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THE ONDEKOZA     (ざ・鬼太鼓座)


Runtime: 105 min / 1981
Director: Tai Kato
North American Premiere

Thirty-five years after its heralded premiere and subsequent disappearance from public view, the musical masterpiece The Ondekoza returned at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival. The film tells story of the co-founding members of Ondekoza, a group of young musician, living communally in Sado Island who created the Japanese traditional taiko drumming style that has since become internationally famous. Members went on to for the legendary Kodo Drummers of Japan.

The first half follows the group’s daily routines and torturous training regimens as well as the rehearsals and concerts in local halls, and the efforts to adapt traditional folk pieces to fit their burgeoning repertoire. In its second half, the film positively explodes in vivid colours across the screen, as the group performs a series of dazzling set pieces — many on sets designed by legendary designer Tadanori Yokoo and Chiyo Umeda — including Devil Sword Dance (Oni kenbai), O-Shichi of the Tower (Yagura no O-Shichi), Changing Cherry Blossom Song (Sakura Hensokyoku), The Big Taiko (Odaiko).

The film will be introduced by Sado-trained drummer Kiyoshi Nagata and followed by a performance by Canada’s premiere taiko ensemble, Nagata Shachu.

Official Website and Trailer (in Japanese):





© 2016 Shochiku Co., Ltd