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    High Celebrates Japanese Film with First-Ever Local Screening of Three Recent Releases

    ATLANTA, February 16, 2011 – The High Museum of Art will celebrate Japanese film this March with the Japanese Film Festival, a series of three recent releases. Running from Friday, March 4, through Friday, March 18, the festival will include “Chef of the South Pole,” “The Taste of Fish” and “Kamome Diner.” The festival is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta.

    “This year’s Japanese Film Festival centers on the theme of food and is a veritable cinematic feast. As is typical with food-related movies, issues of love, generosity and expertise are important,” said Linda Dubler, curator of media arts at the High. “In these Japanese films, food also is a key to community, friendship and the pride of a job well done. None of the three films have been shown on the big screen in Atlanta, so this is a rare opportunity to catch some of the best that recent Japanese cinema has to offer, and we are delighted to be collaborating again with the Consulate of Japan in Atlanta on this valuable program.”

    The festival begins on Friday, March 4, with director Shuichi Okita’s “Chef of the South Pole” (“Nankyoku ryôrinin”). This warm, quirky and appetite-inducing comedy starring Masato Sakai and Kitaro is based on the real-life experiences of a chef who brought gourmet cuisine to one of the most inhospitable places on earth. Nishimura Jun prepared foie gras, lobster and Matsuzaka beef for a group of eight researchers stationed at the South Pole. Deprived of the company of women, familiar landscapes and even sunlight, they were sustained by the sensual pleasure and communal bonding provided by the meals. (2007, 125 minutes.) In Japanese with subtitles.

    Showing on Friday, March 11, is director Masaharu Nabeshima’s “The Taste of Fish” (“Tsukiji uogashi sandaime”), which is based on a manga series. Takao Osawa plays HR specialist Shuntaro Akagi, who begins to long for something more when he is forced to lay off his colleagues, including his former mentor. He soon discovers that his girlfriend, department store window-dresser Asuka (Rena Tanaka), is constantly exhausted because she has been helping out at her family’s fish stall at the world-famous Tsukiji Market. Shuntaro shows up at the market to lend her a hand, but soon finds that he is woefully under-qualified for a job that takes decades to master. (2008, 116 minutes.) In Japanese with subtitles.
    The series closes on Friday, March 18, with “Kamome Diner” (“Kamome shokudô”), from director Naoko Ogigami. Sachie, an independent-minded woman ready to start a new chapter in life, decides to open a diner in Helsinki, Finland, that specializes in onigiri. Her restaurant, the Kamome Diner, is empty for weeks until a young man drops in. He asks Sachie if she knows the lyrics to the theme song for a popular 1970s anime series, “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman.” The tune haunts her, but the words are lost until she encounters a Japanese tourist named Midori, who remembers every phrase. Midori quickly becomes Sachie’s waitress and roommate, and the two patiently wait for the Kamome Diner to be discovered. Ogigami’s comedy builds upon the often cross-cultural relationships that blossom at the Kamome Diner, nurtured by Sachie’s comforting food and welcoming presence. (2006, 102 minutes.) In Japanese and Finnish with subtitles.

    Film Series Schedule
    Unless otherwise noted, all films begin at 8 p.m. and are screened in the Richard H. Rich Theatre. The theatre is located in the Memorial Arts Building, adjacent to the High at Peachtree and 15th Streets in midtown Atlanta. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.

    “Chef of the South Pole” (“Nankyoku ryôrinin”)
    Friday, March 4

    “The Taste of Fish” (“Tsukiji uogashi sandaime”)
    Friday, March 11

    “Kamome Diner” (“Kamome shokudô”)
    Friday, March 18

    Support
    This program is made possible with support from the Consulate General of Japan. 35mm projection facilities in the Rich Auditorium were provided by a gift from George Lefont.

    Tickets
    To purchase tickets in advance, go to www.high.org, visit the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or call 404-733-5000. Tickets for all shows are $7 general admission and $6 for students, seniors and Museum members. Patron-level members enter free. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the screening.

    Film Information
    The public may call the High’s film hotline at 404-733-4570 for up-to-the-minute information about visiting directors, receptions, changes or cancellations and a free subscription to the quarterly film calendar. The Museum’s website is www.high.org.

    High Museum of Art
    The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005, the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.high.org.

    The Woodruff Arts Center
    The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit www.woodruffcenter.org. # # #