Kitaro gets out Swiss passport

Locarno festival has spotlight on Japanese character

ROME – Japanese animated film figure Kitaro will be the focus of a special section at the 61st Locarno Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Kitaro – a cult figure among Japanese animation enthusiasts – will be featured in two contemporary full-length feature adaptations of early Kitaro television programs, from 1959.

An additional television series featuring Kitaro – "Hakaba Kitaro" – will screen in Locarno in the original Japanese with subtitles. And two very early films from Japanese animation history including the feature length "Momotaro, umi no shinpei" (Momotaru, Sacred Sailors) from 1945, will unspool.

The contemporary films set to screen are "Gegege no Kitaro" (Kitaro) released in Japan last year, and this year's sequel "Gegege no Kitaro Sennen Noroi Uta" (Kitaro and the Millennium Curse), which will have its international premiere in Locarno. Both films were directed by Katsuhide Motoki.

This year's festival is set for Aug. 6-16.