Japanese film “Hula Girls” screened at second night of Art History Association Film Festival

This past Tuesday was the second night of the Art History Association Film Festival,which was held in the Kinard Auditorium.  The night kicked off at 7:00 p.m. with a short film called “The House in the Little Cubes,”  or “La Maison en Petits Cubes.”  The animated film told the story of a widower whose town had been flooded and was forced to add levels onto his home.  While he is doing so, he relives scenes from his life from before the flooding began.  The short, directed by Kunio Katō, won the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2009, and had a runtime of about twelve minutes.

The feature film of the night was a movie called “Hula Girls.”  The 2006 Japanese film is based on the true story of the Joban Hawaiian Center, known now as the Spa Resort Hawaiians in Iwaki, Japan.  The critically acclaimed film was nominated for 12 awards at the Japanese Academy Awards, and ended up going home with five of them including: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Most Popular Film.

The film focuses on a small coal mining village in Japan. The plan to put in place a Hawaiian Resort as a means to boost the economy.  The main plot of the movie involved a group of coal miners daughters turned hula dancers by a professional dancer who moves from Tokyo to teach.  The villagers are not very welcoming to the idea of the Hawaiian center in the beginning, but by the end of the film, everyone pitches in and helps build it.

Japan native and music Professor Tomoko Deguchi presented the film and lead a discussion following the movie.

“Right now, you know Japan’s economy is really not good its like you know staggering, so I think it’s good to remember that time, you know that when you’re down but you can still get up,” Deguchi says, speaking to the significance of this film in Japan.

“There are a lot of out of the box and like going out of your comfort zone.  Just step out from  your comfort zone and you might succeed, you might not succeed, but that’s okay you know.”

Deguchi believes that the message of this film is to get out of your comfort zone and to try something new, because you might just succeed.

“I really liked this movie, I went to last weeks movie and it was pretty nice. That one was a little more serious, it was kind of like a love story and I mean it was a good movie but I like this one a little bit more it was a little bit more happier a bit more fun,” says Art major Sarah Kear.

She attends many of the film festivals at Winthrop, and plans to come to see the what is in store for the rest of this festival.

For students interested: The Art History Association Film Festival continues this Tuesday Sept. 26 in the Kinard auditorium, and every Tuesday after that until Oct. 10.

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