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2012 Opening Night Film - Ringing in Their Ears

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Published on Mar 12, 2012

You don't often hear about a rock band that uses web cameras and laptops in their live performances and that are fronted by a hikikomori, Japanese for shut-in, but there are few bands on the music landscape like Shinsei Kamattechan. Now this quartet from Chiba City forms the nucleus of an equally irreverent film by the award-winning director of 8000 Miles (Saitama Rapper), Yu Irie. The real-life story of Shinsei Kamattechan's move from indie stardom to major label commodity is interwoven with the fictional lives of some of their most unusual fans.

Fumi Nikaido (winner, along with Shota Sometani, of the 2011 Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor and actress at the Venice Film Festival) stars as Michiko, a girl who is torn between becoming a professional shogi (Japanese chess) player and the love of her high school sweetheart, who incidentally introduces her to the music of Shinsei Kamattechan. Then there is single mother Kaori, played by Kurumi Morishita, who can't seem to separate her young son from his laptop. It turns out he is obsessed with Shinsei Kamattechan and its eccentric lead singer Noko, but his love for the band may result in him being expelled, and his mother losing her job as an exotic pole dancer. During all this Shinsei Kamattechan's manager must find a way to navigate the corporate waters of the music industry so that his band can maintain their integrity and their rabid fan base.

This web of fact mixed with fiction culminates in an electric live performance by Shinsei Kamattechan and it's charismatic and quirky lead singer Noko. Few films are able to convey the power that certain rock bands have on their audience, but Yu Irie does that and more with Ringing in Their Ears.

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