Berlin festival focuses on Okamoto pix

Sidebar to showcase nine films from late director

BERLIN — The Berlin Film Festival’s Forum sidebar will showcase nine pics by the late Japanese filmmaker Kihachi Okamoto.

A pioneer of new Japanese cinema, Okamoto, who died last year, won acclaim for his films about samurais, gangsters and modern war.

Lastingly influenced by his experiences in WWII, like many of his generation, Okamoto was fascinated with violence and conflict — themes that run through much of his cinematic output.

The Forum’s selection of nine films also unspooled in a retrospective at this year’s Tokyo Filmex Festival. Okamoto’s widow, Minako, who produced some of his films, will present the series in Berlin along with some of the director’s collaborators.

Screening in the Forum showcase are “Desperado Outpost” (1959), “The Last Gunfight” (1960), “Procurer of Hell” (1961), “The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman” (1963), “Sword of Doom” (1965), “The Emperor and a General” (1967), “Human Bullet” (1968), “Kill” (1968) and “Red Lion” (1969).

The program is supported by the National Film Center Tokyo, which has provided new, English-subtitled prints; the Japan Foundation; Tokyo Filmex; and the Deutsche Kinemathek.

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