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The Harvard Film Archive Presents: Family Weekend Matinees

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Dates:Saturday, March 7, 2020 - Saturday, May 30, 2020
Hours:3:00pm
Ages:Kids, Teens, Adults
In/Outdoor:Indoor
Cost:$ see below
Category:Movies
The HFA continues its specially priced screenings of films for our younger viewers and accompanying adults. Drawing from the Harvard Film Archive collection and beyond, this series of classic and contemporary films are screened in their original formats and languages.

Curated especially for teenagers, this season focuses on the visually stunning, meticulous anime of Makoto Shinkai (b. 1973)—who just released his latest sumptuous creation, Weathering With You. One of his early influences—Hayao Miyazaki’s astounding Castle of the Sky—is also featured.

All Weekend Matinee screenings are admission-free for holders of a valid Cambridge Public Library card!

Makoto Shinkai films presented in collaboration with the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge.

Special thanks: Teen Room staff and Maria McCauley, Director—Cambridge Public Library; Stacie Matsumoto—Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard; Aliza Ma—Metrograph, New York; Ka Mui—CoMix Wave; and Evan Milstein-Greengart—Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

Curated by Karin Kolb. Film descriptions by Karin Kolb and Brittany Gravely.



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday March 7 at 4pm
The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Kumo no muko, yakusoku no basho)


Co-directed with Yoshio Suzuki, Shinkai's remarkable feature film debut at the age of thirty-two immediately established him as a talented filmmaker with a unique vision. His sci-fi scenario is set in a Japan that has been divided into the Union-controlled North and the US-controlled South. When their mutual friend Sayuri suddenly disappears, teenage prodigies Hiroki and Takuya eventually go their separate ways. Years later, Takuya, a physicist, is drawn into a complex world of dreams, revolutionary fronts, government conspiracies and multiple realities. With Japan on the brink of war, the two friends are finally reunited in their shared grief over Sayuri, upon whose mysterious fate the whole world may depend.
Age recommendation: 12+

Directed by Makoto Shinkai and Yoshio Suzuki. With Yoshioka Hidetaka, Hagiwara Masato, Nanri Yuka
Japan 2004, DCP, color, 91 min. Japanese with English subtitles



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday March 21 at 4pm
5 Centimeters Per Second (Byosoku 5 senchimetoru)


Its title the measure of the time it takes for a cherry blossom to drift to Earth, Shinkai’s three-part romantic drama of longing, love and loss recounts Takaki Tono’s relationship with classmate Akari—from their elementary school friendship to their last-chance meeting as adults in Tokyo. Initially, after Akari moves to Tochigi, both manage to keep in touch, but their romance is finally cut short when his family moves to an island far away.
In one of Shinkai’s most unforgettable sequences, the meticulously planned trip is illustrated with a dizzying montage of train maps, train rides and display boards. Upon the agonizing delay due to a severe snowstorm, the audience feels as if they too are taking Tono’s journey. In order to imbue his films with a dynamic realism, Shinkai diligently scouts the actual locations depicted, taking copious photos. In his hands, visions from everyday life become, in the words of critic Mark Schilling, “impressions of life lived at its most perceptive, intense—and heartbreaking.”

Age recommendation: 8+

Directed by Makoto Shinkai. With Mizuhashi Kenji, Kondou Yoshimi, Hanamura Satomi
Japan 2007, DCP, color, 63 min. Japanese with English subtitles
The Garden of Words (Koto no ha no niwa)

Shinkai's short film begins with fifteen-year-old Takao on this way to high school in Tokyo. When he skips his class to sketch shoe designs in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, he meets a mysterious woman, and they strike up a friendship. When Takao finally learns her true identity, their connection is both deepened and complicated. Shinkai's hand-drawn look of accurate, everyday life impressions of Tokyo's train stations, telephone wires, apartment buildings are simply breathtaking. The Shinjuku Garden and the rainy season seem to be their own characters, with the rain connecting the protagonists while the garden unites them. In Shinkai’s hands, the Shinjuku neighborhood has never looked so stunning. If the short running time leaves audiences wanting more, Shinkai’s astonishing visuals will more than make up for that loss.

Age recommendation: 14+
Directed by Makoto Shinkai. With Irino Miyu, Hanazawa Kana, Hirano Fumi
Japan 2013, DCP, color, 46 min. Japanese with English subtitles



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday April 4 at 4pm
Castle in the Sky (Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta) AKA Laputa: Castle in the Sky


Studio Ghibli’s first feature film, Castle in the Sky is filled with otherworldly adventures worthy of Jules Verne. Young Pazu is an inventor who dreams of finding Laputa—a peaceful floating island in the sky built by an advanced, long-gone civilization. When Sheeta, a mysterious girl, literally falls (well, rather floats) out of the sky and into Pazu’s mining town, they become friends. But Sheeta’s pendant holds the secret to Laputa, and the kids are suddenly pursued by both evil government agents and a family of good-hearted aerial pirates.

Set in an imaginary Europe of a century ago, Miyazaki’s hand-drawn film—accompanied by an unforgettable Joe Hisaishi score—won him the third Ofuji Noburo Award at the Mainichi Film Concours. Its timeless story of courage and friendship left a deep impression on Makoto Shinkai, who decided to follow Miyazaki’s path after seeing the film in high school. Shinkai’s Children who Chase Lost Voices is an homage to Laputa. The Harvard Film Archive will be screening a rare 35mm print of this Miyazaki classic.

Age recommendation: 8+. Scenes of gun violence and peril.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. With Tanaka Mayumi, Yokozawa Keiko, Hatsui Kotoe
Japan 1986, 35mm, color, 125 min. Japanese with English subtitles



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday April 18 at 4pm
Children Who Chase Lost Voices (Hoshi o ou kodomo)


The unsupervised, independent Asuna escapes her lonely life by listening to mysterious music on the crystal radio set left to her by her late father. With its help, she finds a passage into Agartha, a fantastic, fabled land populated by Quetzalcoatls, shadow-dwelling monsters. Asuna’s action-packed rite of passage brings her face-to-face with the realms of the underworld, of life, death and the possibility of resurrection.

Though a “robust adventure story,” notes Metrograph’s Aliza Ma, the film is “at heart, a wrenching meditation on the process of mourning, saying goodbye, and moving on.” Clearly influenced by Castle in the Sky, Shinkai’s lush animation also includes a nod to Miyazaki’s Nausicaa, with its brave heroine and her loyal pet cat Mimi. Shinkai’s film won the Tokyo Anime Award and was nominated for the Crystal Award at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which placed him prominently in the international spotlight.

Age recommendation: 14+
Directed by Makoto Shinkai. With Kanemoto Hisako, Inoue Kazuhiko, Irino Miyu
Japan 2011, DCP, color, 116 min. Japanese with English subtitles



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Sunday April 26 at 4pm
Your Name (Kimi no na wa)


“Make me a handsome Tokyo boy in my next life!” In this metaphysical love story with a time-traveling twist, Mitsuha’s wish to escape her traditional village existence is granted, but in her current life. Not only does she wake up one morning as Taki—a handsome city-dwelling Tokyo teenager—they continue to switch bodies back and forth through time and space, growing closer and affecting one another’s destinies through this unusual arrangement.

Surpassing even the success of Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (2001) at the box office, this cinematic sensation generated inevitable comparisons to that director’s work. While they may be similar in their beautiful, hand-drawn technique, Shinkai’s recent stories take place primarily in the real world—not a fantastical one. As critic David Sims notes, “even cellphone conversations look great” in Shinkai’s miraculous, cosmic depiction of the minutiae of teenage reality, or in this case, realities.

Age recommendation: 12+
Directed by Makoto Shinkai. With Kamiki Ryunosuke, Kamishiraishi Mone, Narita Ryo
Japan 2016, DCP, color, 106 min. Japanese with English subtitles


$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday May 2 at 4pm
Weathering With You (Tenki no ko)


Shinkai's highly anticipated follow-up to his 2016 hit Your Name charms with an adolescent story of two teens, Hodaka and Hina. He, an island runaway looking to survive in Tokyo, and she a 'Weather Child'—the title’s literal translation—who can stop the rain and clear the sky. More than a coming of age story, Weathering With You is Shinkai's updated version of the ancient “sunshine girl” myth.

Projected onto a Tokyo in the age of climate change, the future looks rather bleak—even if the never-ending rain only adds another shimmering layer to Shinkai’s exquisitely drawn, intricate backgrounds. His intense realism mixed with sobering moments—such as a summer cicada in the middle of a sudden snowstorm—call attention to preservation of the world beyond Shinkai’s magic screen. Will Hina be able to restore harmony to the Earth? At what price? With a brilliant soundtrack by Radwimps, Weathering With You is Shinkai's second box-office typhoon and Japan's official nomination for the 2020 Academy Awards for Best International Film.

Age recommendation: 12+
Directed by Makoto Shinkai. With Daigo Kotaro, Mori Nana, Oguri Shun
Japan 2019, DCP, color 112 min. Japanese with English subtitles


$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday May 9 at 4pm
Romeo and Juliet


Famous for casting unknown teenagers as the title characters—a sixteen-year-old Olivia Hussey and seventeen-year-old Leonard Whiting—Zeffirelli instilled in Shakespeare’s tragic love story the youth-oriented rebelliousness of the Sixties. The charming openness and innocence of the star-crossed lovers sweetly resonated with a defiant love generation disillusioned by war and the outdated decrees of their parents.

Fifty-two years later, his version remains one of the most favored and successful cinematic adaptations, winning two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (Pasqualino De Santis) and Best Costume Design (Danilo Donati), while producing a hit song in 1969 with Henry Mancini's arrangement of Nino Rota’s 'Love Theme' (“Get Back” by the Beatles was number three!). Accentuated by naturalistic performances and lush sets, Zeffirelli’s take retains a timeless sensibility and vibrancy, now with a renewed glow in its digitally restored incarnation.

Age recommendation: 14+. Mature content
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. With Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, Michael York
UK/Italy 1968, DCP, color, 138 min



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday May 23 at 4pm
Dead Poets Society


Robin Williams portrays teacher John Keating in this touching coming-of-age tale about a group of boys trying to find their own voices in a 1950s setting within an elite and conservative boarding school. In one of his most somber and thoughtful roles, Williams displays a rare sense of constraint throughout Dead Poets Society as he guides his students toward seeking individuality and self-confidence. Quickly developing a loyal cult following, Keating infuses their existences with poetry, irreverence and fervor (“O Captain! My Captain!”)—to empowering and tragic ends. Australian New Wave director Peter Weir and writer Thomas Schulman—who would receive an Academy Award for Best Screenplay—craft an exhilaratingly romantic and literary movie for sensitive teenagers whose passions run counter to the status quo.

Age recommendation: 14+. Mature content
Directed by Peter Weir. With Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
US 1989, 35mm, color, 128 min



$5 Weekend Matinee Admission or Free with Cambridge Public Library Card

Saturday May 30 at 4pm
Willow and Wind (Beed-o baad)


Written by Abbas Kiarostami, this tale follows a similarly allegoric, poetic path as his other films, following the journeys of children (The Traveler, Where is the Friend’s House?). Willow and Wind’s anxious young hero embarks on an epic quest to repair a classroom window he broke. Aside from the kindness of a new classmate and an old glassmaker, the boy is on his own to secure the glass and fix the window himself. As the vulnerable, lithe “willow” of the title, he bravely endures a grueling, nail-biting journey through high winds and storms, over treacherous terrain, and even aboard a fellow student’s motorbike—all while nervously carrying the delicate sheet of glass. Never giving up hope, he learns many difficult lessons along the way—just as young viewers will, as soon as they recuperate from this breathtaking adventure.

Age recommendation: 12+
Directed by Mohammad-Ali Talebi. With Hadi Alipour, Amir Janfada, Majid Alipour
Iran/Japan 1999, 35mm, color, 81 min. Persian with English subtitles.

COST↑ top

$5 Weekend Matinee Admission | Free for holders of a valid Cambridge Public Library Card

WEBSITE↑ top

library.harvard.edu/film/films/2019marmay/weekend.html#wolf

LOCATION↑ top

24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138 map
Phone: 617-496-3211

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