Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2010

© Bitter’s End

Two recent masterpieces of contemporary Korean cinema will be screened at Shin-Bungeiza in Ikebukuro (3F, 1-43-5 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku; www.shin-bungeiza.com), October 9-12. Breathless (2009; pictured), the directorial debut of Yang Ik-Joon, tells the story of a bitter and violent debt collector who changes his ways after forming an unlikely friendship with a female high school student. Crossing (2008) is set in North Korea but ignores politics to focus on the story of a man who crosses the border to China to buy medicine for his pregnant wife.

Fans of documentaries set in Japan can catch Koyamaru: Winter and Spring (2009) at Shibuya’s Eurospace (1-5 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku; www.eurospace.co.jp) from October 2. French director Jean-Michel Alberola spent two years in a tiny Tohoku village filming, in austere black and white, three farming families as they struggle with problems caused by old age, global trade and the area’s declining population.

Shibuya’s Image Forum (2-10-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku; www.imageforum.co.jp) pays tribute to late French director Louis Malle, October 9-31. In addition to seminal works like Au revoir, les enfants (1987) and Black Moon (1975), the retrospective unveils a digitally remastered print of Elevator to the Gallows (1958), a film noir Malle directed at the age of 26, featuring a groundbreaking soundtrack by Miles Davis.

Unless noted, Japanese films screen without English subtitles. Non-English-language films are shown with Japanese subtitles only