A year and a half has passed since the last edition of the Eigasai Festival. What happened during that time is something nobody expected, wanted, or was able to imagine in their wildest dreams. It hit our country, Japan, and the world over. Despite the lingering uncertainty, we started preparations for the 14th edition of the festival, which we are hereby presenting to you. We believe that this year’s format, albeit slightly streamlined, will be a small step on the way back towards both Japanese cinema and cultural events the way we know and love them.

Everyone has their rituals. They help us to avoid forgetting our mobile handset or keys at home, get our job done well and generally make it through the day. Most of us likely do not even realise we follow such rituals. They also show in the way we make tea or coffee, and in the way we salute one another. When the entire society follows such rules, order is created. Japan is known for its system of written and unwritten rules. Thanks to them, the Japanese have been able to live within confined space as well as to tackle natural disasters and other unexpected developments. If someone steps outside the system, they end up on the edge. Taking the next step can cause an innovative change or evoke strong displeasure. We decided to take a similar risk and organise the traditional spring-time Eigasai Festival in the autumn, while the entire world is still somewhat on the edge.

On the verge between dream and reality – this is where the characters find themselves in the Randen anthology of stories about a mysterious train that only operates after midnight. What are the passengers to expect when the conductors are a fox and a badger? Where will the train take them, and how will these mythical guides play with their destinies?

Both Japan and the Czech Republic face similar issues despite their geographical and cultural differences. Both countries struggle with an ageing population, rebellious youth, protection of individual privacy, impending disasters and seeking motivation for the young generation. Five contemporary directors of Ten Years offer us their vision of Japan in 2028: a dystopic Japan on the edge of moral values. If it is good for the society, is it really good for an individual too? Produced by the Academy Award-winning director Hirokazu Koreeda (After the Storm 2016, Shoplifters 2018), this film will show us a future that is somewhat different from what we can imagine.

Student love and shared dreams seldom come to fruition. The protagonists of The Modern Lovers are no exception. When they meet again years later, they are each living their own different lives. What brings them together is their memories and physical attraction. On the edge between love and indulging in their sexual fantasies, they come to grips with reality and thwarted ambitions.

The Kyogen Theatre troupe will play the comedy The Snail. This play is currently the most often staged Kyogen show in Japan and generally ranks among the very best that Kyogen can offer audiences both in Japan and all over the world. Even though the Kyogen genre’s humour is quite a lot “on the edge”, it has survived a long six centuries and is currently on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. How this happened will be revealed in the subsequent multimedia talk and peek behind the scenes, both Czech and Japanese. 

Eisá will play the traditional taiko drums to make your hearts and the entire Lucerna cinema resonate, drumming you to the edge of positive emotions.

We hope you will enjoy the films. Hopefully, you will also be pleased to hear that we are currently working on another full-scope edition of the festival scheduled for February 2022.

Klára Poskočilová