One of the longest-running film festivals in Malaysia, the Japanese Film Festival (JFF 2018) returns once again to serve up an exciting cross-section of Japan’s diverse movie cultures.
Marking its 15th year in Malaysia, JFF 2018 will be presenting some new offerings to audience with an exciting opportunity to deepen their familiarity with Japanese culture and society.
Here are 5 highlights for this year’s Japanese Film Festival.
1. Movies shot in Japan by Malaysian filmmakers
“In order to express our appreciation to the Malaysian audiences and industry that have supported us over the years, we’ve lined up 4 special events with films shot in Japan by Malaysian filmmakers,” said Mr. Koichi Horikawa, Director of The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur.
The Japanese films by local filmmakers include “New World” and “Fly Me to Minami” by Lim Kah Wai, a Japan-based Malaysian who has stayed in Osaka for more than 15 years and is known as a “Cinema Drifter” for his flexible and nomadic lifestyle. The special programme will also feature “Heart of Taiko”, a documentary directed by Shamyl Othman and produced by Lydia Lubon, and 2 short films by TIFF-winning director Edmund Yeo titled “Kingyo” and “Exhalation”.
2. Expand to the southern part of peninsular Malaysia
JFF will be touring 4 states in Malaysia, starting with Kuala Lumpur on 6th September at GSC Mid Valley, GSC NU Sentral, GSC Pavilion KL and GSC 1Utama, before continuing on to Penang, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu. This year, for the first time ever, the film festival will be extending to the southern part of Malaysia, Johor Bahru!
“Throughout the 15 years of organising this event, we’ve received many requests to bring JFF to the Southern part of Peninsular, and we also thought that it’s high time we made it happen,” said Mr. Horikawa. “Today, JFF tours more cities for longer durations with more films, and I’m proud to announce that our new addition this year is GSC Paradigm JB Mall, Johor Bahru.”
3. Catch “Chihayafuru” trilogy marathon
One of special programmes at JFF 2018 will be the screenings of “Chihayafuru” trilogy, based on the award-winning manga of the same name. The story follows the beautiful but tomboyish teenager Chihaya Ayase who is pulled into the world of competitive karuta by a new classmate and got inspired to become the best karuta player in Japan.
“Another special event at this year’s JFF would be Chihayafuru Marathon where we screen ‘Chihayafuru’ Part 1 & Part 2, the most popular titles at JFF 2016 together with ‘Chihayafuru’ Part 3, the sequel to the series newly released this March in Japan,” Mr. Horikawa added. The movie series stars some of Japan’s most sought-after actors including Suzu Hirose, Shuhei Nomura, and Mackenyu.
4. Features 20 film titles
Including the special screening titles, JFF 2018 will have a total of 20 movies for its 15th edition. The titles include the 5 movies by Malaysian filmmakers, 13 recent films across a variety of genres, including drama, suspense, documentary, and comedy, and the inclusion of the 1st and 2nd part of “Chihayafuru” which will be shown together in the Chihayafuru Marathon event.
Some of the titles we’d like to suggest are “The 8-Year Engagement” starring Takeru Satoh (“Rurouni Kenshin”) and Tao Tsuchiya (“Orange”), “Mixed Doubles” starring Yui Aragaki (“Code Blue”) and Eita (“Lucky Seven”), “Yakiniku Dragon” starring Mao Inoue (“Hana Yori Dango”) and Yo Oizumi (“Fullmetal Alchemist”), and of course, all the special screening titles.
5. “Perfect World” will be released in Malaysia ahead of Japan
Malaysian audience will be one of the 1st in the world to watch the romance drama movie adapted from Rie Aruga’s manga of the same name. The movie centres on 26-year-old Kawana Tsugumi who is reunited with her high school crush Itsuki Ayukawa at a get-together between an architecture firm and the interior design company she works at.
Even though 10 years has passed, Ayukawa is still as handsome as she remembers, but only one thing has changed – he is now in a wheelchair. The movie stars Hana Sugisaki (“Bleach”) and Takanori Iwata, member of Sandaime J Soul Brothers and Exile, and will be released in Japan’s cinemas on 5th October 2018.
Visit JFF 2018 official website to find out the synopsis, dates, and venues of these movies.