Suffering of Ninko

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Japan | 2016 | 70 minutes | Norihiro Niwatsukino

Ninkô no junan

This erotic fantasy set in Japan’s Edo period introduces a sexually irresistible Buddhist monk struggling to stay virtuous as he begins to have strange carnal dreams, cleverly depicted with flashes of dazzling animation, and in one case, a show-stopping update of Ravel’s “Bolero.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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SIFF Cinema Egyptian

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

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Monday, May 29, 2017

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SIFF Cinema Egyptian

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In Edo-era Japan, Ninko, one of the youngest novice monks at Japan's Enmeiji Temple, is also one of the hardest-working and most devout among his peers. But he has one problem: Ladies just won't leave him alone. His asceticism is sincere, but whenever he humbles himself for alms in the street, women cannot help but throw themselves at him. Even some of his fellow monks start giving Ninko the eye. As he sees temptation around almost every corner, Ninko begins having hallucinations of erotic encounters, which we see in a series of live-action and animated montages, some cleverly based on Japanese art forms, including ukiyo-e woodblock prints, shunga erotic drawings, and traditional folklore. Feeling desperate, Ninko turns to a samurai named Kanzo, who gives him a possible solution—a mountain goddess named Yama-onna is terrorizing a nearby village by absorbing the life force of the men who live there. Could defeating Yama-onna be the cure for Ninko's "female problems"? In this feature debut by director, writer, producer, editor, and animator Norihiro Niwatsukino, he elevates what could be an exploitative plotline to create a provocative and original interpretation of ancient Japanese culture, as well as commentary on modern sexual identity in Japan. Profane, witty, and entertaining, Suffering of Ninko is proof that the Buddha works in mysterious—and sometimes hilarious—ways.

Director Biography

Born April 6, 1981, Norihiro Niwatsukino started filming while attending the Kyushu Institute of Design in Fukuoka. After graduating from the Graduate School of Design at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Niwatsukino moved to Tokyo and started working as a freelance director and as a screenwriter. He has directed various video works includes live-action, music video, animation, etc. His short film "Strawberry Jam" (2010) was invited to various film festivals in Japan. Niwatsukino followed with his first animation series "Onizushi." Suffering of Ninko (2016) is his first feature film.

Sponsored by The Japan Foundation - Los Angeles, Japan Studies Program UW, Lawrence Lofts

  • Director: Norihiro Niwatsukino
  • Principal Cast: Masato Tsujioka, Miho Wakabayashi, Hideta Iwahashi, Yukino Arimoto
  • Premiere Status: U.S.
  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 70 minutes
  • Producer: Norihiro Niwatsukino, Katsuyuki Takemoto
  • Screenplay: Norihiro Niwatsukino
  • Cinematographers: Takayuki Okazaki, Shunichiro Yamamoto
  • Editors: Norihiro Niwatsukino
  • Music: Office Higuchi Inc.
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Japanese
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Asian Shadows