Sunday, February 11, 2024

GO, RODIE BABY, GO! Attending a 4K Screening of 'Rodan' in Chofu!

A poster for the Chofu Cinema Festival in Chofu Station. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today (Sunday, February 11), I went to the Chofu Cinema Festival to catch a screening of the 4K version of Rodan (1956). The venue was the Chofu City Cultural Hall Tazukuri, which I've visited several times in the past few years. 

I was a bit surprised at how small the screen was. I was also seated a bit farther back than I usually prefer, so it would be more than fair to say that my first screening of Rodan at Toho Cinemas a while back was superior to this one. The 4K restoration looked amazing, of course, though I wish I could have seen it on a bigger screen.

After the screening, there was a Q&A with Toshio Miike, who talked about tokusatsu production designer Yasuyuki Inoue and his contributions to the film, alongside Toshifumi Shimizu, who discussed the process of the 4K restoration. The interview session lasted a little more than 30 minutes.

When I was leaving the theater, I spotted Godzilla series tokusatsu director Yuichi Kikuchi in the audience. I greeted him and informed him of my plans for late March. After chatting for a short while, we took the selfie that you can see at the bottom of the blog post.

When I was heading back down to the lobby area, I noticed Ultraman (1966-67) actress Hiroko Sakurai's leaving the theater. Suffice it to say, it's quite rare to see such a high-profile figure attend a screening of an old kaiju movie that he or she wasn't even involved in.

In the lobby of the building was a special exhibit honoring Yasuyuki Inoue, the centerpiece of which was a recreation of the Iwataya Department Store as seen in the film. Also on display were various blueprints, location-scouting photos (including pictures of the Yawata Steel Works, which Rodan was supposed to attack in the script, even though it's not in the finished movie), and even a tape measure that Inoue used when location-scouting in Fukuoka for Rodan. There was also a cool reproduction of Nishitetsu train cars that you can see in the film. 

Shin Kamen Rider (2023) will also be screened as part of the film festival, and on display in another section were the henshin belt and mask of the titular character.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon, to which the photos in this blog post will attest. Enjoy!

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