Matchbox Cine is re-releasing Naoto Yamakawa’s cult masterpiece The New Morning of Billy the Kid (1986) in an exclusive online showing on December 3rd-5th, 2021. Since its premiere, the film has not been available with English subtitles anywhere, in fact, it has not been shown in the west at all. Matchbox Cine’s event celebrates the 35th anniversary of New Morning of Billy the Kid with a completely new English translation.
The New Morning of Billy the Kid (1986)
A super serious comical film with a unique and exciting tone. The takes place at the Slaughterhouse Saloon, which is described as “an arena of dreams where characters, images, and situations from popular culture are transformed into something altogether new”.
The fun starts when Billy the Kid obtains a job as a waiter at the Slaughterhouse Saloon. He is joined by a legendary samurai, a World War II G.I., and various other anachronistic figures. The plot centres on keeping the vicious mobsters and thugs that rule the city streets outside the bar at bay, thus rendering the saloon safe for its widely recognisable parodies of well-known figures.
Throughout the film, the main character meets dishwasher Marx Engels, femme fatale Sharlotte Rampling and a slew of cultural luminaries in new guises, including Harry Callahan, Bruce Springsteen, and Jesus.
The event will only be available on Matchbox Cine’s web platform, which is powered by Eventive.
Rounding out the programme are two Yamakawa shorts based on Haruki Murakami short stories, Attack
on a Bakery (1982) and A Girl, She is 100% (1983), also with new English translations.
To ensure that the films are accessible to as many people as possible, the complete programme includes Descriptive Subtitles/SDH and optional Audio Description. Tickets are charged on a sliding scale, so viewers determine how much to pay depending on their financial situation, with a tiered sliding scale guide ranging from free to £8.
Matchbox Cine is presenting the programme as part of the BFI’s Japan 2021: Over 100 Years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season financed by the National Lottery and the BFI Film Audience Network.
Attack on a Bakery (1982)
Synopsis | Two hungry young men decide to rob a bakery run by a Communist and Wagner-enthusiast. Before they can pull off their attack, they encounter a young woman in the bakery, struggling to choose between a Japanese pastry and French croissants.
A Girl, She is 100% (1983)
Synopsis | A Girl, She’s 100% is the imaginings of a young man as he replays, remembers and reimages the twinkling eye contact he made with a young woman as they passed on a Harajuku sidewalk. A seamless mix of live-action and stills, colour, monochrome and selective tinting.
Director Yamakawa first came across Haruki Murakami’s short story Bakery Attack in the literary magazine of Waseda University, which they both attended several years apart. Yamakawa sought permission from Murakami to adapt it and, though privately reluctant, Murakami granted it.
Murakami author was ultimately so pleased he let Yamakawa adapt a second short story, On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, the following year.
Director: Naoto Yamakawa
A film director and professor at the Department of Imaging Art, Tokyo Polytechnic University. Naoto Yamakawa began to create his own films after becoming a member of the Cinema Research Society while studying at Waseda University. Yamakawa came across some of Haruki Murakami’s earliest published fiction in the university’s literary magazine Waseda Bungaku, leading to his 16mm adaptations of two Murakami short stories – Attack on the Bakery (1982) and A Girl, She is 100% (1983).
At the time, Yamakawa was emerging as one of the leaders of Japan’s ‘movie brat’ generation: the first group of directors to come to film-making as film fans and teach themselves film techniques in film clubs rather than going through industry apprenticeship. Yamakawa’s films have been screened at international film festivals across the world, including in Tokyo, Melbourne, Edinburgh, London and New York.
About Matchbox Cine
Matchbox Cine is an independent film exhibitor, specialising in cult film, as well as an award-winning subtitler, specialising in access provision for film exhibition & distribution. From Glasgow, Scotland, and currently based in Bristol, England, they programme, curate and promote cult film events across the UK.
As exhibitors, Matchbox Cine specialise in celebrating the outcasts, orphans and outliers of cult cinema. Alongside their regular programming and collaborations, they’ve delivered several editions of the festivals Weird Weekend, Cage-a-rama and KeanuCon, as well as coordinated several years of annual Scalarama activity in Glasgow and across Scotland. As access services providers, they’ve worked with numerous festivals, venues, distributors and film-makers across the UK, providing captions for over 1,000 films.