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SFS Talkies / World Cinema Series : Sandakan No. 8 / Sandakan Hachiban Shokan: Bokyo

What In Competition for Golden Bear in Berlinale 1975, Sandakan No. 8 is Japanese director Kumai Keiís best known work and it tells the moving story of the life of a karayuki-san (juvenile prostitute) in the Japanese colonies of Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century.
When 12 August 2008 (Tuesday), 7.30pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot.

Tickets for the public: $8 / $6.40 concession.
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As a prelude to this year's Japanese Film Festival 2008

A Programme of the National Museum Cinémathèque
Co-presented by the Singapore Film Society

Tuesday 12 August

Sandakan No. 8 / Sandakan Hachiban Shokan: Bohkyo
サンダカン八番娼館 望郷
Dir: Kumai Kei
1974 / Japan / 121 min / 16 mm / Rating M18
Japanese with English subtitles

Sandakan No. 8 is Japanese director Kumai Kei’s best-known work and it tells the moving story of the life of a karayuki-san (juvenile prostitute) in the Japanese colonies of Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century. Told through flashbacks and recollections of an old woman named Saki, the film is a thoughtful, uncompromising and compassionate account of the hardships that thousands of young Japanese girls suffered.

In her last film, Tanaka Kinuyo received the prestigious Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her performance as a former "Karayuki-san" (women coerced into working as prostitutes in Southeast Asian during the Japanese occupation). One of the few Japanese films ever to deal with this explosive, and still controversial, legacy from WWII.

Festival / Awards

Berlinale 1975 - In Competition
Silver Bear for Best Actress - TANAKA Kinuyo
Kinema Junpo Award - Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress
Academy Awards - Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film


In the early 1900s, Japanese women were sent to Southeast Asia as prostitutes, from the impoverished farming and fishing districts. The women were called "Karayuki-san." Many of them came from the SHIMABARA and AMAKUSA areas of southern Japan. This film relates an aspect of the history of Japanese women, from the end of the MEIJI period to the early SHOWA period, as reflected in the life of one such Karayuki-san.

The non-fiction book on which the film is based, emphasizes the heart to heart encounter between the author, YAMAZAKI TOMOKO, and a former karayuki-san. The film preserves this style, but adds a structure which shifts back and forth between present and past.

The director, KUMAI KEI, made his debut as a director in 1964, with "The Imperial Bank Incident: On Death Row" (TEIGIN JIKEN: SHIKEISHU). Ever since then he has been concerned mainly with social problems. His most recent film, "Sea and Poison" (UMI TO DOKUYAKU) 1986, is no exception.

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