuni and Yoko Nagayama.

Another film worth checking out is the feature-length film titled “Life,” which was made in 2007 and features the now-famous Go Ayano (“Crows Zero 2,” “Surely Someday”) in his first leading role.

The Okuradashi Film Festival runs Sept. 21-23 at venues in Onomichi and Fukuyama, Hiroshima Pref. A day pass costs ¥1,500 and a ticket for a single screening costs ¥700. For more information, visit www.okuradashi.com.