Japan – it’s known for its beautiful cherry blossoms, delicious food, quirky anime and fashionable harajuku girls. Yet another incredible aspect of the country is its vibrant film industry, one of the oldest and largest in the world.
The nationwide Japanese Film Festival returns this October for its 18th year, promising to be bigger, better and brighter than ever. Each city will see over 10 of the latest feature films, while the lucky people in Sydney and Melbourne will enjoy a program of over 45 films.
With a vast variety of cinematic delights on offer we’ve pulled together our 5 must-see films of this year’s festival:
For the first time ever all three of the Rurouni Kenshin live-action films will air at the Japanese Film Festival. Don’t miss part one of the trilogy, the adaptation of an epic samurai romance that won a generation of manga and anime fans. Once legendary for his killing prowess, Kenshin becomes a wanderer and vows never to kill again. However, he is soon forced to grapple with what renouncing violence could mean in times of darkness. A box-office smash in Japan, the film grossed over 555 million yen ($7 million) in its first five days.
If you’re after something a little light-hearted, look no further – this is Mission Impossible – samurai style. Naito is a kindly ruler who presides over a humble estate, but he and his clan’s lives are threatened when he is ordered by the shogun to appear in Edo in just five days. The journey usually takes eight or more days, so with not enough time, money or people for the job, can they complete the ultimate mission impossible? Don’t miss this comic look at the challenges of warrior life.
JU-ON – The Beginning of the End
Have a taste for horror? Then you’ll love Masayuki Ochiai’s cult film about a cursed school teacher. Yui comes in contact with a curse that forces her to re-live the horrific events that took place in a home 10 years ago. Earlier this year, Japanese viewers voted JU-ON as the most frightening of all horror series, over and above rival franchises The Ring and Saw. With its hellish sound-scape and prickling atmosphere, this film promises to bring chills to even the most veteran horror fanatics.
Daihachi Yoshida, the director of the Japan Academy Award-winning The Kirishima Thing delivers a drama about a woman battling a nagging sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Rika Umezawa (celebrated actress Rie Miyazawa) has a tiring job and an unappreciative husband; however things change when Rika finds herself filling the void with a university student and the millions entrusted to her by clients. The film is based on the novel by Naoki Prize-winning author Mitsuyo Kakuta.
The God of Ramen
Would you queue for over two hours for a bowl of ramen? This heart-warming documentary explores what attracts people from all around Japan to Kazuo Yamagishi’s modest ramen shop. His personality and love for his craft, combined with a precise mélange of flavours, worked together to create perfection in a bowl. This film isn’t just for noodle fans, but for anyone who wants to be inspired.
The 18th Japanese Film Festival runs nationally between October and December 2014.
For specific dates, venue details and to purchase tickets visit HERE.
If these films look right up your alley, we’ve got 10 double passes to give away to use for any film at the festival. For your chance to win simply complete the form below and tell us in 25 words or less which film you’re most looking forward to from this year’s lineup?
Competition closes 10am Friday 10 October