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Beijing Watermelon

June 8, 2024

Beijing Watermelon

(Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1989)

Los Angeles premiere of new 2K restoration!






2220 Arts + Archives
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg
Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg

Co-presented by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities

Shunzo (Bengal) runs a beloved greengrocer in the outskirts of Tokyo. When Lee, a struggling exchange student from China, visits the shop but is unable to afford the produce, an uneasy relationship sprouts. As Shunzo’s generosity sneaks up on him he is confronted by his role as a surrogate father to his newfound Chinese friends. Shot between May and July of 1989 and addressing the historically charged notion of a Sino-Japanese friendship, this lesser-seen masterpiece from director Nobuhiko Obayashi (House) subtly chronicles the end of a decade marked by the Japanese economic bubble and the brutal close of possibility in China. A delicate elegy to the Chinese students of its time, Beijing Watermelon finds Obayashi at his most modern, channeling Yasujiro Ozu, while his experimental flourishes provide the perfect disruption, inviting viewers to fill in the blanks of history.

This restoration was commissioned by Shochiku from a 4K scan of the 35mm negatives, completed at IMAGICA Lab Inc. in 2021 on a Lasergraphics Scanstation.

TRT: 135 min

"Obayashi at his most sensitive and nuanced." —Hal Young, Senses of Cinema

"A treasure of wry, telling observations... an eloquent commentary on the magic of the cinema itself.” —Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

(Available to download after screening date)

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