The annual Japanese Film Festival is back for its 16th edition and is set to light up limited screens at Golden Screen Cinemas in 4 different regions – Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru as well as Borneo.

The selection of 13 latest Japanese movies will surely capture hearts and minds of audiences from all ages. The line-up consists of films with different genres – from sweet romantic comedy to tear-jerking family drama.

Watching films is probably one of the best ways to learn about the culture,
tradition and people of the country where the film comes from, or even to
understand ourselves better,” shared YBrs. Dr. Tan Awang Besar, Undersecretary of the Cultural Policy Division, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

For those who are curious, here’s a list of all 13 movies that are set to be screened for the annual movie fest:

1. A Banana? At This Time Of Night? (こんな夜更けにバナナかよ)

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  • Running time: 121 minutes
  • Director: Maeda Tetsu
  • Cast: Oizumi Yo, Takahata Mitsuki, Miura Haruma

Yasuaki Shikano is a 34-year-old man who suffers from muscular dystrophy since he was 12. He hires volunteers to help him, but they have to cater to his every whim – especially to Hisashi Tanaka, a medical school student. Shikano constantly rags on him and even demands a banana in the middle of the night. He then meets Misaki Ando and falls in love with her but he doesn’t know that Tanaka and Misaki are a couple. Their lives begin to change soon after.

2. Bento Harassment (今日も嫌がらせ弁当)

  • Running time: 107 minutes
  • Director: Tsukamoto Renpei
  • Cast: Shinohara Ryoko, Yoshine Ryoko, Matsui Rena

Kaori is a single mother and she raises her high-school daughter Futaba. Her daughter is in a rebellious phase and often ignores her mother. Kaori then decides to teach her daughter a lesson by inserting messages in her daughter’s bento meals.

3. Brave Father Online – our story of FINAL FANTASY XIV (光のお父さん)

  • Running time: 115 minutes
  • Director: Noguchi Teruo
  • Cast: Sakaguchi Kentaro, Yoshida Kotaro, Sakuma Yui

Akio wishes he had a better relationship with his reserved father, Akira. One day, Akira suddenly quits his job and retires without giving out any explanation to the family. Thinking it could be a good tool to be close to his father, Akio gives him a software of an online game “Final Fantasy XIV”. By teaching his father how to play the game and secretly interacting with him as an anonymous online avatar, Akio hopes to know his father better through the adventures with other players in the game but little does the young man know what Akira is going through.

4. Cafe Funiculi Funicula (コーヒーが冷めないうちに)

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  • Running time: 126 minutes
  • Director: Tsukahara Ayuko
  • Cast: Arimura Kasumi, Ito Kentaro, Hayashi Kento, Fukami Motoki

Kazu Tokita works at a cafe known as “Funiculi Funicula,” which her relative Nagare Tokita runs. There is a mysterious rumour that if a customer takes a specific seat at the cafe, that customer can travel back to a time of their choice. But there are specific rules in order to do so.

5. Colour Me True (今夜ロマンス劇場で)

  • Running time: 109 minutes
  • Director: Takeuchi Hideki
  • Cast: Ayase Haruka, Sakaguchi Kentaro

Kenji is a young aspiring assistant director with a dream of becoming a full fledge director one day, but all he does now is running errands. He enjoys watching old, black & white romantic movie that only showed for a brief period before being cancelled. One day, a princess character from his favourite movie, Miyuki, emerged from the silver screen. They then experience a life full of colours but unbeknownst to Kenji, Miyuki is harbouring a secret that she cannot reveal.

6. Little Nights, Little Love (アイネクライネナハトムジーク)

  • Running time: 120-minutes
  • Director: Imaizumi Rikiya
  • Cast: Miura Haruma, Tabe Mikako

27-year-old market researcher Sato is a single man and a dreamer who hopes for a dramatic encounter for his love life. One day, a random attractive woman agrees to answer the survey he is conducting after a hard time finding willing participants. He then notices something rather peculiar written on her hand.

7. Lying To Mom (鈴木家の嘘)

  • Running time: 134 minutes
  • Director: Nojiri Katsumi
  • Cast: Kishibe Ittoku, Hara Hideko, Kiryu Mai, Kase Ryo, Kishimoto Kayoko

The Suzuki family consists of the son, Koichi, his sister Fumi, and his parents Sachio and Yuko. Koichi is a ‘hikikomori’ or stay-at-home shut-in. One day, he decides to take his own life and leaves his family in confusion. His mother, Yuko, upon discovering his body, goes unconscious because of the shock. She regains consciousness after 49 days but devoid of any memory of Koichi’s death.

8. My Dad Is A Heel Wrestler (パパはわるものチャンピオン)

  • Running time: 112 minutes
  • Director: Fujimura Kyohei
  • Cast: Tanahashi Hiroshi, Kimura Yoshino, Terada Kokoro

Takashi Omura was once a popular professional wrestler. He now wears a cockroach mask and wrestles as a heel – a bad guy wrestler. He is married to Shiori and they have a son together. Their son, Shota is currently studying in elementary school. They have not yet told their son on what Takashi does for a living.

One day, Shota finds out that Takashi is a professional wrestler and a villain with a cockroach mask. However, Shota lies to his classmate that his dad is a popular professional wrestler.

9. Samurai Shifters (引っ越し大名!)

  • Running time: 121 minutes
  • Director: Inudo Isshin
  • Cast: Hoshino Gen, Takahashi Issey, Takahata Mitsuki

Set in the Edo period, samurai Shunnosuke Katagiri is known as a bookworm. He is also shy, naive and inexperienced. One day, he receives a mission to help a ‘daimyo’ move. He seeks the aid of his childhood friend Genemon Takamura as well as Oran, the beautiful but headstrong daughter of a former magistrate in charge of relocation. He then begins to carry out his mission.

10. When I get home, My wife always pretends to be dead. (家に帰ると妻が必ず死んだふりをしています)

  • Running time: 116-minutes
  • Director: Lee Toshio
  • Cast: Ken Yasuda, Nana Eikura, Ryohei Otani, Sumika Nono

Jun returns home one night after a hard day only to find his wife – Chie – collapsed near the door in a pool of blood. Panicking, he rushes to her side, but then notices a bottle of ketchup nearby. Chie giggles in a feigned unconscious state. A relieved Jun then demands a reason for her foolishness, only to be teased by Chie afterwards.

And so it begins. From that point on, every time Jun returns home, he finds her “dead” by different and increasingly outlandish causes. Jun soon begins to worry about her behaviour.

Special Feature: Music! Music! Music!

This year’s festival will also include a special feature namely “Music! Music! Music!”. Audience are expected to sing-along while enjoying these 3 musical-themed movies:

11. Farewell Song (さよならくちびる)

  • Running time: 117 minutes
  • Director: Shiota Akihiko
  • Cast: Komatsu Nana, Kadowaki Mugi, Narita Ryo

A female duo band Haru-Reo – who gained popularity with their indie music – decided to disband despite their success. After deciding to break up the unit, the two girls – together with their roadie, Shima – set out on a road trip for their final tour together and as they travel across the country, they realize the scars they created can only be healed on the stage.

12. La La La at Rock Bottom (味園ユニバース)

  • Running time: 104 minutes
  • Director: Yamashita Nobuhiro
  • Cast: Shibutani Subaru, Nikaido Fumi, Suzuki Sarina, Kawahara Katsumi

As a band plays for a crowd in a certain town square in Osaka, a young man rushes the stage, grabs the microphone, and begins to sing. The crowd is blown away by the man’s singing voice. But after the performance, band manager Kasumi discovers that the man has no memory of his own life other than his talent for singing. Kasumi becomes interested in working with him anyway, and gives him the nickname “Pochi Otoko” – meaning dog man. Not long after that, he is accepted as the lead vocalist of a band, but a major problem from his past soon comes back to haunt him.

13. Little Love Song (小さな恋のうた)

Japanese Film Festival

  • Running time: 124 minutes
  • Director: Hashimoto Kojiro
  • Cast: Sano Hayato, Morinaga Yuki, Yamada Anna

A high school band is popular in their small hometown in Okinawa where the U.S. army base is located. The band belts out original pop songs with such energy and precision that they have fired up the passions of all who see them and amassed an ardent following, including the attention of a Tokyo record label scout bent on producing them.

As the band members enjoy the happiest days in their young lives and prepares to set out on a path of fame and glory, a tragedy takes place. As a result, all their hopes and spirit are destroyed. Suddenly, a girl who’s been living in the U.S. army base appears with a demo tape of a song.

Dying to know the ending? Don’t forget to check out the full movie!

So what are you waiting for? Gather all your family and friends and book your tickets now! For more info on screenings as well as ticketing, click here.

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Syahrul Ramadan
Our intern, who is currently getting to know what it's like to work in the entertainment industry for the first time.