JFTFP24: The Zen Diary


JFTFP24: The Zen Diary

Thursday 28th March 2024

Tickets £5 / £4 concessions

Dir. NAKAE Yuji, Japan, 2022, 111 mins. Cast. SAWADA Kenji, MATSU Takako, NARAOKA Tomoko, DAN Fumi. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Age guidance: PG

Tsutomu (SAWADA Kenji) is a writer who lives in a secluded mountain cabin in Nagano. He shares the space with his dog and the unburied ashes of his wife Yaeko, who passed away thirteen years ago, and spends his time harvesting vegetables, then cooking with them using a method he learned as a young Buddhist monk. Though largely solitary, he receives occasional company from his editor and romantic interest Machiko (MATSU Takako), and from his rather eccentric mother-in-law, Chie (NARAOKA Tomoko).

When Tsutomu one day finds Chie dead in her home, he is forced to finally consider his feelings on death. He works to arrange Chie’s funeral proceedings, and once the funeral has concluded, invites Machiko to live with him, an offer to which she gives serious thought.

Based on an essay on food and cooking by leading Japanese author MIZUKAMI Tsutomu, The Zen Diary eschews drama in favour of its focus on zen cuisine and seasonal scenery, offering audiences a glimpse into the joys of a slow, simple life seen through the lenses of bonds, memory, and love.

Dates & Times

 Thursday 28th Mar 2024  6:00pm
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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024

Unforgettable: Memories, Times and Reflections in Japanese Cinema

YOKO – Thursday 7 March, 8.30pm
Thousand and One Nights – Thursday 14 March, 5.45pm
From the End of the World – Thursday 21 March, 8.15pm
The Zen Diary – Thursday 28 March, 6pm

Experience Japan Through Cinema
The UK’s largest festival of Japanese cinema, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme (JFTFP24), returns with its biggest showcase ever!

Memories play a powerful role in the mind. Shaped fluidly by individuals or time, they have been a source of inspiration for many filmmakers, fuelling their creativity to craft colourful stories. The JFTFP24 delves into Japanese cinema to explore how memories are employed in the cinematic voices of Japanese filmmakers, from films where memories are a focal point to works where they play a subliminal role in driving or affecting people’s minds and behaviour. With an incredibly diverse range of films all based on memories, time, and reflections, this year’s programme is set to provide UK audiences with memorable stories and unforgettable moments.

Organised by: The Japan Foundation
Major Supporter: The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Sponsor in Kind: SUQQU, Athletia, Clearspring, Pentel

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