“Black Belt/Kuro Obi” (2008, 98 minutes), directed by Shunichi Nagasaki, will be screened on Friday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. at West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, 1913 Purdue Ave. in Los Angeles.

The year is 1932, during Japan’s Showa era. Against the expanding tide of Japan’s militarism and ultranationalism, “Black Belt” follows the physical and spiritual journeys of three famed karate-ka. Studying under their aging master in a backwoods mountain dojo in central Kyushu, each aspires to receive the distinctive black belt that can only be entrusted to one rightful successor.

Nagasaki and screenwriter Joji Iida ponder the delicate balance between fierce confrontation and moral reflection as related to the true realm of defensive martial arts in this thoughtful tale about three karate experts divided by their individual beliefs. This award-winning film contains none of the usual exaggerations given to this genre. As the film’s tagline proclaims, “Real Fight, Real Karate, Real Japan.”

All three lead actors were no professional actors but real-life karate masters. Taikan is portrayed by Tatsuya Naka, 8th Dan JKA Shotokan Karate; Giryu is portrayed by Akihito Yagi, 7th Dan Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate; Choei is portrayed by Yuji Suuzki, 6th Dan Kyokushin Karate.

Parking is available in church lot. Screenings are presented on last Friday of each month. For more information, call (310) 479-1379 or visit www.wlaumc.com.

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