The cycle dedicated to Toshirō Mifune, the renowned Japanese actor who filmed in the city during the 60s, finally begins


• The Festival recovers The Mad Atlantic, clear protagonist of the cycle dedicated to the Japanese producer and director. Its premiere in Spain will take place tomorrow Saturday, April 20, at 20:30 at Cine Yelmo Las Arenas

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Friday, April 19, 2024. The Japanese actor Toshirō Mifune left his mark in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A star in many of Akira Kurosawa’s films, he was at the peak of his career when the Japanese studio system went into crisis. It was the 1960s and “by then, Mifune had already received numerous invitations to shoot films outside Japan,” explains Luis Miranda, director of the Festival, in this year’s catalog. And one of the places he chose to do so was Gran Canaria. That’s why the 23rd Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival will dedicate a cycle to some of the films he either starred in or produced.

He arrived in the island in the mid-1960s, when he came to film Doto Ichiman Kairi (The Mad Atlantic) (Jun Fukuda, Japan, 1966, 103 min.), the first production entirely financed by his company, whose Spanish premiere will be possible thanks to the collaboration of CCA Gran Canaria. Centro de Cultura Audiovisual. This feature will be the main piece of the retrospective that pays tribute to Mifune’s legacy and that comprises a selection of some of his best-known works.

Thus, under the title “Mifune was here”, the Festival audience will be able to watch other works such as Kakushi-toride no san-akunin (The Hidden Fortress) (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1958, 139 min.); Muhômatsu no isshô (The Rickshaw Man) (Hiroshi Inagaki, Japan, 1958, 103 min. ); Ánimas Trujano (The Important Man) (Ismael Rodríguez, Mexico, 1961, 99 min.); Hell in The Pacific (John Boorman, USA, 1968, 103 min.) and Soleil rouge (Red Sun) (Terence Young, Spain, France, Italy, 1971, 112 min.).

Kakushi-toride no san-akunin (The Hidden Fortress) will be the first film to hit the big screen at Cine Yelmo Las Arenas. The cycle will open this Friday evening, April 19, at 6:00 p.m., with an adventure film by master Akira Kurosawa set in feudal Japan and which has served as an influence for George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. In it, a general is in charge of guarding his clan’s princess in a hostile territory, accompanied by two clumsy and greedy peasants. The latter don’t know the real identity of the people whom they are escorting.

Tomorrow, Saturday 20, at 8:30 p.m., the audience will be able to witness the singular connection of this fundamental producer and actor of Japanese cinema with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and get to know his legacy with The Mad Atlantic. Screening the film the actor shot in Gran Canaria is considered a real milestone by the Festival team. Luis Miranda, director of the festival, Sergio Morales, audiovisual coordinator of CCA Gran Canaria. Centro de Cultura Audiovisual, and Sebastián Torres, manager of the Facebook page Las Palmas Ayer y Hoy, will be in charge of presenting the work filmed in 1966 by Jun Fukuda, which turned the city into the destination of a ship’s crew affected by a squall. In it, Captain Murakami takes command of the tuna vessel Azuma Maru, replacing a very beloved person. Murakami forces the crew to work harder, inciting hostility and exhaustion. When a storm causes another ship to sink, the captain must choose between saving the crew or preserving his cargo – and either option could mean his downfall.

This cycle dedicated to the “Japanese hero”, as presented by Luis Miranda in the catalog, also includes the screening of Muhômatsu no isshô (The Rickshaw Man) on Monday 22 at 8:15 p.m. In the film, actor Toshirō Mifune plays a poor rickshaw driver who helps a young woman and her son after the sudden death of the family’s father. As time goes by, he becomes attached to both of them as they go about their lives.

On Thursday 25, at 8:30 p.m., fantasy and horror expert Jesús Palacios will present Soleil rouge (Red Sun), a film set in 1870 in which a Japanese ambassador and two samurai head towards Washington on the Transcontinental Express to deliver a ceremonial sword to the President of the United States. On the same train is a gang of outlaws who attack the train and trigger a chase to recover the valuable object.

One day later, on Friday 26 at 6:00 p.m., the big screen will show Hell in the Pacific. During World War II, a battle on the high seas ends with a Japanese officer and an American pilot as the only survivors. Both must learn to survive and coexist, trapped on a desert island in the Pacific Ocean.

“Mifune Was Here” will close on the last day of the Festival, April 28 at 6:00 p.m., with the screening of Ánimas Trujano (The Important Man). Ánimas Trujano is a taciturn and irresponsible indigenous man from a small Mexican village who cheats on his loyal wife with the town prostitute. His greatest dream is to one day be elected mayordomo of the town, an honour granted to the most respected citizen. When his eldest daughter becomes pregnant, Ánimas, blinded by his ambition, sells her baby to obtain the money to make him a candidate for the title. The only film that Toshirô Mifune starred in Mexico was nominated for an Oscar and won Best Foreign Film at the 1962 Golden Globes.

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