Japan | 1999 | 130min | 35mm | COLOR | Drama | Musical
Director Ogata Akira’s 1999 film < Boy’s Choir> takes a look at the turmoil in Japan in early 70’s through the eyes of two boys. Michio is sent to an orphanage after the death of his father. There he befriends Yasuo, a boy soprano who draws him into the school choir. These volatile young men are pulled into activism by the suicide bombing of their choirmaster’s ex-girlfriend. Going through puberty and the changing of his voice, Yasuo is frustrated. Michio stands by Yasuo and together they share musical and political visions. They perform revolutionary songs in a choral competition, but what awaits them is despair. Ikebe Shinichiro, who had been working almost exclusively with Japan’s most acclaimed directors, made an exception to collaborate with newcomer Ogata Akira. His score for this film, utilizing string orchestra and choir, beautifully represents the bitter adolescence of two boys in a tumultuous time. This film won the Alfred Bauer Award at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival, and the Best New Director and Best Supporting Role awards at several Japanese film festivals.
Born in1959, Ogata met director Ishi Sogo while he was a student at Fukuoka University. Subsequently he worked as an assistant director on Ishii's early films such as < Crazy Thunder Road>(1980), < Shuffle>(1981), and < Burst City>(1982). In 1980 he directed a short film titled < Tokyo Hankusai Kankeisha>. He has directed numerous TV commercials, dramas, documentaries, and music videos. < Boy’s Choir> is his first feature film.