For those of you who have always enjoyed the slightly exaggerated violence and dramatic deaths that often characterise Samurai movies and have been fascinated by the dynamics of master-disciple relationships that are at the heart of many such movies, here is a chance to explore Japanese films.

Three movies of Japanese filmmaker Yoji Yamada, best known for his Samurai stories, will be screened at the Japanese film festival that was inaugurated here on Monday.

Yoji Yamada has worked very closely with Akiro Kurosawa, one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema who crafted movies such as Rashomon and Seven Samurai, explained N. Krishnaswami, president, Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The festival, a retrospective of works by the 80-year-old filmmaker who continues to make movies, would help the audience know how films represent societies, he said. The film festival is being organised by the Consulate-General of Japan, the Madras Film Society and the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with the Japan Foundation.

The movies to be screened include Twilight Samurai, About Her Brother, A Class To Remember and The Yellow Handkerchief.

Though some critics say that Yamada was a studio director whose experimentation with inventiveness was limited, he seem to have used a lot of techniques from the repertoire that already existed, said Nirmala Lakshman, director, Kasturi & Sons, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function. It is rare that the masterpieces of Yoji Yamada are screened outside Japan and it is an excellent opportunity for film enthusiasts to experience the work of art and cinematic techniques in his movies, she said.

The festival is also a tribute to the 60 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and India, initiated in 1952 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. “India had sent us an elephant called Indira, when we were devastated after World War II. It brought in new hope,” said Takayuki Kitagawa, acting Consul-General of Japan.

Japan, he said, might be a meeting point of cultural influences from Korea, Middle East, West and China but the base of its culture had a lot of influence from Tamil Nadu, including the nearly 500 words in the Japanese dictionary that are similar to Tamil words and even methods of rice cultivation. The festival is open till March 8 at the M.M. Preview Theatre on Kodambakkam High Road.

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