Friday, February 20, 2009

Makoto Sasaki's FRAGMENT

(Image borrowed from USC East Asian Studies Center.)

Announcement from H-ASIA:

Join us for the U.S. Premiere of Makoto Sasaki's FRAGMENT, a film that explores Buddhist ritual and prayer in contemporary global society.

Sunday, February 22, 2009
2:00-3:30pm Screening of FRAGMENT (Japanese with English subtitles)
3:45-5:00pm Panel Discussion, Q&A
School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) 108, USC
Reception to follow
Please RSVP to with your name and number of guests

The screening will be followed by a Panel Discussion with Makoto Sasaki (filmmaker); Joe Parker (Pitzer College); William Whittington (USC School of Cinematic Arts); & Lori Meeks (USC College).

Film Synopsis:

Moved by the tragedy of 9/11, young entertainer Jicchoku Inoue decides to take a break from his television career so he can make offerings to those who died in New York. He becomes a Buddhist priest and commits himself to the aragyo, a 100-day ascetic practice so severe that is said to have claimed the lives of many who have attempted to complete it. Inoue survives the aragyo, a feat that earns him the right to use special ritual implements believed capable of destroying evil karma and pacifying the dead. He then takes his newly acquired ritual skills and instruments to Ground Zero, where he offers prayers, both for the dead and for world peace. Sasaki's film follows him on this ambitious journey.

About the Filmmaker

Makoto Sasaki was born in Japan in 1975. In 1997, he participated as screenwriter for a music movie called Yaips! produced by Tetsutaro Sakurai and also directed Satsuei Pochomukin, one of the segments in the anthology of films planed by Shinobu Yaguchi. The following year he signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment as director of the image production team. He now works as a freelance image and video director for music videos and TV productions.

About the Cast

Jicchoku Inoue was born in Japan in 1977. After graduating college,he joined the film industry and appeared in several Japanese movies, dramas and TV shows. He is the senior administrative priest of Chokoji, a Nichiren temple in Tokyo, Japan.

Sponsored by the USC East Asian Studies Center; the Religion, Identity, and Global Governance Project; the Center for Visual Anthropology; the Center for Religion and Civic Culture; the Office of Religious Life; and the School of Religion.

For more information on the film (including a film clip), check out its webpage:

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