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Screening of “Paper City”: Memories of the Tokyo firebombing

Q&A with writer/director, Adrian Francis

Moderator: Dr. David McNeill

June 21, 18:30-20:30 (approx.)

Room 201 in bldg. 6

Please register from here (or from the QR code):

The film is 80 minutes long, mostly in Japanese with English subtitles. Some portion of the film is in English only. Q & A with Adrian Francis after the film screening.

On March 10, 1945, the US launched a massive air raid on Tokyo, unleashing a firestorm on this dense area of wooden and paper houses. By sunrise, more than 100,000 people were dead, and a quarter of the city destroyed—the most destructive air raid in history. Survivors have long campaigned for a public memorial, a museum, and some token compensation for civilians who lost everything. But the Japanese government has refused to formally acknowledge their appeals, and after seven decades, they find themselves cast aside—while former soldiers have been treated generously by the state. Paper City follows three survivors as they launch a final campaign to leave behind a record of this forgotten tragedy—before the last of them passes away. Weaving harrowing testimonies, rarely-seen archive, and modern-day advocacy, it’s an exploration of what we choose to remember and wish to forget—and what the consequences of that are. (2022 Tokyo Documentary Film Festival Audience Award)

Originally from Australia, Adrian Francis has lived and worked in Tokyo for 15 years. He majored in documentary film at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. Francis directed the award-winning documentary short, Lessons from the Night, about an immigrant cleaner, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. His short films have screened at major international festivals including AFI Docs, Karlovy Vary, Melbourne, Edinburgh, and Visions du Reel. He was invited to participate in the Berlinale Talents program at the Berlin Film Festival, where he began developing the project that would become Paper City—his first feature-length film.

This event is organized by Sven Saaler (Professor of Japanese History, Sophia University).


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