Gwen Battad Ishikawa

“Cinema Angel,” a fictional film based on a real-life movie theater in Hiroshima, is coming to the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. The film, which was written and directed by Hideyuki Tokigawa, had its Hawai‘i premiere at last October’s Hawaii International Film Festival.

Photo of “Cinema Angel” writer and director Hideyuki Tokigawa (Photo courtesy Hideyuki Tokigawa)
“Cinema Angel” writer and director Hideyuki Tokigawa (Photo courtesy Hideyuki Tokigawa)

In 2014, employees of the Daikokuza theater, the oldest movie theater in all of Japan, approached Tokigawa and asked him to make a film about the theater before it was demolished. The 122-year-old Daikokuza was located in Fukuyama City in Hiroshima. “I didn’t know what to film at first and I was wondering if we can make a TV documentary about the closing, but no one was interested,” Tokigawa wrote by email from Japan.

At a meeting, one of the theater employees began to cry. “Daikokuza was so important to everyone in the town. I realized that I have to take it seriously,” wrote Tokigawa.

After much consideration, he decided that the best way to tell the story of the Daikokuza and the people who loved it was to make a full-length feature film. “Even if the theater disappeared, it would live [on] in the film. I thought that was the best thing that we can do for the movie theater’s finale.”

Photo of Daikokuza Theatre
Daikokuza was the theater for movie viewing. People would line up just to watch movies, regardless of the film being shown. (Photo courtesy Hideyuki Tokigawa)

To read the rest of this article, please subscribe to The Herald!

“Cinema Angel” will be shown at the Doris Duke Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 1 and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 28, at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10/general and $8 for museum members. Call 532-8768.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here